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Selling New York S6E10: Getting a Reality Check

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HGTV's Selling New York rides along with brokerages CORE, Kleier Residential, 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 Angela Bunt. Episode air date: 1/3/2013

This week's episode of Selling New York brings us from luxurious West End Avenue all the way to the most hopping new neighborhood in Manhattan, South Harlem (hey, it's still on the island!). Will Ayo Haynes, SVP of Halstead Property, be able to use her powers of persuasion to try and convince a couple that SoHa is the new "it" neighborhood? Meanwhile, CORE Managing Director Tom Postilio is trying to sell a super glam apartment on the Upper West Side before his exclusive contract is up. Unfortunately, the market has spoken and the property is listed a bit too high. Can he get the owner to do a price drop before time runs out?

It seems like only yesterday when we saw Ayo trying to work her real estate magic with client King Phojanakong. Let's hope this time turns out better! We first catch up with her at Highpoint Bistro on 22nd and 7th, where she is meeting her new client –"and friend" –Richard Garcia to discuss he and his partner Michael Linthicum's wishlist for a new crib. They're looking to move out of their current rental but would like to stay in the Chelsea 'hood. As we've been seeing more recently on the show, it's all about the amenities. Richard wants the works: outdoor space, gym, open floor plan, doorman, and a decent view. Yeah, well, I vana a solid toilet made out of gold, but it's just not in the cards! The couple's budget? $750K-$1.3M.

I hope Richard doesn't have a gluten-intolerance, or that Blue Moon is going to give him a world of pain.

The first stop on the apartment hunt is The Strand at 500 West 43rd Street. Ayo admits that the $1.395M 2BR, 2BA is a bit above their budget, but it fits all their requirements.

Well, not quite: the deck is huge, but Richard isn't impressed by the view, and Michael thinks the apartment just feels smaller. Yes, true, but there iiis a steam room and gym inside the building. Tempting, but the boys are eager to "see what else is out there." Haven't they seen this show before? We all know where this is going.

The next spot Ayo takes R&M to is at 59th and West End Avenue, a "fabulous" 2BR, 2BA right on the water.

The huge windows in the living room face the Hudson, and the floor plan is much more open than the previous apartment. But, at $1.575M, they're nervous about the price. Seems like this couple is getting slapped in the face with the harsh reality of New York real estate. It's time to go...UPTOWN.

It's safe here now?We swear!

Ayo takes Richard and Mike to the newest up-and-coming neighborhood: SoHa! You know, South Harlem? Ayo is playing tour guide for the day in an effort to show the guys what a hotbed of activity they'll find there. So they essentially just stop at a bunch of food and booze places, because if you really think about it, what else is there? The best part about SoHa (aka the neighborhood nickname she totally just made up): the much cheaper prices!

The apartment Ayo has in mind is allegedly perfect for the guys. It's a 2BR, 2BA in the Gateway Towers at 2098 Frederick Douglas Boulevard, listed at $1.15M. Right off the bat we learn that it houses a zen garden – SOLD!

Upon entering the apartment, the couple is taken aback by the completely open floor plan and multiple dining areas. Perfect for entertaining! The real clincher is the view from the massive outdoor space. The apartment seems to fit the bill, but is it good enough to get them to make the big move to Harlem? Stay tuned for another paragraph to find out.

To discuss their decision on the Harlem apartment, Ayo meets with Richard and Michael at Make My Cake on 121 St. Nicholas Avenue. They're like, "We get it, you like Harlem, but you realize we're still commuting up here from our current Chelsea apartment, right?" OK, they didn't really say that, and in fact it turns out they loved the tour, they love Harlem, and they love the apartment. All of Ayo's hard work paid off, and she's feeling pretty good about herself.

Told you Harlem was the ish!

The boys put in a bid at $1.075M, which was accepted. They've closed and move in later this month.

Now, out of Harlem and onto more civilized neighborhoods, like the Upper West Side (just kidding! I'd totally live in SoHa). Tom Postilio, the Captain of the CORE ship this week, is having a hard time selling his listing at 55 West 95th Street. He's had an exclusive on the property for the last four months, and the typical six-month deadline is fast approaching. Time is not on his side. (Ladies, can we agree that Mr. Postilio is a super fox?)

At first glance, one might be hard-pressed to figure out why such a beautiful 2BR, 1.5BA apartment won't sell. The richly-decorated pad houses a huge master bedroom, lots of windows and natural sunlight, and the space oozes glamor and luxury. Potential buyer Robin Reiser says it plainly, though: "The price is too high." Not only is the 1,100-square-footage priced a bit too aggressively at $1.249M, the monthly maintenance fee of $2,110 is even more of a turnoff. With a limited amount of time left, it's time to get serious. It's time for a–dun dun dun– PRICE DROP.

Tom takes a visit to his business partner, Core SVP Mickey Conlon, who hasn't grown out of his ridiculous bow-tie-wearing phase since we last saw him. Mickey agrees that they should drop the listing by $150K. In regards to the monthly maintenance fee, he suggests a tactic he's used in the past in which a seller agrees to pay the maintenance fee for a specified time. Tom, while grateful, wonders out loud why Mickey hasn't suggested this, say, four months ago? Two words: Sabo Tage.

Postilio's thinking, "Hmm, what's for lunch?"

When we next catch up with Tom and Mickey, they're meeting with their seller's representative, Robert Riggs. Right off the bat, Riggs guffaws at the idea of lowering the price and offering a maintenance fee rebate. "No. No way." But if he says "no," how will the producers fill up the next 12 minutes of the show? Luckily, Riggs agrees to at least go see a comparable apartment in an effort to size up the competition.

They head to 639 West End Avenue to check out a 2BR, 1.5BA, listed at $1.05M. While the apartment isn't laid out quite the same, the square footage is about equal, and the apartment is just as impressive. What's even more impressive? It's listed at $200K less than Kenneth's apartment. Rigid Riggs agrees that they need to do a?dun dun dun?PRICE DROP. Well, he doesn't drive a very hard bargain, does he?

Aww, you're so much prettier when you smile!

Heart thumping and palms sweating, the trio get buyer Kenneth on the phone to break the news. While his initial reaction is gruff, he ultimately concedes to the you-know-what (rhymes with lice mop), but not before degrading the brokers via speakerphone: "No whining, no crying, you gotta' sell it in the next couple months." Woah?doesn't this guy know he's being filmed for a wholesome television show?

After knocking off some dollaz from the property and adding the maintenance fee rebate, the apartment begins to generate more traffic. Six weeks after the price adjustment, Tom and Mickey receive a bid. Unfortunately, Kenneth elects to hold out for a better offer. And that's the way the cookie crumbles.

I loved this episode's Tour de Harlem, plus the surprise visit from Mickey and his bow-tie was a real treat, but I'm eager to see a new cast of characters. Plus, nobody likes a price drop. This episode gets 2 out of 5 cackling Kleiers.

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