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Welcome to the premier of Bravoís Million Dollar Listing. Theyíve tackled chefs, designers, show moms and dads, and now itís time for Bravo to venture into the hoity-toity world of million dollar real estate.
It looks like tonight weíre going to be mainly focusing on two agents: Shannon McLeod, the blonde bombshell, and Madison Hildebrand, the guy with the made up name.
Always be closing!
Madison lives in Malibu with his dog Rex, where he spends his time toning his abs, having his hair artfully mussed and getting manicures. Oh, and heís also a 24 year-old big shot newbie agent, with over $17 million in sales in 2005. Not too shabby. Today, Madison is headed off to Trancas Canyon where he will try to arrange his first solo listing.
Meet Howard Stone, the wronged renovator. In 2004, he purchased a home in Trancas Canyon for the cool price of $2.35 million, with the intention of making it into a drug/ alcohol rehabilitation center. After dropping in an additional $400k in renovations, Howard has fallen out of love with the house, and his vision. He speaks bitterly to the camera about how the contractors ruined the house, and I can really see where heís coming from.
The house is 8000 square feet on a 4 acre lot, with 180 degree views, and a two story entry. Now Iíll just have to take Madisonís word on the rooms, because to me the place looks pretty trashed, but then again, I donít have a realtorsí ďvision.Ē I work in insurance. The camera pans through the indoor pool area, entertainment room, professional-sized kitchen, six bedrooms, and some other vague-ish room like areas. Howard calls the place a dump. Yep, a $2.35 million dollar dump.
Madison also seems to think itís kind of a dump, but he is very positive and upbeat while urging Howard to list the house with him. He tells us that he likes to try and make a connection with his clients, whether itís sincere or not. In this case, I think itís not. He and Howard come to an agreement to list the house at $3.2 million, but then thereís a little disagreement about commission. Madison wants 6%, 3% for the seller and 3% for the buyer, but the industry standard is 5%, and Howard knows this. He thinks the seller should take 2% and the buyer 3%. At this statement, Madison turns red in the face and stammers that itís not worth his time and effort to take the listing at 2%, (just to put things into perspective here, 2% of 3.2 mil is a cool $63,900. I know thatís probably peanuts to these agents, but not a small amount to all the regular people out there). The two men compromise and decide that the house will be listed at a 6% commission for 2 months, and then drop down to 5%. I sure hope Madison can unload this place in 2 months, or weíll probably see a tantrum of some sort.
Madisonís thrilled that he made the deal all by himself, just like a big boy, and I am just thrilled for him! Not really.
Business deals with ex-lovers: good idea or train wreck waiting to happen? Discuss.
Now itís Shannon McLeodís turn to shine. Shannonís been in the business for three years, with sales of $8 million in 2005. $8 million? Ha! Madison Hildebrand laughs at $8 million! Shannonís called the Blond Bombshell, and loves living in Hollywood, but finds dating difficult. In fact, she was recently supposed to move in with her fiancť, but it didnít work out.
Shannonís off to try to list her ex-boyfriendís house. Now Iím not sure if this is the same boyfriend she was supposed to move in with or what, but the situation seems kind of awkward to me. I canít wait to see what happens.
Shannonís ex-boyfriend Jeff lives in a pretty tony neighborhood. In fact, Leonardo DiCaprio and Keanu Reeves both have houses in the area, (take note- thatís probably the only time you will ever see a common bond between those two actors). Shannon and Jeff broke up 4 months ago, so Shannon is pretty familiar with the house, and confident sheíll be able to sell it.
She packs her little dog into her oversized purse, and drives over to Jeffís house, which we see is decorated impeccably, down to the beautiful Siamese cat lounging on the couch. When she arrives, they share a semi-inappropriate kiss for the situation. Shannon proudly shows him her little dog, and Jeff immediately locks the dog outside on the patio. HmmmÖ I wonder why these two broke up?
The house is 3500 square feet, on ľ of an acre. There is a custom tiled pool, rooftop cabana, marble entrance, formal living room, media room, a sexy den, (Bravoís description, not mine. I would have called it ďprovocative,Ē or ďtitillating.Ē), and entertainerís kitchen, breakfast bar, two bedrooms and a bathroom with a spa tub. Jeff purchased the house in 2003 for $1.5 million, and paid out $185k for renovations.
Jeff agrees to list the house with Shannon for $2.4 million, which means that Shannon is looking at commission of over $59k. She tells us that the break up has been hard for her, and thinks it has been hard for Jeff too. Yeah, Iím not so sure of that. Shannonís trying to detach herself from the situation so that she can do a great job and sell this house. Well Shannon, as Neil Sedaka always says, breaking up is hard to do. Especially when you decide to enter into a business agreement with your ex and have to sell the house that probably holds many happy and heartbreaking memories for you.
Iím so excited!
Howard Stoneís house has been on the market for a week, and today Madison is giving a private showing to Greg, who manages boxers, (the athletes, not the dogs. I think). Heís a little bummed when Greg drives up in his bright yellow hummer, because along with him is super agent Scotty Brown, and Gregís financial advisor, Ian. See, Madison had been working with Greg, showing him properties, shining his shoesÖ and he didnít think to bring him out to see his new listing, but Scotty did. Scotty seems to be a pretty hardcore agent, and heís even wearing a hat to show that he is not to be messed with. He calls the house a total fixer upper/ dump, but knows that itís exactly what Greg is looking for. Madison seems a little nervous to perform in front of Scotty, but Greg seems excited about the house.
The showing goes very well, and itís obvious that Greg is going to put an offer in on the house. Madison is so excited, he is giggling like a little girl for his interview. He is so excited about the meeting, and so excited that Greg is going to make an offer, and so excited that life is good. I am so excited that this segment is over and we are sent to commercial.
Put that champagne down- champagne is for closers!
Shannon has scheduled her first open house one week into the listing of Jeffís house. Unfortunately, she couldnít get the marketing together, so I guess she is going to hope that random homebuyers take a walk through the neighborhood and see her tasteful, understated sign.
This showing is a twilight showing, which is traditionally more casual and involves alcohol. Well, Iím not sure if the alcohol is standard, but I think itís a great idea, and hope that any open houses I attend in the future offer champagne. Shannon and Jeff toast toÖ something. Selling the house? Jeff realizing the errors of his ways, and begging Shannon to take him back? Iím not really sure. Shannon states that Jeff used to have really rockiní parties, and sheís sure heís going to miss them. Jeff states that he will not miss them. Heís not in love with the house, or the seller. He doesnít say that second part, but itís implied.
I guess not advertising the open house was not a good marketing idea, because they wait, and wait, and wait, and still no one comes. I have my own theory here- I think that Shannon purposely did not advertise so she could spend some alone time with Jeff drinking mimosas and picking out baby names.
Finally, some people show up and they areÖ interesting. The man seems slightly skeazy, and the woman has some of the largest breasts Iíve ever seen. These two are totally scoping the house to see if it would make a good porn set, and the guy pretty much confirms this when he comments about the fantastic ďphotographyĒ he could shoot there. Itís obvious these two are not the kind of buyers that Shannon has in mind, and she says that open houses bring out all sorts of people, and unfortunately she canít turn them away. Sheís civil at best, until the couple reveals that they just bought a house in the neighborhood, and then her attitude turns positively chilly. I think she should have been a little nicer- what if the couple had some industry friends from the valley looking for a nice house? Maybe they could have helped her sell it!
Fancy electronics make the man.
The same day that Madison shows the house to Greg, he gets a call from Scotty Brown asking to meet with him. Madisonís thrilled because he knows this means that Gregís made an offer. Both men are in their cars on their cell phones, and I notice that while Scotty has an expensive, trendy headset, Madison has to talk on his cell without a hands free unit. What, is he a barbarian? Itís obvious who the power player in this deal is.
Madison and Scotty meet, exchange a one armed man-hug and Scotty presents an offer of $3.35 million, $60k under the asking price. Again, Madison is super excited and skips off to meet with Howard. He calls Scotty and tells him that Howard has accepted the offer, will sell the home as is, and makes a verbal agreement to open escrow.
The Blond Bombshell is batting for both teams.
Today is Shannonís second open house for Jeffís home, and this time she actually advertises so people are sure to show up. She opens all the curtains and blinds to let the light in, and turns on all of the lamps and light in the house to give it a comfy feel. While Bravo flashes some statistic on the screen about how people are far more likely to make an offer on a house when theyíre given a guided tour during an open house, we see Shannon get out some nail polish and proceed to paint her nails. While there are people looking at the house. Many people. This is something I donít understand at all, and I hope that she is just a victim of editing here, because to me, this just reeks of unprofessionalism and disinterest in both her potential buyers and her client.
AnyhooÖ the nail painting abruptly stops when an extremely attractive man comes in to look at the house. This guy is a male model, LA type, and Shannon drops what sheís doing so that she can give him a tour. To prepare, she makes sure to put on some fresh makeup and fluff her hair. After the tour, she manages to con him out of his phone number, and slip him her business card, and most likely had their wedding planned out in her mind by the time he walked out the door.
While Shannon was tied up with Hottie McHotterson, an actual prospective buyer was falling in love with the house. Somehow, Shannon recognizes this, introduces herself to Farrah, and then lies and tells her thereís already been an offer on the house, for the full asking price. Farrah, Farrah, FarrahÖ donít you know thatís the oldest sales trick in the book? I guess she doesnít. Farrah continues to ask questions detailed questions about the house, and Shannon tells us that once prospective buyers start asking serious questions, she knows theyíre serious. Duh. Somehow she wrangles her way into being Farrahís agent, meaning possible double commission for her if the sale goes through. Iíll bet it also means potential nightly migraines, as she will have to negotiate in the best interests of both sides.
Two days later, Farrah makes an offer of $2,280,000. Jeff thinks itís kind of low, but that he should just take it and be done with the sale.
A few weeks later (after the house has been on the market for 30 days), itís time for the physical inspection. Since the offer came in so far under the asking price, Jeff isnít willing to give up any more money for repairs. Farrah tells us she was excited when she made the offer, but as the time drags on, and the deal still isnít closed, sheís becoming less and less enthusiastic. Shannon knows that the house is well maintained, and doesnít think there should be any major problems revealed in the inspection. So, when something happens to the plumbing in the bathroom, Shannon blames the inspector, and continues to blame the inspector for the rest of the show. She seems to be a little high strung about the situation, mostly because if this deal falls through, sheís out a hefty commission.
Other than the plumbing disaster, the inspection goes well, and there are very few problems, but Farrah wants Jeff to fix them all- the fireplace bricks, something about restricting child entry to the pool area, and covering the outlets with receptacle plates. Jeff thinks the requests are absurd and refuses to fix anything. He also is getting very annoyed at Farrah. Farrah wonít budge either, and thinks that Jeff is being unreasonable, and at this point, I think Shannon hates them both.
Everyone knows that verbal agreements donít fly!
Meanwhile over at Madisonís agency thereís some contention brewing. He meets with Scotty and gives him some bad news- since they were waiting for signatures, the selling agreement wasnít binding, and Howard got another offer for the full asking price. Itís a cash offer, and the deal would close in 30 days. Scotty doesnít like this news, and new something shady was going on with the agreement. Madison admits that they technically had an agreement, but they both know that Howard can get out of it if he wants to. Scotty tells Madison that they had a verbal agreement, and they shook on it! And Bravo helpfully tells us that verbal agreements are not binding in real estate. Madison knows they had a verbal agreement, but tells Scotty that it all comes down to the fact that Greg now needs to cough up another 60 grand. Scotty points out that Howard should really be careful because he just had a heart attack, and Scotty is most likely the cause. I think heís implying that he could cause another heart attack if he wanted to, and I donít think thatís very nice at all!
Scotty has some private time with the camera and continues griping about the verbal agreement, and the fact that they shook hands! He takes Greg to see another house, and itís incredible, the asking price is 10 million, and itís been on the market for 6 months. Gregís not interested in the house, and especially not interested in the price, and Scotty laments the fact that Madison is a punk who backed out of their deal.
Madison calls Scotty again, this time with good news. He and Howard looked at the offers, and thought it would be best to follow through with the original agreement and sell to Greg. Scotty does a happy dance, the deal closes, and all three men live happily ever after in the hills of Malibu.
Shannon thinks that negotiations are annoying, and Jeff agrees. He tells her not to represent both sides in the future, and decides to take his house off the market. Shannon breaks out some champagne to help her forget that she just lost $114k, and says that she and Jeff make great partners. YeahÖ great partners.
Tune in next week to see more of the same, and donít worry if you miss it- Bravo will replay it about 700 times!
I am watching a David Mamet marathon, but you can reach me atSueEllenMishke@fansofrealitytv .com