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Selling LA, Episode 3: The Micromanaging Client

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It's episode tres of HGTV's Selling LA. Each Thursday we'll be joining local brokers and their clients as they try to sell or buy high-end properties in a tough market. This week we're following the trials and travails of two new brokers, again. Let's begin, again.

This week we're introduced to two new brokers, Martha Smith of Keller Williams and Valerie Fitzgerald of the Valerie Fitzgerald Group. They join the four other brokers we've already met--there was, uh, that one guy with the face, the other guy that looked like Clark Kent, the former Curbed broker babe, and that guy and his lady sidekick, Boris and Natasha.

This episode begins with Martha Smith, a bubbly broker with Keller Williams and a former actress who many of you may recognize from the eighties awesomeness known as Scarecrow and Mrs. King. She was also in Animal House and, per the internets, graced the pages of Playboy in 1973. While meeting with a broker pal, Martha receives a text from former Guns N' Roses drummer Matt Sorum. Matt, one of Martha's longtime clients, is looking for a house. His tastes are wide and varied, preferring anything from modern to "Old Spanish."

Martha meets up with Matt and his straight-banged girlfriend Ace to look at a modern house located at 8538 Eastwood Rd in the Hollywood Hills. The 4,000 sq. ft. house includes four bedrooms, five baths and is listed at $3.395 million.

During the home tour, we're constantly reminded of what a hardcore partier and total boozehound Matt Sorum is--OMG! There's totally a bottle of vodka in the fridge he wants to drink! Matt reminisces wistfully that his last house was nicknamed Casa de Bauchery. The house is decent, but Matt worries about all the glass in the bedroom, which will let too much sunlight in. His hard rock life style requires that he sleep in late--sometimes until 11 or 12. Matt and Ace also find the house a little too modern for their tastes.

Martha next takes Matt and Ace to the old timey Spanish abode known as El Castillo (link warning: soothing Spanish guitar music will play, causing you to sway embarrassingly in your cubicle). The 4,169 sq. ft. home located at 8054 Farelorn Drive includes four bedrooms and three and three-quarter baths. It's listed at $2.09 million. The house is definitely Spanish-influenced, down to the Mission-style bell that Matt rings with glee. Matt and Ace agree that the home fits with their vision and they see the house as a place they could raise a family. It's not clear why they don't put an offer on the house.

Later, we join Martha as she is sent out on her own to view properties while Matt busies himself with drumming and being in Brazil. Matt calls Martha to discuss her progress in tracking down acceptable homes. Matt and Ace felt that the Eastwood house was too sterile and they preferred something with more of the character of El Castillo--or some sort of mixture of the two.

She stops in to view a house that may fit this criteria. The 4,000 sq. ft. house located at 610 N. Crescent Heights Blvd., includes five bedrooms, five and a half baths and is listed at $2.195 million. The home includes a pool, high ceilings and wrought iron railings. However, as Martha explains, it's difficult to close a deal with Matt so far away. Many of the houses she's looking at get snapped up by the time Matt manages to look at the pictures she's emailed him. At episode's conclusion, Martha receives a call from Matt telling her that he's been too busy to look at the photos and maybe they should just wait a couple of months until after he's finished recording another album and fliming a TV show. Martha grits her teeth and smiles. Who doesn't love having their time wasted.

In the second storyline of the episode, Valerie Fitzgerald of the Valerie Fitzgerald Group is visiting her client Deborah at her house at 1681 Summitridge Drive in the Beverly Hills Post Office neighborhood. She brings along her chatty employee Dominique, an agent in the Valerie Fitzgerald Group, who oohs and ahhs over the house and the beautiful views of the LA basin. According to the graphics, the house is listed at $4.395 million (it is reduced to $4 million at some point, but that's not discussed). It includes 3,982 sq. ft., three bedrooms and five and a half baths (the current listing says the home has seven bathrooms). At the client meeting, Deborah gets a nervous look upon her face as Dominique seems to be stepping into Valerie's primary agent role. She has to pull Valerie aside to tell her that she's the agent that's been hired, not Dominique. Seriously, who the hell is Dominique and why is she so damn happy? Valerie assures her that she's on top of things and Dominique is more of a sounding board.

The ladies sit down to discuss the options for getting the house noticed. Valerie suggests putting together a broker caravan. A mildly perturbed Deborah likes the idea of the caravan but really wants an open house--with Valerie in attendance. Valerie noticeably flinches. She responds that after her long career, she no longer does Sunday open houses. Besides they haven't ever resulted in a sale for her, so her time could be better spent riding along on a caravan, chatting up drunk brokers.

In the end, they decide to do both. The caravan brings in a bunch of brokers with Dominique doing the home presentation. Valerie follows up with an open house where she flops about, obviously bored out of her mind. Only seven people show up, which makes Deborah suspicious that maybe her home isn't being marketed correctly.

Later at the Valerie Fitzgerald Group's office, Deborah and Valerie meet to discuss progress on the sale of the house. Valerie reminds Deborah that there was one offer of $3.4 million so far, but Deborah feels that accepting that offer would have let the buyer "steal" the house from her. Such a drama queen. She suggests that if they were to drop the price of the house any more, Valerie would need to take a percentage cut in her commission. MEOW! Valerie should really just throw an old fashioned Dynasty slap across Deborah's face at this point. A judge would totally understand.

At episode's end, the update text informs us that an offer of $3.7 million was presented for the house but Deborah asked for a percentage cut from the commission (half a percent from Valerie and half a percent from the buyer's broker). The buyer's broker refused so the sale fell through. Instead, the house is currently being leased. Per the listing link, the home is also now represented by Josh Altman of Bravo's Million Dollar Listing.