HGTV’s “Selling New York” follows CORE agents as they navigate the country’s most competitive—and compelling—real estate market. Here’s our behind-the-scenes look at Episode #413, which first aired on January 26, 2012. For more SNY recaps, click here.
In “Press Worthy Properties,” CORE agent Parul Brahmbhatt faced an unusual challenge in this week’s episode: How to market a New York City property with bizarre elements such as a green submarine door and a 32-foot model zeppelin suspended over the kitchen? Yep, we’re talking about the Steampunk-inspired loft at 120 West 29th Street. With a homeowner determined to sell the quirky apartment “as-is,” Parul’s goal was to find a buyer that would preserve the property’s unique character. The episode began with Parul and CEO Shaun Osher discussing a pricing strategy. While the owner expected over $2 million as a listing price, Parul and Shaun knew that wasn’t feasibile with such a buyer-specific property. It was essential to price slightly lower and generate interest from a larger pool of property hunters. After a conversation with the homeowner, a listing price of $1.75 million seemed ideal.
Next came finding the right strategy to market the property. After extensive research and a visit with Steampunk expert Joey Marsocci, Parul concluded that the best way to bring the property to market was to throw a Steampunk-style open house. In the end, Parul’s creative marketing approach and out-of-the-box thinking paid off, resulting in an overwhelmingly positive response from fellow brokers, potential buyers and the press. Keep on reading for some exclusive behind-the-scenes information about what didn’t make it into last night’s episode of “Selling New York” and what happened after the cameras stopped rolling!
1) Wait, what’s a Steampunk?! It’s a sub-genre of art and literature that blends Victorian-era style with elements of science fiction and fantasy (think Jules Verne stories). Believe it or not, this time-traveling fantasy world has gone fairly mainstream. Just this year, Macy’s holiday windows were decked out in Steampunk style, complete with all kinds of gears and pulleys. The Oscar-nominated film Hugo also borrows from Steampunk, and even Google has latched on to the trend.
2) The Steampunk scavenger hunt. So, how did Parul find out that the style of the apartment was Steampunk? You might have thought the seller told her, but nope. While trying to figure out how to pinpoint the property’s design scheme, Google searches of “Tim Burton” and “The Addams Family” turned up the word “Steampunk,” and the mystery was solved. But the seller didn’t want to pigeonhole his apartment into a particular design category; from his perspective, everyone should have an admiration for vintage submarines and airships. His aesthetic just happened to fit the Steampunk bill.
3) It’s just like riding a bike, right? Parul was filmed driving up to Connecticut to visit Joey Marsocci, a Steampunk expert also known as Dr. Grymm, to get some insight. While she might have appeared calm and collected during the drive, Parul was actually a nervous wreck. Rarely having been behind the wheel of a car over the past decade (a common New York City problem!), Parul not only had to keep her eyes on the road, but she also had to keep perfect pace with the camera crew driving next to her.
4) An open house hit, but no sale just yet. Parul wasn’t sure how the apartment would fare, but after throwing a very successful Steampunk-style open house, her hesitations were eased. Parul said that she was overwhelmed with the positive feedback she received from her fellow brokers, who thought the property would undoubtedly sell. Even though the episode ended without any formal offers, Parul knows the perfect buyer is out there. In her opinion, the ideal buyer is a designer, an actor, a dot-commer, or anyone that recognizes all that this one-of-a-kind home has to offer.
5) Press worthy, indeed! Since coming to market, the Steampunk apartment has become a press darling. It’s old-fashioned gears and pulleys and color-changing zeppeling have drawn the attention of outlets like MSNBC, CBS, New York Daily News, New York Post and the New York Times. Most recently, the Wall Street Journal selected this work of art as one of the paper’s most popular featured properties. You can browse more of the apartment’s press right here.