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'Million Dollar Listing New York' S5E3: Wanting What You Can't Have

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This week's episode of Million Dollar Listing is filled with strange sales tactics and even stranger clients.

It's Season 5 of Million Dollar Listing New York, where three 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 Angela Bunt. Episode air date: 5/5/2016.

This week's episode kicks off with Ryan Serhant and his faithful driver, Yuri, heading to Astor Place. Ryan's meeting with Elad, a client's money manager, to check out a ridiiiculous two-story penthouse. The listing measures 4,916 square feet, all of which are covered in white limestone flooring worth $30,000. Elad suggests pricing it at a cool $14 million, but Ryan has a different tactic. He wants to let potential buyers suggest their own price, in an attempt to start a bidding war. While it's a risky move, it could have a big payoff.

Meanwhile, at The Schumacher in Noho, Fredrik is feverishly trying to clean up the construction zone left by Armen and his crew. Jordan arrives with a box of coveralls, ready to take action. Although it's not going to look perfect, Fredrik says he must try to convey his vision in order to sell the digs and finally sell out the building. "It's now or never," he says as his first clients arrive.

Next, we check in on Luis, who's headed into Williamsburg to see what all the cool kids are up to these days. He's been recruited by Brooklyn agent Jordan (no, not the same Jordan who works with Fredrik) to tackle a co-listing in the neighborhood. The three-story building, Luis says, "is like me: small but beautiful," and includes a garden duplex, a penthouse with an insane rooftop, and a modest second-floor two-bedroom. Luis and Jordan think the place is totally sellable, but for the price of the second floor—it's a bit high at $1.7 million. Despite Jordan pleading with him not to, once the owners arrive, Luis tells them they should consider a—dun dun dun!—price drop. But he has a plan: He suggests only showing the first two floors, and telling buyers that they aren't ready to release the penthouse yet. This will hopefully build up demand and intrigue, which will ultimately drive up the penthouse listing price to make up for the second floor decrease. Did you catch all that?

Back at 36 Bleecker Street, Fredrik has hardly ripped his coveralls off when client Ezra and his broker, Jared, arrive. Ezra is from a very wealthy family in Singapore, wears a cape, and calls himself, well, "The Cape." He seems interested in the mansion, as Fredrik tries to spin its unfinished state into a positive: "The most amazing thing about this layout is that you can choose—do you want it open, do you want it closed?" When he suggests turning one of the unfinished rooms into a wine cellar, Ezra points out that it would make a perfect love dungeon for his orgies. So, does that mean he wants to buy it?

Ryan is busy at 52 Cooper Square showing the to-be-listed penthouse (which, as of this writing, appears to be in contract). Folks are befuddled by the fact that there is no official asking price, but their interest certainly seems piqued. The most interested of all potential buyers is Sherif, who is represented by the extremely unfriendly broker Amy. They only have a short amount of time so Amy bulldozes through the apartment, cutting Ryan off at every chance she gets—though it's hard to take anybody too seriously since they're all wearing protective white booties on their feet.

Back at Luis's office, he's chatting with broker Jordan about the upcoming open house at their shared Brooklyn listing. Luis thinks they should keep it casual and neighborhood-y (like that Hamilton Heights disaster?) to match the Brooklyn hipster vibe. He's even going to ditch the business suit for a pair of jeans! First order of business: buy a pair of jeans.

Ryan's tactic to let brokers outbid each other on the Astor Place penthouse is working, and he's already received a $14.5 million offer. With just one week left to show it, he's squeezed in another appointment with the fun-loving Amy. Once again she barrels around the listing, taking pictures and basically ignoring Ryan completely. Her client, Sherif, is definitely interested. Unfortunately, he's in Argentina.

Meanwhile, Fredrik is meeting with broker Jared at Dos Caminos (free chips on the table—win!) to discuss an offer from "The Cape." He's willing to pay $8.5 million for the penthouse—a million dollars under ask—and on the condition that they add a pool. Fredrik is appalled at the low ball offer, but Jared very sternly tells him to call the developer so they can strike up a deal. After some tense back and forth, they finally meet at $9 million and a pool. (Possibly for the orgy parties, but who cares?)

Back at Ryan's office, he's feeling the pressure to close the deal at Cooper Square. Tired of waiting around for an offer, the potential $14.5 million buyer is about to pull out. Meanwhile, Sherif is ready to drop some major cash, but won't be back from South America for 48 hours. The penthouse owners are only giving him 24. "If you give me 48 hours, I'll put you on Jade, the place I'm moving out of." Unable to resist a new listing, Ryan agrees. Luis is at his open house donned in denim from head to toe. He's totally feeling that totally casual Brooklyn vibe, until Jordan shows up in a full suit. Way to try and make Luis look bad! The attendees are loving the garden space, but are really foaming at the mouth about the penthouse. People always want what they can't have. Everything is going according to plan, until one-upper Jordan starts taking people to the top floor without Luis's permission. He's totally cut the rug out from under him, and now Luis fears his efforts may have been for naught.

Fredrik is out blowing his Schumacher commission at a high-end dog accessory store. Because that's how everybody spends their money, right? Life couldn't get much sweeter for him until he receives a phone call from Armen, the owner of the building. Unfortunately, he has some not-so-great news. Apparently, when a current resident first bought several units in the building, part of the deal was an "option" which allows him first choice of the mansion at a heavily discounted price. And now he's exercising that option. (Y'know, real estate jargon.) Now Fredrik can't sell the listing to Cape Dude, and the deal is off. Womp womp.

The week is up, and Ryan meets with Elad (the money manager of the Astor Place penthouse) to discuss offers. Ryan delivers the bad news first: He lost the $14.5 million offer on the—before he can get another word out, Elad cuts him off: "We're done. We're not doing business with you anymore." Ryan quickly tells him he doesn't even need the listing anymore…because he sold it. For $15.5 million dollars. Psych!

A nervous Fredrik walks into Jared's office to break the bad news about the mansion. Though initially upset, Jared understands that it's not Fredrik's fault and that there really isn't anything either of them can do about it. It also helped that Freddy brought him some expensive dog accessories to help soften the blow. Jared says, "I believe everything happens for a reason. There's no point crying over spilled milk." Also, pain is just weakness leaving the body, and you miss 100 percent of the shots you don't take. Jared tells Freddy he'll still work with him in the future, and they leave on good terms. Phew.

That's it for this week, folks! Stay tuned because the drama is just unfolding.