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'Million Dollar Listing New York' S5E8: Sketchy Sales Tactics

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This week's episode of Million Dollar Listing is a roller coaster of emotions, with real-estate records set and friendships on the fray

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: 6/2/2016.

This week's episode of MDLNY opens with Luis, who is taking a trip to the Upper East Side. He's meeting with Natasha Vardi who represents the seller at 1045 Park Avenue, a co-op apartment building. Vardi happens to be the vice president for one of the biggest developers in America, and that developer happens to be the owner of said apartment. Are we clear? Besides a kitchen and bathroom renovation, the 15th-floor luxury pad is a steal at $10 million dollars. Luis is eager to sell it, and convinces Vardi that through his massive social media connections (he does have more than one million Instagram followers, after all) that he's the right man for the job. It should be noted that during their exchange we also learn that Luis used to have long hair and sell properties in a fedora, and was known as "fedora boy."

Next up is Ryan, who is still reeling over a possible disaster marketing plan at 100 Avenue A. (You know, the naked lady paintings?) But when he realizes that the 700 emails flooding his inbox are all interested buyers, his developer starts changing his tune. Not only was the marketing plan a success, it was exactly the buzz Ryan needed to get the building to his 50 percent sell out.

Remember 11 North Moore, developer Zach Vella's Tribeca project from 2014? Fredrik has sold 18 out of the 19 apartments, but the pesky penthouse still remains unsold. When the unit was first listed for $30 million, it was basically a construction site with dirt on the floor and no staging. Now that it's nearing completion, the market is completely oversaturated with penthouses, and realistically, Freddy knows it needs to come down almost $10 million to spark interest. But of course, that doesn't matter to Zach or investor Steve, and when Fredrik pays a visit to the two he's completely blindsided. He walks into an empty penthouse, with his pal Zach Vella nowhere in site. Instead it's an angry Steve, who tells Freddy he needs to get it sold before they move onto a new broker. Freddy is confused and angry with Zach for leading him into the lions' den, and he vows to get answers.

Luis and Ronita are discussing strategy for the listing at 1045 Park Ave when they make an interesting discovery. The 8th floor apartment in the same building—which had previously been on the market for 122 weeks—is finally in contract for $10.75 ($750k more than the 15th floor). Although the apartment has a newer kitchen and bathrooms, it doesn't hold a candle to the views on the 15th floor. Luis and Ronita's wheels start turning, and they hatch a plan. What if they can get the 8th floor buyers to cancel their contract and instead opt for a better deal a few floors up? It's so crazy it just might work.

Riding his high from the marketing success at 100 Avenue A, Ryan is getting hella requests from L.A. buyers to view the new development. Conveniently, his West Coast team is also getting ready for a "huuuuuge" building launch this weekend, so its perfect timing for Ry Guy to take a trip to the Golden State. When he shares the news with Emilia, she reminds him that they were supposed to do wedding planning that weekend. Her spirits are lifted when Ryan convinces her to join him on his trip, so they can spend their free time going over nuptial details. Because Ryan always has sooo much free time during work trips.

Ryan touches down in Los Angeles and immediately meets with his team to discuss tomorrow's open house strategy. They're going to sling both 100 Avenue A and their newest project: 201 Ocean, the "crown jewel" of oceanside towers in Santa Monica. With 50-foot-wide balconies, ocean views (duh), and RGB mood lighting in the bathroom, they're aiming to sell it at a record-breaking $2,500 per foot.

Fredrik heads over to Zach Vella's house to get answers regarding his ambush at 11 North Moore, but Zach's response doesn't offer him much relief. He purposely didn't show up the other night because he didn't want to be there to buffer the situation, and fears that he isn't putting enough pressure on Fredrik to sell: "I need to keep business separate from friendship," says Zach. We rarely see the Freddy's confidence waiver, but you can hear the nervousness in his voice when he promises to throw "the best party ever" and get the penthouse off the market. Could this be the beginning of the end for he and Zach's work and personal relationship?

Luis starts setting his plan for 1045 Park Avenue in motion, and meets with broker Joe, who is representing the 8th floor buyers. While he's impressed with the 15th floor and recognizes that it would be a smarter purchase for his clients, he fears that the deal is already too far in motion. The 8th floor seller is actually on the co-op board, so if they were to make the switch they'd risk upsetting him and being blackballed from the whole building. Hesitantly, he agrees to talk with them, but remains pretty non-committal. "This could be very, very, very complicated," he warns.

It's launch party time for Ryan and his team, where they'll be pitching both 100 Avenue A and 201 Ocean. For the aforementioned building, they're beginning phase one of sales which means out of the 317 units in the building, they've finished renovations on 40 of them and are only releasing 10. At the party is the building developer, Omar, who tells Ryan that he and his father are looking to diversify to New York City, and think 100 Avenue A might be the perfect fit. Score! Now to get the current building sold.…

Back in Luis-land, he's received a call from Natasha, who tells him she and her seller are super excited to move forward with the plan to take the buyers from the 8th floor. A squirming Luis tells her that the plan isn't totally set in stone, and says for the umpteenth time, "Have I ever told you how beautiful you are?" (Because the key to winning over a strong business woman is to diminish her talents by only focusing on her looks.) Typical Luis, always over-promising and putting himself in these sticky situations. Luis calls up Joe who tells him he and his buyers have decided not to move forward with the 15th floor plan due to pressure from the co-op board. Grasping at straws, Luis calls Joe again to try to persuade him. Joe says, "It's dead Luis. It's dead. Move on. Also, have I ever told you how beautiful you are?" Okay, maybe he didn't say the last part.

It's open house time at the penthouse at 11 North Moore, and Freddy is doing what he does best: sell, sell, sell. But no amount of sales savvy is going to convince people that $30 million for a penthouse on an oversaturated market is worth it. Halfway through the party Fredrik is approached by real estate agent Nick, who says that the listing is going stale and maybe it's time he passed the torch. A dumbfounded Fredrik says, "If you want to prove to Zach you can get this done, why don't you bring a buyer."

Ryan's been home from L.A. for a week, and has already sold 14 out of 32 units at 100 Avenue A. And now, Omar and his father are in town to check out their potential new East Coast investment. Unfortunately, the largest two-bedroom in the building isn't big enough for them … so they decide to also get a one bedroom and convert the space. Score! Not only has Ryan just sold two more units, but he's hit his sales goal of a 50 percent sell-out set by Josh in last week's episode.

Fredrik and Jordan are at the office discussing 11 North Moore when grumpy ol' Steve calls. He wants to know if there have been any offers on the penthouse since the party—a whopping 27 hours ago. A frustrated Freddy says, "I'm working on it," but that's not good enough for Steve, who knows a lot of brokers out there who are very, very hungry. "I keep getting a text message from some guy named Nick," says Steve. "He gave me a very compelling sales pitch." Wha-wha-whaaaattt!? Is the evil villain Nick about to steal business away from Fredrik?

You'll have to wait until next week to find out!