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Selling LA, Episode 205: An Odd Couple

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Welcome to Episode 205 of HGTV's Selling LA. 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 three brokers we're not sure if we've ever seen before: John Steiner, Bobby Shah and Gary Gold. Let's begin.

In this exciting episode, Keller Williams agents John Steiner and Bobby Shah are meeting with their team leader, Rob Aigner. The proper Steiner (a Brit) and the freewheeling Shah make an odd pair to share a listing, which is the crux of their storyline. They're so different! Can they ever learn to get along!?! What can they learn from one another!?! Will they fall in love in Season 3!?! So many questions arise from the wacky twosome.

Steiner and Shah explain that unless they can come up with an idea to create activity for their shared listing in Beverly Hills, the seller may not extend their contract. In desperation, they have brought in team leader Rob Aigner to help generate some new ideas to get this listing sold and mesh their differing styles.

Rob joins the two for a tour of the condo located at 448 Oakhurst Drive #4 in Beverly Hills and to meet the owner, Suresh Gupta. The 2,700 square foot condo features three bedrooms, three and one-half baths, and is being listed at $1.999 million (w/ HOA fees of $529/month).

It's a pretty standard penthouse condo in an unremarkable building, featuring marble counter tops, crown moldings, fireplaces in the living room and bedroom, and, per the listing, three parking spaces. Steiner and Shah explain to Rob that they've had difficulty pricing the unit because of one unique feature: a private, 2,600 sq. ft. rooftop deck. They remain unsure on how much value the rooftop deck actually adds to the property, and if they should raise or reduce the list price to reflect it's actual value.

The team does some mini-brainstorming on how to get people to an open house to show off the condo. Bobby Shah envisions holding a fashion show with go-go dancers and a DJ on the roof. John Steiner quickly shoots down that idea, telling Bobby coldly that agents will not show up for an event after 5 pm. Apparently the agents attending the evening open houses shown in other episodes are an anomaly, or actors on a soundstage, like at the moon landing. They agree to compromise by holding the fashion show/DJ/open house extravaganza during the day.

After a detour to a tattoo parlor, Steiner and Shah begin canvassing the local real estate community with flyers for their party. Shah explains that Steiner is totally by the book (old school, if you will) and likes doing things in person, like handing out flyers.

Later, at the open house/party, they have sexy models showing people around. It looks like the fashion show portion of the event was tossed in favor of just having busty models in miniskirts walking around talking to the middle-aged male agents. Whatever gets it sold, boys. They also have a DJ and food, but otherwise it seems pretty staid.

Rob Aigner makes the rounds at the party, gathering feedback from the agents in attendance. The consensus is that the house should be priced a little lower--between $1.7 and $1.85 million.

After the party, the team sits down with the seller, Mr. Gupta. They try to explain to him that they would like to reduce the price into the $1.75 to $1.8 million range in order to create renewed excitement. However, Mr. Gupta isn't convinced that dropping the price will bring in new offers. In the postscript we learn that no offers have been received, but the team remains hopeful that Mr. Gupta will see the light and will drop his price.

In the second storyline, Hilton & Hyland Executive VP Gary Gold is visiting his client Kathy at her home in Montecito. Kathy and her husband are trying to sell their Montecito estate in order to move to Beverly Hills, to be closer to the husband's clients.

Kathy gives Gary a tour of the Montecito home to help him understand what elements she is looking for in their new place. The 5,000 sq. ft. house located at 2340 Bella Vista Drive is situated on three acres and features five bedrooms, seven baths, and unimpeded ocean views. It's being listed at $4.85 million. Kathy explains that she is looking for a large dining room, room for their piano, a view of something pretty, a room for her husband's office, a room for her sewing and hobbies, plus a guest room or two. And their price range is around $4 million. Easy enough.

Gary and Kathy meet up in Beverly Hills to take a look at a few options. The first stop is a house located at 1465 Donhill Dr. that is being listed at $3.49 million. The house features 6,000 sq. ft., five bedrooms, five baths, a screening room, and a beautiful back yard with a pool. The kitchen is small but has really nice skylights. And the master suite features views of the hillside and adjacent houses. Kathy likes the location and size, but thinks it needs work. In addition, it's only on two acres. The horror! She wisely notes that it will be difficult to find three acres like she had in Montecito in her price range in Beverly Hills.

They next visit a house in the Beverly Hills Post Office neighborhood located at 1320 Beverly Grove Pl. The 5,911 sq. ft. house includes six bedrooms, six and one-half baths, and a guest house. The house is very rustic, with wood and stone all over the place. The massive living room features tall ceilings supported by tree trunk columns. It looks like a lodge. The house also features uninterrupted views of the LA basin, a pool, and a really well done kitchen. It's being listed at $4.85 million. Kathy loves the house and tells Gary that it meets her demands. We're feeling good about a sale this week. Knock on wood. Cross your fingers. Rub your rabbits foot.

Later, at a lunch meeting, Gary asks Kathy if she would be interested in looking at a condo before she returns to Montecito. She tells Gary she's open to the idea as she'd like to have several options to discuss with her husband. However, she is strongly leaning toward the Beverly Hills Post Office home.

At episode's conclusion, Gary brings Kathy to look at a condo in The Century, the location of Candy Spelling's $35 million penthouse. During the tour, Kathy is shown the private outdoor dining areas, the pool, and the private dog park. The unit is being listed at $6.2 million and features three bedrooms, four and one-half baths, and 3,448 sq. ft. of floor area. It also has marble kitchen countertops, a spacious master suite with three closets, and views of downtown LA from the bathtub. The building includes wine storage, a screening room, and a library. Kathy thinks that the condo ranks up there with the BHPO house, based on the amenities, and she likes the thought of not having to handle the upkeep of the property. What will she do?

If you guessed "nothing" then you're probably a loyal viewer of Selling LA. The postscript says Kathy and her husband have not put in an offer on any of the properties that she looked at. Instead, she has dropped the price on her house in Montecito by $225k and is hoping to sell that.
· Selling LA Archives [Curbed LA]