clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

In the ‘Million Dollar Listing New York’ season six premiere, difficult clients dominate

New, 6 comments

The Bravo series about buying and selling in New York is back

Inside the “sky duplex” on 23rd Street, one of the properties featured on the Million Dollar Listing New York premiere.

It's season six of Million Dollar Listing New York, where three brokers—Fredrik Eklund, Ryan Serhant, and new guy Steve Gold—show the world what it takes to sell high-priced New York City apartments. Check in each week for recaps.

Well, here we are again: another season of Million Dollar Listing New York is upon us. And this season, there’s been a shake-up: After Douglas Elliman broker Luis Ortiz left to pursue his passion in Paris (that passion seems to be a lifestyle brand devoted to, um, happiness), Town’s Steve Gold came on as the third point on the show’s real estate triangle.

Since this episode was the season premiere, we spend a bit of time catching up with each broker: Ryan Serhant is now happily married, bearded, and currently sharing a space with his wife, Emilia, and her sister. (“It’s given me a reason to spend a little more time at the office,” says Ryan. Yuk yuk yuk.) By Ryan’s estimation, he’s sold around $2 million in the “last year” (this was filming in 2016, so assume he means 2015), and his team at Nest Seekers recently opened an office in … Bed-Stuy? We’ll get to that.

It appears that Steve is meant to be the hip one of the three MDLNY brokers: He used to be a model, he only works on listings downtown, and he has a ponytail, for goodness’s sake. (He also has a very cute dog, Pablo.) Real estate, according to Steve, is “the absolute best thing that ever happened to me”—which apparently means selling more than $100 million in apartments.

And our first glimpse of Fredrik is when he’s riding with his long-suffering driver, Alberto, and yelling at someone in Swedish. But hey, it’s Friday—which means it’s time to go to Fredrik’s country house! Located in Roxbury, Connecticut, the 5,144 square foot estate sits on more than eight acres of land. There’s plenty of space for his husband, Derek, to paint, and for Fredrik to write and post on Instagram. Also, Fredrik found God, but “don’t get it twisted”—he’s “more fierce than I ever was before.”

According to Fredrik, his team at Douglas Elliman closed $1 billion in the previous year, with $1 billion in contracts waiting to close, which he says is “more than anyone has ever done in New York City.” Cool!

So now that we’ve played catch-up, let’s move on to the real estate—which is probably why you’re all here. We’re going to go through place-by-place, so read on to see what happened—and where—with each broker this week.

Fredrik

“Tribeca is everything,” says Fredrik—he lives there, so of course he’s going to say that—so it’s not surprising that we’re following the saga of of him trying to sell a listing in the neighborhood. He’s working with a seller named Nicole, who lives in one of the apartments at 415 Greenwich Street, otherwise known as “Tribeca Summit.” It’s a monster penthouse with a retractable skylight, tons of room, and—much to Fredrik’s chagrin—a common terrace. (This is in addition to a private wraparound terrace, so like, is it really that big of a deal? Apparently, for very wealthy people, the answer is yes.)

Longtime viewers of MDLNY know how this is going to go: Nicole wants to list the apartment for much more than it’s worth; Fredrik tries to woo her down to a more reasonable price. In this case, she wants $13 million, and they settle on $11.995 million (lol at that being “reasonable”). Once that’s all set, Fredrik sets up private showings—including one for Sylvia Weinstock, one of the most famous cake maestros in the world—but potential buyers keep getting hung up on that whole “common terrace” thing. Plus, Nicole made Fredrik agree that there would be absolutely no bargaining, which both the buyers and Elliman boss Howard Lorber think is exceedingly silly.

Oh, yeah: After Nicole rejects an offer of $10.8 million for being too low, Fredrik’s boss—that would be Lorber—gets involved, since it’s a pal of his who’s trying to make that sale. Lorber is “just trying to help it move along,” which sounds a lot like micromanaging. But apparently it works: after tense meetings with both the client and Lorber, Fredrik manages to get both the buyer and seller to agree on a price of $11.6 million. High kicks all around! (It ended up selling for $11.5 million. Victory?)

Ryan

Ryan is all about Brooklyn this episode, because did you know that Brooklyn is hot right now? Who knew! His team at Nest Seekers is expanding to an office in Bed-Stuy, and he already has a potential client: an investor/developer named Brett, who has a portfolio of 100 townhouses throughout the borough that he’s renovating and selling.

(How did Brett get those houses—located in and around Bushwick, Bed-Stuy, and their environs—pray tell? He “purchased homes from the original owners during the recession.” Hmm.)

Brett takes him to a bunch of those properties, and Ryan has dollar signs flashing before his eyes because if he sells them all, it would mean a $6 million commission. But Brett has one more place to go: a huge mansion at 1305 Albemarle Road in Prospect Park South. Astute Curbed readers will remember that this house hit the market last summer, and ended up selling in record time. Now, we get to see how that happened.

“I had no idea this house existed in Brooklyn,” says Ryan—and actually getting to see inside, we’re inclined to agree. There’s a ballroom, for Pete’s sake! But the house has issues: Despite the staging on the first floor, there are old walls, ripped wallpaper, crooked floors, and other issues. (And a weird little foot bath, because why not.) “I do think it’s all about finding the appropriate buyer for the property,” says Brett, who Ryan suspects simply doesn’t want to invest the time and effort to fix the place up. (And with 22 rooms and 10,000 square feet, can you blame him?)

But Brett turns out to be reasonable, and agrees to Ryan’s suggested price tag of $3 million for the Albemarle house—but then drops the bomb that he wants half of the 100 townhouses sold in six months. Eek!

This explains why Serhant Team has expanded to Brooklyn, an area that these brokers have largely ignored on previous seasons of the show, and Ryan quickly hires 10 agents to sell the homes. But the Albemarle Road mansion is a problem. After brainstorming—“how do people in Georgia sell houses?” asks Ryan—one of the Brooklyn brokers suggests a scavenger hunt at an open house. (Because if Ryan likes one thing, it’s using bizarre gambits to sell property.)

But before the open house, Ryan meets with a New Jersey developer who’s interested in renovating the property. “This guy and this house clearly speak the same language,” says Ryan, and by the end of the episode, the guy makes it clear that he’s interested in the house, warts (and foot bath) and all.

Steve

Steve’s first go-round on MDLNY is dealing with two bros, also named Steve, who are trying to sell a “one of a kind” property on East 23rd Street. (It’s a “hot new area,” per our Steve, don’tcha know.) The apartment is a “sky duplex” atop 234 East 23rd Street, and it is a pretty stunning apartment: It’s enormous, with five bedrooms and myriad terraces, as well as floor-to-ceiling windows that provide pretty spectacular views.

But Steve (as in Gold) thinks the seller should be conservative, while the Steves (as in the seller’s reps, who happen to be his nephew and son) want to try and list the place for $14 million. Our Steve thinks this is preposterous—apartments in that area hardly ever sell for more than $2,000/square foot, and the kitchen in this place isn’t even finished yet. But eventually, they agree on $12.5 million.

If Nicole, Fredrik’s client, represented one of the show’s typical villains—the client who won’t budge—then the Steves, working with our Steve, represents the other: the client who thinks they know how to do a broker’s job. First, the two bros tell Steve that he needs to try and “go international” and pitch the place to “Chinese or Russians” who want to park their money in pricy investment properties (which, duh). Then, they tell Steve that the reason the place isn’t selling is because he hasn’t done a fancy party for it. It seems, at one point, as if our Steve is going to smack the two young’uns—and we wouldn’t blame him, really.

Especially because he wasn’t wrong: When Steve shows up for the private showings (dressed like an urban lumberjack), the kitchen still isn’t done. He’s trying to play it cool, but “it shouldn’t be there—not at this price point.” And as he notes, “it starts a chain reaction of negativity”—suddenly, one person notices noise from the street, while another says a bedroom is teeny-tiny. (When a producer asks him how he diverts attention from the negatives, he has a one-word answer: “flirt.” Okay!)

The kicker: That apartment is still on the market, and now it’s asking $11.25 million.

Which leads us to the takeaway from this episode: You have to give it to these brokers—they are more aware of the market than their sellers, because properties that the clients wanted to list for much more are still on the market, and have even gotten price chops. Maybe, just maybe, clients should be listening to the folks who know what they’re doing? (But then there wouldn’t be drama, and what kind of reality show would that be?)