HGTV’s “Selling New York” follows CORE agents as they navigate the country’s most competitive – and compelling – real estate market. Here’s our exclusive, behind-the-scenes look of this week’s episode, “On to Bigger and Better Things,” which first aired July 18th. For more SNY recaps, click here.
In this week’s episode of Selling New York, veteran broker John Harrison is faced with the challenge of shifting his personal relationship with actress Mel Gorham to a professional one when she’s looking to upgrade from her loft apartment. There’s just one catch: John has to accommodate both Mel and her Great Dane, Isabella.
“Walking down the streets of Manhattan with a giant dog was a blast. We all made a lot of horse jokes,” quips John.
Located in Murray Hill at 372 Fifth Ave, Mel’s studio apartment perfectly captures her vintage style, which she makes clear to John as an important nuance in the search for her next home. Beautiful and spacious at 550-square-feet, John has no problem listing Mel’s studio at $2,500 a month. It’s when John starts to arrange for both Mel and her service dog to go on showings, that he realizes a lot of sellers aren’t comfortable with a Great Dane in their home.
Enlisting the help of fellow CORE agents and Selling New York regulars Emily Beare, Elizabeth Beare and Christian Rogers, John is able to find a few apartments suitable for Mel and Isabella. The first apartment is in the right price range and neighborhood, but doesn’t quite embody Mel’s style. “She doesn’t want to see someone else’s finishes,” says John. “She wants the ability to make her own.”
Up for the challenge of renovating, John shows Mel a great apartment with an abundance of light and a gorgeous outdoor patio. It’s when Mel falls in love with this $2.895 million apartment that she throws a major curve ball John’s way: she’s not going to be moving after all. After being given a once-in-a-lifetime career opportunity, Mel tells John she’s off to South Florida. Always gracious, John is grateful to have helped Mel rent her apartment, nonetheless.
Read below to find out what happened when the cameras stopped rolling, what advice John has for circumstantial buyers and what didn’t make it into today’s episode of Selling New York!
1) Keep an open mind: Although Mel had a specific vision of her new home in mind, which included outdoor and unfinished space, she was open to educating herself about the market. According to John, “When shopping for a new home, it never hurts to see things just slightly outside of your target style, location, or price point, so that you better understand why you want what you want.” For Mel, the apartment hunting process was educational and when she’s ready to buy next time, she will know exactly what she wants.
2) Overcoming challenges: For homeowners with big pets like Isabella, it can be more difficult to find a home in NYC because space is limited. “If your pet is a part of your family, the question isn’t whether you will take the pet with you when you move apartments,” says John. “It is whether or not you will move into a new apartment at all.”
Specifically for buyers bound by service animals, Mel’s experience is a testament to the fact that you must keep in mind that it may take a little longer to find a new home – but don’t give up. There are always other options if the first go-around doesn’t quite work out.
3) Loopholes: It isn’t tough to find a place you can take your dog when moving, seeing as just about every building is required to accept a service animal. As briefly shown on the episode, the problem is when you are going into people’s private homes for showings, which can make it uncomfortable for the listing broker if they aren’t working with dog lovers. “At the end of the day, nothing is impossible. It isn’t necessarily convenient for everyone, but it isn’t impossible,” reassures John.
4) Happy endings: In the end, Mel’s apartment was rented quickly and she was well on her way to pursuing her next opportunity. Although John didn’t sell Mel an apartment, he remains excited for all of her future endeavors. “Decisions change all the time and if the best possible thing for Mel is to rent her apartment out, I then consider it a success helping her reach that conclusion.” Mel and John continue to stay in touch, and he hopes to see her again in the next few months.
5) What you didn’t see: It wasn’t until the conclusion of both the episode and Mel’s search that John and Mel decided to rent out the apartment. The biggest challenges for Mel were to remove all of her personal belongings and artwork. Also, John showed Mel over a dozen apartments, although only two were shown on the episode!