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Selling LA, Episode 6: Newbies On The Loose

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Welcome to episode SIX of HGTV's Selling LA. It's like past episodes, but different. Each Thursday night we join local brokers and their clients as they try to sell or buy high-end properties in a tough market. This week we're following two new agents. Let's begin.

This week's exciting episode takes us along as we follow junior brokers (and professional model) Vanessa Fitzgerald and Mabelle Ortiz.

We begin with Vanessa Fitzgerald of the Valerie Fitzgerald Group (and formerly of Valerie Fitzgerald's womb) as she seeks out her mother's expertise on handling James, a particularly intransigent client, who insists that his Wilshire Boulevard condo is worth far more than a normal person would pay in today's economic climate. His one bedroom condo located at 10339 Wilshire Blvd. in the historic Chateau Colline is only 1,009 square feet and features just one bath. Yet, he believes the charm of the condo will lure in a buyer so he has pressed for a listing price of $1.3 million, which is completely insane, but young, impressionable Vanessa has agreed to open the listing at that price.

You may recall a similar one bedroom listing in the Chateau popped up on Curbed last year, for a 966 square foot unit that was listed at $825,000. You all lost your collective minds at the price, so we can already imagine the reaction to this ridiculous price.

Vanessa and James agree to host an open house, but James wants to be in attendance to see what people think about the pricing. So while Vanessa leads potential buyers through the condo, James lurks in dark corners, smoothing his 'stache, listening as she drops the price bomb on them. Naturally, open house attendees mute their reactions in front of the cameras. The teeth gnashing over the price is probably left for the drive home.

At the conclusion of the open house, James is still left unfazed by Vanessa's pleas to lower his price, so she decides to give him cold hard facts in the form of a tour through other listings in the neighborhood.

Vanessa brings James to a unit on the market in the Wesholme Condos on Wilshire Boulevard . Unit 808 is on the market for $990k and features 2,038 square feet, three bedrooms, and two and one half baths. You can almost see the numbers slowly sinking into James's skull as he walks through the condo, his fact-repelling immune system being compromised minute by minute.

At episode's conclusion, Vanessa and James meet up for a drink and to discuss what a complete dumbass James is for not lowering his price, despite nary a call or second glance at his condo. After a recounting of facts and reaching of conclusions, James agrees to lower the price, but not below $1 million as Vanessa had suggested. He settles at a price of $1.15 million. Naturally, the condo did not sell and has since been pulled off the market.

We join Keller Williams agent Mabelle Ortiz for the second storyline of the episode. Mabelle takes us over the hill for the first time to a listing in Studio City. The owners of the home at 3191 Laurel Canyon Blvd have finished making over the house and are ready to go onto their next project.

The 3,856 square foot house features four bedrooms and four and one half baths, and is being listed at $1.518 million. It's a lovely home in a so-so location, directly off of Laurel Canyon Boulevard, separated by a long foot bridge over a creek from the street. In order to attract the attention this kind of hidden property needs to generate, Mabelle proposes that homeowner Haya Nof throw a party. Another party! Who saw that coming?

Seeking out advice on the party, Mabelle goes for a hike with David Bailey, the Keller Williams agent we were introduced to in Episode 1 (he also arranged for the Border Grill taco truck to show up at an open house in Episode 2). David lays it out for Mabelle. Parties are expensive propositions, and its not in the Keller Williams budget so she's going to need to make this work by herself and she better not make it look cheap, or else risk the entire company's reputation. That was a fantastic pep talk, David. Go team.

Mabelle enlists her friends to prepare the food and act as servers, which is kind of awesome. It's nice to see this side of the real estate business--you know, people acting really desperate and corralling their friends in as free labor. They're like real people.

The party goes well, we are told. Various agents and buyers show up to look at the house, which is decorated with the homeowners' art. The hired valets are working smoothly, and everyone from Kennon Earl to Martha Smith are having a ball. Even David Bailey gives a smile--which, lets face it, must be really tough for him.

Later, Mabelle meets with her client Haya to discuss a potential offer from a doctor in Van Nuys. The doctor is ready to make an offer but is awaiting news on a potential transfer to a hospital in Santa Monica. If he goes, there will be no sale. Sitting in Haya's living room, Mabelle gently informs Haya that the transfer decision is in... and sadly the doctor is going to Santa Monica. So there will be no sale this episode.

And so we hold out hope for more sales next week. Adieu!
· Selling LA Archives [Curbed LA]