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Selling New York S5E6: Bittersweet Sales

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HGTV's Selling New York rides along with brokerages CORE, Gumley Haft Kleier and Warburg as they try to sell fabulous properties fabulously. Here's our recap of how the NYC real estate industry is portrayed to the world, penned by Molly Reisner. Episode air date: 3/1/2012.

If last night's episode of Selling New York was a piece of made-up candy, it'd be a Sweet n' Sour n' Sad Patch Kid. Emotions strutted the gamut! First, your favorite family of agents assist a candy man with selling his massive Upper East Side townhouse. Can the candy man get an offer in the can? Then, a broker gives her a friend a dose of real estate reality when he emotionally inflates the value of his deceased mother's Upper East apartment. Will he stick to his nostalgic guns or give up the ghost of a bygone homestead? Get ready for a sugar rush recap, replete with jellybean highs and lollipop lows!

Samantha Kleier Forbes and Mama Bear Michele have hit the honeypot! Their client, jovial candy entrepreneur Mark Tarnofsky, wants to unload his $5.4 million townhouse at 157 East 84th Street. He and his wife are empty (Cadbury egg) nesters and want to downsize to an apartment in the East 60's.

Housed in The Legacy, a full service condo building, the 4,400 square foot space oddly has only 2 bedrooms:

Who can stick a bed in what is clearly a den and call it a bedroom? The Candy Man Can!

But the Kleiers can't?a bedroom has to legally have windows to be called such. The ladies tell Mark to turn the room back into a den before the open house. WHY ARE THERE ARE ONLY 2 LEGIT BEDROOMS IN A FOOTBALL FIELD HOME? Did Mark's daughter really sleep wedged between a wrap around sofa? Answers requested.

With an open house to plan for, Sam meets up with sis Sabrina on a shopping excursion at kid store Rachel Riley "to get the creative juices going."

All I know is that my 2 year old self wants every color of these smokin' Mary Janes (except the pumpkin orange):

While perusing pinafores, the gals decide the open house needs to showcase the huge entertaining spaces it has and emphasize the family friendly features (like 2 bedrooms?). They come up with the idea of: a movie playing in the in-home theater, buckets of candy and ice cream sundaes. It's like Willy Wonka minus frightening punishments for breaking the rules!

Next, Sam pays another visit to the townhouse to see the changes Mark's made to spruce up the place. The bed has been removed from the den and the downstairs outdoor terrace now looks slightly improved from it's former plantless state. Sam tells Mark about the retro carnival theme for the open house and Mark agrees to donate the candy. What a nice candy man!

Sam also agrees to convert her commission into jellybeans, THEY'RE THAT GOOD:

It's time to get more free treats around town! The sisters set out to Baked by Melissa and Serendipity to sweet talk some goodies for the party:

A universal human reaction to Serendipity's frozen hot chocolate:

With pounds of sugar to excite the kids, board games and a movie cued up, let the carnival commence!

Mama hopes that when the kids say "Mommy, Daddy! I saw the best apartment! We need to move!" that their parents will actually take that into account when buying a 2 BEDROOM multi-million dollar place. Seriously, why only 2 bedrooms? This will never make sense.

Post-party, Sam and Mama meet up with Mark at Serafina to discuss results. While people seemed enthusiastic (I blame the sugar) at the party, it hasn't led to any offers (from children or adults). The suggestion? Lower the price! But Mark says no, and insists "there's a lid for every pot." The update explains that there was one offer, but it fell through. The listing remains at the same price, too. Apparently, the lid for his townhouse is very hard to find.


Warburg agent Deb Lupard is trying to do her friend Michael Kubin a solid. Michael wants to sell his deceased mother's 1BR/1BA Upper East Side co-op apartment at 7 East 85th Street for around $750k.

After a tour of the well-located yet very outdated space, Deb concludes his price is "not gonna happen." She suggests a more modest value in the low $500k range. Michael, feeling the weight of his childhood home at stake, is resistant to lowering the price. This is where his family has been since 1947! Letting go of the home you grew up in, with pictures of your mom still on the wall? Well, it sounds heart breaking.

Now, it's where Sad Panda sits in a chair all day, staring at a blank wall:


Deb takes Michael comparative shopping so he can see what you can get in the same nabe. First, they swing by a $650k condo at The Omni at 206 East 95th Street:

Despite modern fixtures, private balconies, and building amenities, Michael still isn't convinced his mom's apartment is worth less. Though he is aware of his emotion-based pricing logic, saying, "Am I being fully rational? Probably not." We don't judge you, Michael! You're working stuff out.

Next, Deb and Michael head to a 900-square-foot condo at 507 East 80th Street to snoop around a $649k spot:

Again, this place is way more modern than his mom's and asking far less. Michael starts to see the light and ponders lowering the price. Deb also wants him to do some small renovations to make the space feel fresh (AKA remove Sad Panda vibe).

Later, the two meet at a cafe for cupcakes and catch-up.

Deb gets ready to choke Michael if he doesn't take her real estate recommendations:

Michael concedes, saying, "I don't see that I have a choice."

Finally, the apartment has been slightly revamped and de-shagged of carpet! Deb takes potential buyer Alexandra Budslick (cool last name!) for a tour of the now more reasonably priced $525k apartment:

The kitchen and bathroom need some upgrading, but Alexandra digs the space and the park side location. Hmmm...but not enough to buy it! The update informs that after three months on the market, Deb got two offers and is negotiating. But according to the still active listing, it's up for sale at a reduced price of $499k.

Episode Review: Whether it was Home Sweet Home like in the first story or You Can Never Go Home Again in the second, this episode tugged at my cliche-ridden heart strings. Frozen hot chocolate alone deserves 3.0 out of 5 cackling WHY CAN'T THEY MAKE MORE BEDROOMS IN THAT GIANT TOWNHOUSE? Kleiers.

· Selling New York [HGTV]
· Selling New York coverage [Curbed]