Selling New York S6E2: Keeping it Clean

CurbedDecember 14, 2012
HGTV's Selling New York rides along with brokerages CORE, Kleier Residential, and Warburg as they try to sell fabulous properties fabulously. Here's our recap of how the NYC real estate industry is portrayed to the world, penned by Angela Bunt. Episode air date: 12/13/2012.

In this week's episode, Michele Kleier is feeling the pressure from the property developers over at Greystone to sell their $4.75M, 4BR, 4.5BA Upper East Side penthouse before the summer rolls around. But this isn't Michele's first rodeo, and she's ready to bust out the big guns and git 'er done. Also featured this week is the fresh-faced Adrian Noriega, who's trying to move a Flatiron property for the highest dollar-per-square-foot possible. But with his client's disdain for dirty carpets, she's hesitant to allow an open house in the apartment. Will Adrian be able to create enough buzz around the apartment without an open house? Will Michele be able to turn over the UES penthouse before the end of spring? Read on, friends. Read on.

We first catch up with Mama Kleier at 180 East 93 Street, where she's hanging with Doug Benach, president of Greystone Property Development, and Jeffrey Simpson, the director of development at Greystone. They've given Michele (and co-broker Lauren Muss) the exclusive on two penthouses in the Upper East Side building. Penthouse two has been sold, but that pesky penthouse one has yet to move. The trio discuss marketing strategies and decide that the apartment needs to be staged and shown in an open house.

Michele brings in one of her designer friends, Rod Pleasants from McIver Morgan, to size up the crib and figure out the best way to stage it. Of course a huge penthouse on the Upper East Side is going to be nice, but it lacks a bit of character (kind of like the neighborhood). He wants to dress up the apartment with clean lines and simple furniture that showcases the natural light and understated elegance of the place. I know what you're thinking—you never knew Chevy Chase led a double life as a interior decorator.

Ian Kleier, Michele's hubby and the co-president of the family firm, meet for lunch at Chin Chin in midtown. Michele is confused by the fact that her husband is taking her on a date when it's not her birthday or an anniversary. Can't a guy just do something nice for a change? Eh, apparently not: Ian wants to discuss his stroke-of-genius marketing strategy for penthouse one. Two words: Dump Lings. OK, I guess that's one word.

In keeping up with the recent popularity of 60s-themed television shows and fashion (news flash Ian: Mad Men came out, like, five years ago, and PanAm was already cancelled), he thinks the theme of the open house should be Martini Madness. So, gin martinis and pu-pu platters, because what's better than filling your belly with booze that tastes like pine needles and then overdosing on MSG?

Through the handy work of Rob, aka Chevy, the apartment is looking fab. Just in time for Martini Madness! Or, a blatant excuse for Michele and Ian to bust out their old wardrobe and drink a ton of gin, just like the good ol' days. No-fuss-Lauren-Muss loves the martini idea because as she says, "Brokers love a cocktail and love food." Yes, brokers... and every other human being on the planet.

The folks over at Greystone are pleased with the open house turnout, but Doug reminds Michele that she's only as good as her last deal (aka get selling!) But if her last deal was the penthouse upstairs, then wouldn't she be as good as somebody who sells penthouses?
Regardless of misused cliches, Michele's open house was a smash success and she and Lauren are currently negotiating two strong offers on the property.

Next up in the real estate rigamarole is Adrian Noriega—a feisty young buck from Core—who's eager to prove himself as top NYC broker. He wants to sell the $3.296M, 3BR, 2BA at 15 West 20th Street for the highest dollar-per-square-footage possible. The apartment is something of a paradox: it's super sleek and modern, but also decked out with yoga themes and Indian decor, Phoebe's fave. The apartment is filled with windows, and while the view isn't anything to write home about, overall the space pops with bold colors and natural light.

The only problem? Phoebe is dead set against an open house. "I don't like the idea of people coming in and traipsing in with their dirty shoes," she says. Isn't she selling this place anyway? Who cares if the floors get a little dirty.

Did she just tell him not to forget his shoes? Yeah, like he is going to get all the way to Union Square before realizing that he was just wearing dirt-laden socks throughout the city.

Soon after their meeting, Adrian spends the day showing the apartment, and has to awkwardly tell every person that comes in to please take off their shoes. Secret foot fetish or diligent broker? You decide.

After showing the space, Adrian receives a $3.14M offer on the apartment and heads to Phoebe's absolutely ridonk estate in Bedminster, New Jersey, (I know, I know) to share the news.

While it's still the highest price that an apartment in the same building has ever sold for, Ambitious Adrian thinks they can do better. The apartment was just featured in the Wall Street Journal and he wants to take advantage of the buzz surrounding it. It's time for an open house.

Say whaaaaaat?! After boring holes into Adrian's skull with her eyes, she agrees.

Adrian is gearing up for the open house, and even found medical booties for guests to wear over their shoes (that's what she said! Wait...what?)

Just take a moment to let this picture sink in.

The open house was a success, and Ambitious Adrian not only gets a higher bid, but it's an ALL CASH offer, which literally makes me want to throw up. Or maybe that's all the gin. With furniture and lighting thrown in, the deal actually ends up closing at $3.375M. The lesson Adrian takes away from this? "You have to really push your clients to sometimes do something that they're completely against." Ah, good lessons in real estate, and in life.

While there's nothing like a good apartment staging, and Adrian's hospital booties were uber stylish, we like watching brokers work a little harder for the money. For that reason, this episode gets 2 out of 5 cackling Kleiers.