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Selling LA, Episode 4: Flips and Flops

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Welcome to episode four 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 yet two more new brokers. No need to remember names anymore. Let's begin.

This week we're introduced to Steven Aaron, a broker with Keller Williams, and the gravelly voiced Aaron Kirman of Hilton & Hyland.

We begin with Steven Aaron, who takes us to a place we haven't been this season--south of Wilshire. Lock your doors everyone! We kid. While cruising about, Steven gets a call from Shane Lex, director of acquisitions for Anchor Homes, a house flipping company. Shane has a house in the South Carthay neighborhhod that Anchor Homes is interested in acquiring at auction. The house located at 1170 Alvira Street is in a good location, but obviously needs some work--new landscaping and at least a new coat of paint. After taking a look at that house, which includes climbing over bushes to peek into windows, Steve calls Shane to let him know they can probably get $1.1 million after fixing up the house a bit.

Later, Steve accompanies the Anchor Homes people to the first viewing of the house, which they've acquired at auction for $600k. In the walk through, they find ugly drapery, a scratched-up front door, a smashed up brick mantle, and a kitchen with terrible cream colored paint everywhere. Steven points out all the potential changes that need to be made--it needs a bigger kitchen and a more masterful master bedroom. They're also pleasantly surprised to find a bonus room in the backyard. Hope that's permitted, hmmm.

Weeks or days or hours later, Steven returns to the house after the contractors have finished knocking the ugly out of the house. It's been landscaped and staged just in time for an open house for Steven's coworkers from the Keller Williams Beverly Hills office.

They've also turned the bonus room into a "screening room" complete with a super ugly patterned couch. Hopefully nobody can see it in the dark.

The 2,631 sq. ft. remodeled house includes three bedroom and two and a half baths, and is being listed at $1.149 million. Steven explains that the improvements to the house cost approximately $200k, so if he can get the house to sell over $1.1 million, the Anchor Homes people stand to earn close to $400k. A perfect flip.

Making cameo appearances at the open house are a slightly less bubbly Martha Smith (last seen in Episode 3) and a dapper looking Kennon Earl (last seen in Episode 2). The open house goes well and all the agents from Steven's office seem to like the staging and remodel.

Back at the Keller Williams office, Steven meets with Robert Wasmund, Senior VP for Anchor Homes. Steven tells Robert that they have received two offers on the house, which is asking $1.149 million. The first is an all cash offer of $1.15 million ($1,000 over the asking price) and second offer is for $1.145 million, with 40 percent down. However, Steven has been able to bring them up to the asking price. Robert quickly accepts the all cash offer, saving the second offer as a backup. The postscript tells us that the Alvira house was successfully sold for $1.149 million. Yes! The first sale of the season.

For the second storyline of the episode, we're introduced to Aaron Kirman of Hilton and Hyland as he drives his Maserati around town. He receives a call from his office about a potential listing for a new multi-million dollar compound in Malibu, recently completed by Doron Gelfand, a builder from the East Coast making his first foray into California.

The house located at 2060 Rambla Pacifico Road is isolated atop a hill, accessed by a long driveway. Aaron meets the home's interior designer, Shirry Dolgin, for a tour of the property, which leaves Aaron with a case of the vapors. Despite his enthusiasm, he worries that it may be difficult to get buyers and agents to come to the house because of the long drive to get there.

Per the listing, the house is set on 9.02 acres, which provides room for horses and a vineyard. The 8,600 sq. ft. house also features six bedrooms, seven baths, ocean views from Malibu to Santa Monica, and is listed at $14.99 million dollars.

Aaron strategizes that the best way to market the property, besides featuring it on a show on HGTV, is to have a party. Naturally. HGTV should really consider doing a show about open house party planners. Can we get an executive producer credit on that?

Aaron meets with his team in the Hilton & Hyland offices to work out the details of the party. They're going to combine the open house with a charity event that Aaron was contacted about earlier. And while they're at it, they are throwing in live music, dancers and a fashion show for good measure. Hoop jumping cats and Chinese acrobats apparently didn't make the cut.

At the open house/charity event/fashion show, Aaron is introduced to potential buyer Fabio Bassotto from Verona, Italy. Fabio is described as an Italian soccer player, but we couldn't find much info on his professional career. He must have been realllly good.

Aaron is happy that the open house thing went well, and is even happier to have a private showing with Fabio and his interior design consultant/friend Ali Rad who liked the house except for one blue wall and all the damn sunshine in the place. Fabio and his broker seem ready to make an offer, but the postscript is a tad vague in describing Fabio's continued involvement. It does however note that Aaron is currently negotiating two offers -- one for sale and one for lease. At least we've had one sale this season.
· Selling LA Archives [Curbed LA]