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Selling LA Episode 1: "14 Is A Stupid Number"

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Welcome to our first recap of HGTV's Selling LA. Each Thursday we'll be joining local brokers and their clients as they try to sell their high-end properties in a tough market. It's sort of like Bravo's Million Dollar Listing but without Chad Rogers's hair or Josh Flagg's grandma. Let's begin.

In the first episode we're introduced to three brokers--Branden Williams and Rayni Romito of Hilton & Hyland and David Bailey of Keller Williams. Other brokers get into the mix as the season moves on.

The episode starts with Branden and Rayni posing for glamour shots at the site of one of their recent sales, somewhere in the Hollywood Hills. During the shoot, Branden receives a call from Grant Cardone, a motivational speaker and per Wikipedia "a high-level Scientologist." Dun, dun, dun. Mr. Cardone is bullish on Branden and wants Branden's team to sell his house perched atop the Bird Streets. Based on all the construction and sales in the neighborhood, Grant thinks now is the time to sell and now is the time to reach for the crazy stars with a listing price of $18 million.

The home located at 1401 Oriole Drive features five bedrooms, six and a half baths, and 6,100 sq. ft. on a 29,000 sq. ft. lot (link to video tour). The house also includes a pool that stretches across the entire backyard and connects to the master bathroom. Have a swim and then slither into a warm bath. If they connected a fish tank, you could conceivably eat, sleep, and bathe without ever having to touch land--a full mer-person lifestyle.

Grant admits that he is a difficult seller. If he doesn't get the $18 million, he's not leaving the house. In a walkthrough, Grant and his wife Elena (who if you watched too much TV as a child, like we did, you may recognize as Elena Lyons, star of the syndicated nineties teen comedy USA High) show off the gorgeous estate, which includes tall ceilings and views of the LA basin.

In a meeting with his team, Branden states that it's going to end up costing $10k a month to market the house. The team agrees that the best way to showcase the home is to host a cocktail party where Grant Cardone will provide the entertainment, and by entertainment we mean he will deliver a rousing motivational speech to a group of intoxicated brokers, motivating them to bring their clients to see his house.

As planned, the speech goes well and the 20 or so people in attendance nod in agreement that they will help to sell the house. Our favorite cameo of the show is Joey House (pictured above), identified as an entrepreneur, who breathlessly tells Branden "I havvvve a couple of billionaires flying in this week, and they need an amayy-zing house." And we officially love this show. Bring that lady back every week and make that her catch phrase. But sadly her billionaire friends don't come through, and by episode's end Branden and Rayni present Grant Cardone with an all-cash offer of $14 million.

Grant wants $18 million, maybe $17 million, possibly $16 million, but $14 million is an insult. He asks them to counter with $16 million. The update at the end notes that the deal fell through and a new deal for $14.5 million is in the works.

The other broker featured in this episode is David Bailey. Shiny, shiny David Bailey. His client Michael is ready to sell the home he shares with his partner because Michael needs more space for his at-home art studio.

David visits the home in a neighborhood he describes as West Hollywood West--a magical neighborhood of boutiques and general aesthetic pleasantness. It's the higher end version of the WeHo we all know and love. The 1,361 sq. ft. home located at 435 Norwich Drive (link warning: music will play automatically) features two bedrooms, two baths, and is listed at $1.495 million.

After a walk through the cramped house, David suggests that they stage it to improve the home's appearance and reduce the clutter. He also suggests hosting a cocktail party for buyers and their agents to showcase the indoor/outdoor space, and to show how people can use the limited space. So on we go to the second cocktail party of the episode. Play along by drinking at home!

David parades guests through the lovely staged home and the outdoor patio, which now features some of Michael's paintings placed around the perimeter. Everyone seems to love it.

David later tells Michael that the showing went awesome and they've had multiple showings since the party. However, Michael and his partner need to start looking for a new house. So off they go. Their first stop is a listing presented by Jeff Yarbrough of Keller Williams. The 3,604 sq. ft. house located at 817 N. Orange Drive, convenient to Pink's, features five bedrooms, four baths, a pool, and jacuzzi and is listed at $1.749 million. It's a lovely house, although the backyard could probably use some better landscaping.

By episode's end we learn that Michael's house has received two offers and negotiations are currently underway.

Our Grade:

B/B-

The first episode introduced us to the premise and a few of the brokers to be featured this season. We were hoping to see more real estate porn in the episode, but with only 30 minutes there was only so much they could do. And the lack of closure on any of the properties left us cold and unsettled, clutching our bottle of Paxil and staring at the white walls of our apartment. The stand out star was billionaire-adjacent entrepreneur Joey House, who we hope to see in future episodes. See you next week.