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Selling LA, Episode 5: Siblings and Social Media

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Welcome to episode five of HGTV's Selling LA. Each Thursday night 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 introduced to a new agent, witness the return of another one, and see the appearance of two others. Let's begin.

In this week's episode we're following Katy Landrum, another agent from the Valerie Fitzgerald Group, and Keller Williams team leader Rob Aigner, as he works with team members Dafna Milstein and Gregg Silver.

Katy is meeting her clients and school chums Gene and Jessica Geiser. Gene is apparently in the music business and jets between west coast cities frequently, leaving him very little time to house hunt. His parasitic sister, Jessica, appears to live with Gene and take care of the properties he buys. She also appears to be the hipster girlfriend of many a Silver Lake boy's dreams.

The siblings task Katy with finding them a vacation home close to the beach, but the pressure is on to find a place quickly before Gene departs. Their demands are minimal: Gene wants a bachelor pad with a big garage and Jessica just needs a place for her bike and surfboard.

Katy's first find is a 6,289 sq. ft. hosue in Manhattan Beach The house located at 301 16th Street is listed at $3.499 million and includes six beds, seven baths. The house has ocean views and is a quick walk to the beach, but it's stuffed with furniture and outdated looking appliances. The house was built in 1990 and looks like it hasn't been upgraded since. Gene and Jessica think the house is ugly and don't want to spend the time needed to upgrade it.

The next house they look at is in the Manhattan Beach Hill Section, located at 819 10th Street. The 4,673 sq. ft. house includes four bedrooms, four and half baths and is listed at $3.775 million. The house is definitely more modern and features an amazing backyard pool area (see above), but it lacks beach proximity (10 crappy walking minutes away!) and ocean views. Therefore Gene and Jessica take a pass.

Time is running out, so finding herself under pressure, Katy takes our favorite route and starts drinking. Over a few rounds, Katy is able to pull info from Gene and Jessica about what they really want in their ideal home. In a last ditch effort, Katy takes them to look at a house with better proximity to the beach. The home located at 228 34th Street is on a walk street, with three bedrooms, three baths, a roof deck with views from Palos Verdes to Malibu, and a big enough garage to fit Gene's car collection.

The 3,465 sq. ft. house also includes exposed wood beam ceilings, wrought iron railings, and newer appliances in the kitchen. Gene and Jessica love the house and want to make an offer. Katy informs them that it's been reduced by 30 percent to $2.55 million. Gene quickly determines that he will write an offer for $2.35 million.

In the end, Gene and his sister are the winners in the buying sweepstakes. Because there were two other competing bids, the final sale price came out to $2.55 million, all cash. That's our second sale of the season. Huzzah!

For the second storyline of the episode, we follow Rob Aigner of Keller Williams. You may recall his brief cameo in Episode 2 where he helped come up with the idea for the Border Grill Taco Truck at Kennon Earl's open house. What magical ideas does he have in store for us this week?

Rob meets his team members Dafna Milstein and Gregg Silver to discuss strategy for marketing the Villa Park Hamilton project in Beverly Hills. Dafna and Gregg have recently secured the listing for the 25-unit newly constructed condominium complex, which is located at 227 Hamilton Drive, between La Cienega Park and the Larry Flynt Building.

During Rob's tour of the complex, we're taken into three units ranging in size between 1,361 and 6,289 sq. ft with prices between $745k and $3.499 million. The units are offered as either townhouses or single level condos. Based on the pricing and urban setting, Rob thinks that target market for the development are younger buyers. And the best way to reach younger buyers is through social media. Rob cites a statistic that 90 percent of buyers are finding properties through social media. Hmmm. We think by social media, he just means the internet. Which is different. But ok.

As part of the marketing for the VPH, Rob, Dafna and Gregg bring in a photographer who uses a remote controlled mini-helicopter to photograph the development from the sky, offering up panoramic views and exciting fly bys of the planters (view the video here). After viewing the edited video, Gregg and Dafna are really excited about the final product. They also keep using the term social media, but we're still not sure they actually know what that means.

By episode's conclusion the selling of the VPH has begun, with agents and potential buyers doing walkthroughs and gushing over the various units. Again, Dafna and Gregg mention the success that their social media campaign has been, without describing exactly what they did. Did they Tweet the listing? Start a Tumblr? Create a Facebook page? Add a Foursquare check-in badge? Or is putting the video on YouTube the extent of it? In the end we learn that they have seven units in escrow and two units with pending offers. And it was all thanks to social media, whatever that is.
· Selling LA Archives [Curbed LA]