Welcome to the premiere of Bravo's Million Dollar Listing New York, where three young brokers, Fredrik Eklund, Michael Lorber and Ryan Serhant, show the world what it takes to sell high-priced New York apartments. Check in each week for recaps by Eater NY's fearless nightlife editor Scott Solish. Episode air date: 3/7/2012.
WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE, BABY! Or welcome to MDL NYC Season 1. It's time to meet the stars, their drivers, and their not-so-great fashion choices. See what happens when a broker switches firms and tries to double his pleasure with one client in Battery Park, whether a high-end fashion hoarder can submit to change to sell a duplex, and what befalls a broker who fails to strike while the iron is hot.
Crisis #1: Trying to Pull Off the Swedish Double Dip
Fredrik Eklund seems to have it all. And what is all? A silver bubble bed. Check. Gratuitous body art shown to the world in a Bravo TV shower scene. Check. The Swedish power broker says the secret to his success is working two more hours a day than any other broker. He is now in the process of trying to switch firms and get a new team to work, but will they try to out Eklund-Eklund and work an extra two hours and fifteen minutes?
Fred starts off at Battery Park City's The Visionaire, where his seller Jon wants to unload his current place and, even better, find a bigger and better one. Jon shows off the apartment's killer views and Fredrik pretends to enjoy them while showing off his designer deer pullover, which we've heard is the latest in Swedish broker fashion.
Time to move from the view to the toilets, because Jon has ripped out the American standards and replaced it with the latest in pooping technology. The place looks great, but why would he want to move so soon? Jon says all he wants is to find a bigger unit in the building on a higher floor?if he can get $2.3 million for his current pad. Bad news is, Fredrik doesn't think it's worth it, and says the way to make money is to buy a bigger unit and "broker" a deal. Get it? He's a broker. They agree on the $2.2M listing price with a stern warning from Jon not to mess it up.
Fredrik pores over the remaining sponsor units at the building and manages to find a 27th-floor unit has caught Jon's fancy. He may be willing to buy before he sells, which in the real estate game is called a "broker's wet dream." Fredrik tries to low-ball the sales agent, who looks ready to throw up at an offer that is more than $400,000 below ask. But Fredrik has his own secret weapon: a comp! And not just any comp, but a comp for the same unit on the floor above which sold a year earlier for $2.4 million, just $25,000 more than Jon wants to pay.
Fredrik dials Jon to let him know the news right there, and he says that he won't offer any more than $2.375M. The sales agent asks Fredrik to cut $25,000 from his own commission to get the deal. But will he? Of course he will! And he may have a buyer lined up already for Jon's current place.
Buyer's rep Tom shows up to see Jon's, but before they go upstairs, he lets him know that Jon is actually in the apartment. Fredrik makes sure to show off the view and the $5,500 toilet, which wows Tom and allows Jon to feel great about himself as he lurks in the background.
Tom is convinced that this is the unit his buyer wants, but he is not convinced he would want to move from the West Village to Battery Park. To which Jon quickly replies, "the West Village, why the F*&^ would you want to live there?" With that out there, Jon and Fredrik let Tom known that it's $2.2 million or nothing. Can they make a deal? Tom calls Fredrik back and offers $1.885 million, but Jon is not happy with such an offer from a "West Village bottom feeder." Tell us how you really feel, Jon! Fredrik promises to keep working on it and now Jon is happy.
Open house time! Fredrik brings in a Swedish chef for traditional cakes and songs before the brokers arrive. Unfortunately, they never arrive. But before he lets Jon know how bad its going, Jon tells Fredrik to take the deal. It's the perfect moment for Swedish meatballs.
Crisis #2: It's A Hard Knock Life Of Privilege"
Welcome to Michael Lorber's gilded world, where unlike Fredrik, it's OK to sleep in and not work as hard as everyone else. Maybe that's because his dad is Howard Lorber, the chairman of Elliman. Mike decided to get a law degree and Masters in Real Estate before becoming a broker, which is the path most people seem to follow. As is appropriate for someone who seems more interested in enjoying the good life than working for it, Michael decides to do his first lunch with Pops at Cipriani's, where he wows Pops with all of his college smarts. See how impressed he looks?
Pop lets him know that there is one unit left at the Chopper-loving Tribeca Summit and he should call Leonard Steinberg to help him close it. This is a big chance to finally make a splash in the world of high end condos, and Michael is ready to jump at the opportunity! But does a super broker like Leonard really need this over-educated heir to the Elliman throne's help? Even Pops says of course not, but the experience will be great for everyone we're sure.
Michael tells his driver (you thought he took subways?) to head to Tribeca to see the Summit's last unit, a 3 bed, 3.5 bath triplex going for $3.75 million. Everyone knows that Michael has probably never sold an apartment on his own, but he does know people from his clubby uptown world who are desperate for a downtown loft space. Maybe Leonard needs to tell his young liege that not everything in Tribeca is a loft. Michael does know enough to figure out the deal, and Leonard tells him that if he somehow actually does find a buyer, then they will split the commission. You can see the soul being sucked from Michael's body as the phrase "50/50" comes out of Leonard's mouth, but someone with all of his education and pedigree knows that 50 is better than nothing.
He begins cold-calling people, not many of whom are really excited to hear from him. But one is and she comes down to check it out. After touring the apartment, Michael moves this conversation to the bed to discuss numbers, and while she doesn't like the asking price, she does like that Michael thinks there is room to move.
Even though this looks like Michael's first time getting any kind of woman in bed (snow boots?), his smooth talk convinces her to make an offer. They settle on an even $3 million offer and that's all the time she wants to spend with Michael in bed.
It's Broker 101 that when you have a client ready to make an offer, you call and put in the offer. But before Michael puts in the offer, he decides to head to one of his many houses in Massachusetts. He finally deems himself ready to come back to New York and let Leonard know he has an offer, but Leonard lets him know that they already had an accepted offer on the unit. Michael is distressed. Maybe he learned a lesson?
But now he has to tell his client that he blew the deal. Unfortunately for everyone, Michael didn't tell her the truth, saying he put the offer in but someone beat him to it. Though he says he feels bad, doesn't that face just scream "I'm rich and don't give a crap?"
Crisis #3: Hoarders Come In All Sorts Of Apartments
Who doesn't need a broker who isn't afraid to throw a few punches? That's why we are introduced to Ryan Serhant in a boxing gym. Ryan's first showing of the day is at the Trump Building at 120 Riverside Boulevard, but before he goes he wants to make sure his assistant hears about his sexual exploits, because there are no sexual harassment rules in the real estate game.
Ryan's first client is Adrianna, a hard partying woman who is lucky enough to be in Ryan's A-list nightclub social circle. Adrianna is a socialite heiress who wants to unload her 2,500-square-foot three-bedroom duplex clad in white marble. It comes with a panic room functioning as a walk-in closet.
So what lurks behind the door? Eek!
How many people would actually want that? Ryan, who may be young and crass but knows his staging, explains that buyers are going to need to see a de-cluttered space. Ryan says here are no comps for this apartment (really?), but they agree on a $4.4 million list price.
Before getting to work on this listing, Ryan meets a potential client at Cafeteria, answering the question of "who are all of these people always eating at Cafeteria?" But lo and behold, Fredrik walks in and Ryan is not happy. Potential client-theft alert! After some not-so-nice banter, Ryan pulls out the big guns and lets Bonnie know about Fredrik's secret gay porn past. IT. IS. ON! Frederick hits Ryan back where it counts by letting the client know that he did 10 times the business Ryan did last year. Unfortunately for Ryan, she is impressed, staring at Fredrik with those goo goo eyes.
Enough with new business! Ryan is ready to get back to old business by getting Adrianna's apartment listed and sold. But he can't do anything until he deals with those closets!! Ryan breaks it to Adrianna that he has hired an organizer and they are ready to start immediately. Will she go for it? Reluctantly, she agrees. Here comes Barbara, a professional organizer, but even she is overwhelmed by this high-end hoarding.
Adriana still doesn't want to let anything go. But Ryan, Babs and the person we think is Adriana's husband convince her that it's all just temporary and she finally comes around. Does the apartment sell? Unfortunately, after a price chop down to $3.895 million and a full year on the market, the listing was pulled with no apparent sale.