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Selling LA, Episode 209: Let Your Agent Do The Work

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Welcome to Episode 209 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 but recovering market. This week we're following Kennon Earl and Valerie Fitzgerald, and there's a lot of houses to see, so let's begin.

This episode begins with Kennon Earl of Keller Williams visiting his dentist, Dr. Dorfman, known for his help transforming people's faces on that show we sort of remember, Extreme Makeover. After close examination, Dr. Dorfman diagnoses Kennon with severe old man mouth, which requires immediate intervention. Anticipating payment of services rendered, Dr. Dorfman tells Kennon that he is now looking for a new house and could use his help. He's been in the same house for 15 years and is ready to transition into a new house to accommodate his bachelor lifestyle, but also provide space for his kids when they come over. His budget is between $10 and $15 million. That's a lot of fixed teeth.

In order to speed along the process and not waste Dr. Dorfman's time, Kennon begins previewing properties. His first stop is at a house in the Bird Streets. The house located at 9353 Nightingale Drive is listed at $12.78 million, and includes 7,022 sq. ft., four bedrooms, and seven baths.

The next house he previews is located at 3001 Arrowhead Drive, overlooking the Hollywood Reservoir. The 9,385 sq. ft. ultra-modern house is being listed at $10.8 million, and features five bedrooms, eight bathrooms, a view of the reservoir and a pool.

On to the next house, Kennon visits a 9,310 sq. ft. marbelous mansion on the Studio City side of the hill. The house, located at 11244 Briarcliff Lane, features nine bedrooms, eight and one-half baths, and is listed for $8.795 million. It also features a 900 pound German crystal chandelier, and more columns than you could shake a stick at.

Kennon's last stop is at a house located at 2401 Summitridge Drive. The 8,049 sq. ft. house features six bedrooms, seven bathrooms, a wine cellar, and expansive lawn. It is being listed for $8.499 million. Kennon is less than amazed with the house, which lacks the modern and bachelor elements that the doctor was looking for. However, he does have two houses in mind that he would like to bring his client to.

Later, Kennon brings Dr. Dorfman to the house on Nightingale Drive (video tour above, also features cameo by girl in a bikini). The house obviously has the cache of being located in the Bird Streets, but also features an open floor plan, cutouts in the floor so you can see the level below you, views of Downtown and Century City. The lower level also features a swanky looking bar. Dr. Dorfman is impressed by some parts of the house, but isn't impressed by the tiny pool. He also wants four bedrooms, but the house sort of combines spaces and calls them bedrooms. He decides to pass on the house. Kennon takes the push back as a lesson learned.

As a second choice, Kennon brings Dr. Dorfman to the house on Arrowhead Drive above the Hollywood Reservoir (picture slideshow from YouTube above). The dentist raves about the house's amazing views, incredible layout, and multiple features. It's everything he could ever want, except it's located on the wrong side of the 101. As a hardcore Westsider, the doctor turns his nose up at the thought of living in this part of the Hollywood Hills. His teeth fixing business, friends, family, and life are all located on the Westside. He takes a pass on this house as well, leaving Kennon to regroup and refocus on homes located on the Westside only.

Hoping for better luck, Kennon takes a trip back to the Westside, hitting a listing in Bel Air. The 5,000 sq. ft. traditional-style house located at 651 N. Faring Road was designed by locally famous architect Gerard Colcord and features seven bedrooms, five baths and is being listed for $12.25 million. Kennon notes the house is in a convenient location for Dr. Dorfman--close to both his office and schools for his kids. However, Kennon decides to take a pass on the house because it lacks a view and the design might be too traditional for the bachelor doctor.

At the segment's conclusion, Kennon meets with Dr. Dorfman and explains that due to the lack of available houses on the market it will take more time to find the right house that meets everything he wants. The postscript notes that they have toured additional houses but haven't found anything yet. And Kennon's old man mouth seems to be fixed.

In the other segment, Valerie Fitzgerald of the Valerie Fitzgerald Group meets with her friend and client Daphna Ziman. Her boyfriend Rod is planning a move to Los Angeles from New York. Daphna explains that she hopes to find Rod a suitable home within 30 days, before he arrives, but she's also uber-busy planning a charity event for disadvantaged children. Therefore, the entire search is dumped on Valerie's lap.

Daphna goes on to explain what qualities Rod is looking for in a house. Rod likes to be comfortable, he likes views, he likes to entertain, he needs a pool, and a tennis court. The house should also be of a "Contemporary style with a slight classic feel to it." And lastly, the house should be between $2.5 and $3.5 million.

Following some research, Valerie brings Daphna to check out a house off the Sunset Strip. Listed for $3.199 million, the 4,362 sq.ft. house located at 8650 Pine Tree Place features four bedrooms, five baths, a pool, and a very limited view. Valerie says that the house is owned by an art dealer. Its most remarkable feature is a sign above the pool saying "Schocken". Schocken was apparently the name of a department store chain in Germany before World War II. The sign notwithstanding, the house does have some pedigree. Per the listing: "Magnificent architectural estate, originally remodeled by world recognized architect John Lautner in 1951 for actress Anne Baxter and husband John Hodiak. This hip and voguish residence was extensively renovated in 2010 to today's lifestyle standards with an exquisite choice of materials and appliances, by internationally award winner Sharon Johnston A.I.A and Mark Lee." Despite all the names attached, Daphna decides to pass on the house, since it lacks the space for properly entertaining guests and those required skyline views that Rod needs.

Valerie next brings Daphna to a Spanish Colonial style house, located just above the Sunset Strip at 1376 Miller Place. The home features 3,000 sq. ft., four bedrooms, three baths, and is being listed at $3.945 million house. Daphna likes the kitchen, the dining room, and the master bedroom. However she thought the price was too high, and the worst offense of all was that it didn't include a tennis court.

A despondent Valerie hits the road by herself to try to whittle down the list of potentials to just a few. Her first stop is at 1625 Summitridge Dr. in the Beverly Hills Post Office neighborhood. The house is being listed for $3.795 million and features four bedrooms, five baths, a pool, and a tennis court. The house is full of whites, blacks, and pinks. In addition to a few hideous accent furniture pieces, the formal dining room and a baby grand piano are both painted in a bright pink. The broker showing the house tells Valerie that interest in the house has been high and she needs to have Daphna make an offer quickly.

At this point we imagine Valerie scurrying down the hill, rushing to get to Daphna before the house is sold out from underneath them. As it happens, Valerie has a sit down meeting with Daphna to discuss the Summitridge house. Daphna has forwarded Rod pictures of the house and he seems to like it so they agree to start negotiations. Daphna wants to make an offer of $3.3 million, but Valerie thinks it's too low. Anywho, it's a start.

At episode's conclusion, Valerie goes to Daphna's charity event for disadvantaged children. There she meets Rod, who looks exactly like Larry David. Valerie discusses pricing with Rod and helps to get him to up his offer to $3.5 million, but it's as high as Rod will go. Rod is a hard negotiator. The postscript notes that Rod's offer was accepted and he is now the owner of a tennis court and a pink dining room.
· Selling LA Archives [Curbed LA]