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Selling LA, Episode 202: The Return of Skeevy

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It's Season 2, Episode 2 of HGTV's Selling LA. Never mind that last week was Episode 203. They're not showing them in order. This week sees us following Vanessa Fitzgerald as she attempts to make her first big sale and Kennon Earl as he helps a couple of flippers find a realistic listing price. Let's begin.

We begin the episode with Vanessa Fitzgerald of the Valerie Fitzgerald Group, who is on her way to meet a new client at Dan Tanas. It's a wonderful sunny day in LA and everything is great. What could go wrong? That's our way of telling you that this episode immediately goes to shit.

The episode takes an unexpected turn for the skeevy with the reappearance of Richard "Rick" Mahr on our screens. Per his internet presence, Rick appears to be president and CEO of Xtreme Entertainment Group, the purveyor of fine titles such as Ghetto Brawls, Busty College Girls: Totally Exposed, and Bloodiest Felony Street Fights: Uncensored.

It was less than a year ago that we first met Rick on the season finale of Bravo's Million Dollar Listing. Between his stupid facial hair, weird pout, and contrived dialogue, Rick permanently burned our corneas with white hot douchey hate. It was during that episode that we turned to our cat, fists clenched to the sky, and screamed "Enough!"

During their lunchtime meeting Rick tells Vanessa that he needs her to sell his house--the same house that Josh Altman failed to sell last year on Million Dollar Listing. Why her? Apparently, Vanessa can bring in the young Hollywood and spendthrift bachelor crowd that Rick sees as the target market for his house. Vanessa explains that he needs to sell because most of his "production" work is in Vegas and the home is an inconvenience. Vanessa is as excited as a busty college girl in a felony street fight to get her first big listing.

Following lunch, Vanessa meets Rick at his home to do a walk-through. The home at 14200 Mulholland Drive includes four beds, four baths, and 4,219 square feet. If you saw it last year on MDL, nothing has changed. Even the piano that Josh Altman's dim-witted sidekick played during their open house is still in the living room. Following the tour, where Rick shows off his bedroom (Run Vanessa! Run!), his zebrawood covered kitchen, and the touch screen computer that controls his house, Vanessa suggests a list price of between $2.8 and $2.9 million. That's gotta hurt for Rick, considering a previous deal for $3.2 million from last season fell through. Vanessa notes that the house would probably command a million dollars more if it wasn't directly off of Mulholland Drive.

They agree that the house will attract a certain type of buyer, and they need a way to get that buyer to the house. Rick invites Vanessa to come visit him in Las Vegas to get inspiration for how to market the house. That really makes no sense at all, but okay. However, based on Rick's Vegas connection, Vanessa is inspired to generate interest by holding a Vegas casino style party, which she predicts will attract the young Hollywood crowd. An open bar and lines of coke off of stripper tits are also known to attract a young Hollywood crowd, but we digress.

Vanessa flies off to Vegas to meet Rick at Aria, where he is staying. Rick immediately throws douche face at her and asks how the listing is going. She notes that they've had a few open houses, a caravan visit, and requests for private showings.

Following, drinks and gambling, Rick brings Vanessa to a "real Vegas show" complete with an audience of elderlies and obese. He wants to give her further inspiration for the type of entertainment he wants to have at his open house, so they sit through a mind reader show.

Filled with inspiration, Vanessa travels back to LA, where she puts together a fancy casino party, with a mind reader for entertainment and casino tables throughout. Everything seems to go well. The mind reader guy mind reads, people play craps, and Rick lurks in the background flexing his tiny mustache and looking skeevy.

At episode's conclusion, Vanessa and Rick reconnect in Las Vegas in Rick's hotel room. Vanessa recounts the history of her negotiations to date--they had received an all cash offer of $2.3 million, but countered with $2.65 million, which was counteroffered with $2.4 million. Rick doesn't want to accept that offer, which he deems too low. Vanessa tells Rick that she will counter with $2.55 million and hope to get them closer to Rick's asking price by throwing in furniture and electronics. Rick seems happy that things seem to be working out, and Vanessa notes that if she can close this sale it will be the biggest of her career. The postscript tells us that Vanessa did in fact get the deal done, with a sale price of $2.55 million plus $40k for the furniture. (Here's the previous Curbed post about the sale.) And may we never see Rick on our TV screens again. Okay, Locked Up Abroad is acceptable, but nothing else.

In the more clasy half of the episode, we rejoin Keller Williams broker Kennon Earl as he meets new clients Trip and Hadi. They are ready to sell their home, located above the Sunset Strip at 8458 Carlton Way. The two have partnered to flip houses, utilizing Trip's skills as an interior designer and Hadi's skill as...a person with a wallet?

The hillside house, built in the 1930s, includes 2,500 square feet of floor area, four bedrooms, and three and one-half bathrooms. The house has been renovated extensively and the two are very proud of their work. Kennon looks to the two of them to give him an idea of how much they think the house is worth. Hadi thinks it could be listed at $2.5 million. Not having been raised a fool, Kennon swiftly corrects Hadi, noting that $2.5 million or $1,000 per square foot might be a bit high. He suggests they look at comparable properties in the area and set the listing price accordingly.

Kennon takes Hadi to visit another house on the market in the area that he feels is comparable to their house. The 2,844 square foot house located at 1392 Miller Place includes four bedrooms and four baths and is listed at $2.495 million. Hadi feels that the house, while nice enough, isn't comparable to the work they put into their house. Kennon however tells Hadi that this house has several things that his house doesn't, including a pool and a guest house. Kennon suggests that they do a "pricing," where Kennon's real estate colleagues come to an open house and fill out cards for suggested list price.

At the pricing, a variety of brokers wander through the house, including fellow Selling LAers David Bailey and Martha Smith. Kennon hopes to show his clients that it's not just him, but other agents don't believe the property is going to attract a lot of attention at a $2.5 million listing price.

Later, Kennon meets with Trip and Hadi at their office to discuss the feedback he received from the pricing. The other brokers filled out cards anonymously, which provided a suggested listing price of between $1.95 million and $2.5 million. The brokers also suggested a potential sale price of between $2.2 million and $2.8 million.

Kennon boils down the numbers for the pair and makes the argument to lower their listing price to $2.3 million. That brings the price per square footage below $1,000 per square foot. They agree to lower the price and at episode's end the postscript notes that Kennon is currently negotiating a deal for the house.
· Selling LA Archives [Curbed LA]