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Selling LA, Episode 210: Modern Homes and Lap Pools

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Welcome to Episode 210 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 two agents new to the show, Rebekah Schwartz and Victor Kaminoff. Let's begin.

We begin this episode with Hilton & Hyland agent Rebekah Schwartz as she joins her friend Demian for a shopping excursion to look at shoes and sunglasses and giggle as they try things on. Demian, an international art dealer, explains that he is finally ready to buy a home in Los Angeles after considering it for the last few years. His tastes range between "European charm" and "modern," but more importantly he's looking for a home with enough wall space to accommodate his art collection and a pool large enough to do laps. His challenge to Rebekah is to find him a home he likes before he leaves for Europe in a few weeks.

Rebekah brings Demian to a house in the Hollywood Hills. The five-bed, five and one-half-bath property located at 2260 Hercules Drive is being listed for $3.795 million. The lovely example of modern architecture features a very white interior and exterior, clean lines, glass, and zzzzz... What were we saying? The 4,000 sq. ft. house is very lovely, but lacks a certain "wow" factor. Demian tells Rebekah that he likes the wall space, but feels that the house lacks warmth. Also, the pool is a bit too stubby to do laps.

Taking cues from Demian's comments, Rebekah picks a second house in the Hollywood Hills at a higher price point. The Tuscan-style (we haven't written those words since the mid-aughts) house, located at 1260 St. Ives, is being listed at $7.595 million. The 8,600 sq. ft., five-bed, eight-bath house appeals to Demian's love of European charm. The house includes a carved marble fireplace, wood beamed ceilings, and a wine cellar, plus a screening room, and a slightly larger, but still kind of stubby pool. Rebekah notes the price is higher than the previous house, but she wanted Demian to see what he could get at the next price point. Demian loves the detail work that creates the illusion of a much older house. However, he's not so sure the price fits within his budget. Rebekah tells him she will go back and run some numbers, look at comps, and figure out if a reasonable counteroffer could be made. Demian decides to sleep on it.

Later, Rebekah meets Demian for a liquid lunch to discuss the Tuscan house on St. Ives. Having counted his pennies, Demian has come to the conclusion that the price of the house is too high for his budget. So with one week left before he leaves for Europe, Rebekah promises to try to find him a house in a lower price range, without a stubby pool.

Rebekah's last ditch effort is to bring Demian to a pocket listing (One which despite our best efforts we were unable to locate. Let us know if you have the address for the house.). The modern, 6,500 sq. ft., six-bed, five and one-half-bath house is being listed for $5.5 million. Demian immediately points out the coziness of the house, which was missing from the previous modern house they saw on Hercules. The house's master suite includes a living room, and the entire space provides big, spacious white walls--perfect for hanging art. The pool is again kind of stubby, but Demian seems willing to do some truncated laps in order to get the art space. Sitting down in the living room, Rebekah and Demian discuss the pros and cons of the house, and the urgency of putting in an offer now before it's snapped up. Again, Demian wants to sleep on it before making a decision.

At the conclusion of the segment, Demian and Rebekah meet to discuss his decision. He's decided to make an offer. Hoo-hah! A pleased Rebekah recommends an offer between $5.2 and $5.25 million. However, stupid Demian wants to make an offer of $5 million. Good gravy. Despite Rebekah''s better sense, they agree to make the offer of $5 million and see if they can negotiate with the seller. The postscript says that the initial offer was rejected, however Rebekah continues to negotiate on Demian's behalf.

The second part of the episode follows Keller Williams agent Victor Kaminoff. Victor has been contacted by Al McMordie, a homeowner with an itchy selling finger. Al's is ready to part with his 3,848 sq. ft. modern house located at 1267 St. Ives Place, if the right offer comes along. The handsome three-bed, three and one-half-bath house is located above the Sunset Strip, with "views down Doheny Drive and Catalina on a clear day." It also features an L-shaped pool, glass walls, and lots of clean lines. Al explains that he picked Victor to represent him because of his reputation for selling architecturally interesting houses.

Based on his own assessment of his home's worth, Al wants to set the listing price at $5.995 million. Victor thinks it will be a tough sell at that price, but he's willing to work with it as a starting point. Al seems unfazed by the pushback, telling Victor that he's firm on the listing price, and he won't sell unless he gets his asking price. For the record, the price also includes all furnishings.

Hoping to generate interest in the house, Victor brings in a professional photographer. He plans to put the photos in his international newsletter and on the side of a bus shelter in Beverly Hills. Victor is apparently well connected with overseas agents and begins making calls to his contacts in the UK. We can already tell, this isn't going to turn out well unless Al is willing to lower his asking price. But that seems unlikely.

Later, at Victor's open house/party, the invited brokers, buyers, and press seem to love the house. Victor hopes that the positive feedback will help put a boot in Al's ass so that he becomes even more interested in selling the house, thereby dropping his price to get it sold. That was his logic, but we don't quite follow.

At episode's end Al meets Victor in his office. Victor explains that the feedback from the open house was positive but that they haven't received an offer yet, so maybe they should consider repricing the house. Victor suggests lowering the price to $5.495 million. Al is having none of it. He tells victor that with the buzz he received he has no interest in lowering the price. in fact, he now realizes how great the house is. He wants to hold onto it until a seller meets his price. As expected, the postscript notes that after three months they still haven't received an offer. And there hasn't been a price chop. No sale this episode.

It looks like the next few weeks are all repeats, so we'll rejoin Selling LA's futile attempts to sell or buy anything either when new Season 2 episodes start up again or when we hit Season 3. See you then.
· Selling LA Archives [Curbed LA]