It's Season 2 of Million Dollar Listing New York, where three amazing brokers, Fredrik Eklund, Luis Ortiz, and Ryan Serhant show the world what it takes to sell high-priced New York City apartments. Check in each week for recaps by Eater New York's fearless nightlife editor Scott Solish. Episode air date: 5/22/2013.
When we were last together, the fearless threesome were dealing with the aftermath of broken deals and superstorm Sandy. Will they carry those lessons forward into the rough and tumble world of NYC real estate? Let's find out.
Crisis 1: Finding Yourself In Yourself
Ryan really was shaken up by Hurricane Sandy, as the downtown Don realized he was pretty alone in this big city when he didn't have his listings or his gym or his assistant to sexually harass. But New York came back and so did Ryan, and he's badder then ever. So what is he up to? Expansion in all ways. Always. Yeah!
Ryan gets a call from his assistant, Olivia, who tells him that a woman wants to sell her place at 90 William (also known as the Be@William) that she bought a few years ago for $1.2 million. Ryan has now reached the point in his career where a small unit for sub-$2 million really isn't worth it (unlike last week when he jumped all over a listing in the high 1's), but his ears perk up when Olivia tells him that the seller also wants to buy immediately in Battery Park City. Time for some Ryan Math.
Double Commission gets a man all hot and bothered. He's headed down there, and when he arrives, he finds a sweet older Asian woman named Patty who has a perfectly fine two-bedroom apartment in the building. As an aside, Ryan once again touts the Financial District as a great place to live and buy. Do brokers like Ryan really believe this, or is this just the ultimate broker-speak? Anyway, the tour of the apartment is going fine until this happens:
Down boy! Looks like you were in New Hampshire by yourself way too long. The seller has also been running a children's bow tie business out of her apartment and now needs more space for her ties and her grandchildren, although it's not clear what's more important.
But it probably doesn't matter, because like another reality star and realtor Reid Rosenthal once told us, it's all business. Ryan tells Patty that he wants to list her place for $1.175 million, which gets him this look:
No, Ryan, she does not look happy.
Brutal. But Ryan secretly loves this no-nonsense business woman who isn't going to fall for the dimples or his sexual energy, and he has a lot of work to do if he is going to pull the dirty double deal.
Or not! Just one day after Ryan lists the apartment, a renter in the building calls him and tells him she wants to take it off the market, sight unseen, for full ask. Ryan is floored, but he ain't no fool. He's ready to lock it up.
Touchdown. But wait. He forgot to get her number. Will she email him her details as promised or did it just slip through his fingers? The buyer comes back and Ryan goes to tell Patty the great news, but he also lets her know the buyer wants to close in 30 days. It's time for Patty's steely businesswoman self again: she tells Ryan she won't sell unless she finds a three-bedroom she wants in Battery Park City, and nothing else will do. Ryan is a bit nervous.
Don't bite your lip, bro. That's your money maker! He starts taking Patty to see three-bedrooms in BPC the next day. The first one is at the Ritz and, well, let's just say it doesn't go well.
Don't hold back, Patty. And the next few listings are just as bad. Ryan is running out of ideas and time to pull off this double deal, but he has one trick left up his sleeve. He decides to stage the last three-bedroom on the market with a bow room to help Patty see herself there. It works!
But the developers aren't willing to negotiate on a brand-new building, and Patty is at first unwilling not to negotiate, saying paying full ask for real estate is not the Chinese way. Can Ryan get East to meet West? You bet! He gets the deal and shows off his sweet side, displaying a truly endearing side of his personality that we hardly ever get to see. His reward? A gift from his client of...a pig. Ryan seems scared of any kind of commitment, especially to a small pet, but he is more likable.
Crisis 2: Making The Boss Man Proud
Luis is called in to see Zhann, the big cheese at Keller Williams. Not Zod. Zhann. Anyway, Zhann is impressed with Luis's string of deals and has a big listing appointment lined up for him in the West Village. Luis is very grateful.
Luis heads down to the listing in the West Village to 27 Downing Street and what we see may be least glamorous house in the neighborhood.
It's kind of like the Lambda Lambda Lambda house in Revenge of the Nerds before they redid it, but it is 5,000 square feet of carriage house beauty underneath all of that carpet. Check out the modern kitchen, which the seller considers modern because it was built in 1982!
The rest of the house is broken up into other units that are in worse shape than the master. The only redeeming quality is the two car garage. Check out that lift!
So what does he want for all of this? Oh, something in the $8 million dollar range. Luis is floored. Is Zhann just effing with the new guy? Luis tells him that there is no way it's worth that much when there is so much work to do in order to make it into a single family home. Andy the seller pushes back and tells him that he won't take less than $1450 psf, which comes out to $7.4 million. What does this guy care since he bought it in 1977?
Luis's pitch is enough to get him the gig, but now he has to sell it, and he knows that the house in its current condition won't attract many buyers. So Luis and his bro use their skills learned from making fake IDs in college to alter the photos on Photoshop until the house looks decent. Is it shady? You bet. Do they care?
This smells like trouble. Luis decides to go all out to stage what he considers the best feature of the house and brings in three fancy cars and a violin player to show off the garage. Okay, dude. A little music and a sweet ride won't keep the prospective buyers from noticing that the listing photos look absolutely nothing like the house.
It's not Lewis. It's Luis! Luis! Get it right! Luis is drowning in stupidity here. But you know what else he is drowning in? Trouble, because Zhann is really upset about the misleading photos that he used. He gets called into a meeting with the CEO to discuss the issue, and Luis is really struggling to justify his actions.
They say it's a bait and switch and they won't tolerate it. Luis is put on probation and his bosses let him know that manipulating images won't be tolerated. It's hard to run in the big leagues, and Luis is going to have to learn to play by the rules or wind up back in the rental world. As for the listing, we'll just have to wait and see what happens.
Crisis 3: It's a Different World
While Luis and Ryan scrape for listings from sellers, your favorite man Fredrik is meeting with a developer named Ross about a big triplex penthouse at the Brewster Carriage House on the edge of Soho. Check this place out!
Whoa, mamma. Who needs the Marble House when you have this?but does Fredrik have this? When Fredrik and Ross talk price, Fredrick thinks it's a $6.5 million apartment, and Ross wants $7 million for it. Fredrik is not pleased, adding another look to our collection of unhappy Fredrik faces.
Ross says he wants to list it for $6.95 million so they have room to go down, but Fredrik warns him to heed his advice when it comes time to close the deal. And it's on!
Fredrik goes into listing mode and decides to hold an exclusive dinner party for the top brokers in the area. Guess who won't be on the guest list? Fredrik even times the dinner to start as the sun sets on the roof. Now he just has to reel in the big fish.
But will anyone take the bait? And is Fredrik doubting his skills after the Marble House debacle? You bet they will and you can be sure he isn't. One of the brokers calls him back soon after the party with an all cash offer of $6.25 million. Does anyone ever really show up with a giant bag of cash? That would be awesome. Even though it's below the asking price, Fredrik thinks it's a great start. Is it Swedish Meatball time? Not for Ross, high-powered developer and extra on Game of Thrones.
Ross wants more, and Fredrik has to get it. He actually calls the other broker back in front of the client, a major concession in a world where information is held tight to the vest. The broker calls back. Let's watch it unfold!
SWEDISH MEATBALL TIME! Fredrik is back and he is the best! We can all rest easy today. Or can we? The buyer's broker calls him and says the buyers are going to kill the deal. Why? Why? Apparently the windows are on the lot line and that means that one day someone can build right up against them and brick them over. Fredrik is flipping out. Get Amanda Burden on the phone! Fredrik needs answers. And he gets them.