It’s not surprising that Bravo Media was drawn to New York when it set out to launch its Million Dollar Listing franchise of shows.
It’s a city where a starter home will likely cost you seven figures and the brokers who show them present themselves accordingly.
The glamour of luxury living mixed with the high fashion and charisma of the city’s top residential professionals can easily capture the world’s attention. But what do the players themselves actually feel about the concept of putting their lives on display to the world?
Do they envy Luis, Ryan, Fredrik and the trio’s millions of viewers? Or would they rather boost their sales numbers while quietly blending in with their eight million neighbors?
This week, Brokers Weekly went in search of who could be the next real estate reality star. Here’s who we found …
“I believe it would help my career,” Krista Nickols of Douglas Elliman said. “Manhattan has over 27,000 licensed real estate salespeople, while only 2,661 real estate sales closed in the first quarter of this year. Anything you can do to stand out helps.
“Lots of times, first-time home buyers just work with whomever they meet at an open house,” she continued. “Appearing on a real estate show is a way to differentiate yourself and meet (hopefully) qualified buyers before they start viewing properties.”
“I think putting your life or filming a day-to-day of your life for reality TV is something that customers like to see,” Javier Lattanzio, director of sales at Time Equities told Brokers Weekly. “It also shows your character.”
Lattanzio said that he is a fan of Million Dollar Listing and would be interested in appearing on the show if asked.
Currently handling sales at 50 West, Time Equities’ luxury condo development in the reborn Financial District, Lattanzio feels that his current daily routine would be perfect for a feature on a real estate reality show and that 50 West would be “a highlight” on such a platform.
While Nickols and Lattanzio would be eager to experiment with the bright lights of reality exposure, Caroline Grane of Nest Seekers International has already thrived in its glow.
“I’ve been featured on Million Dollar Listing and I actually had my own TV show with Blend,” Grane said. “And now I’m on the Swedish Hollywood Wives.”
That show — which is viewable on a station similar to Bravo overseas — is currently in its eighth season. Like the Real Housewives brand that has risen to prominence in the states, the show features well-off Swedish women who are now living lives of luxury in America.
“The reason I said yes to doing the show is because I (saw that I could) use it for my career,” Grane said. “I use it for branding.”
Grane specializes in new developments and her expertise includes pre-development planning, consulting, creative marketing, developing design, layout of units, and the sales of the property. She sold some of Manhattan’s most high-end new developments projects totalling 1,356 units.
Grane stressed the importance of branding and visibility in the upper echelons of New York’s residential market.
She keeps that in mind when the cameras are rolling and takes care to stay above the typical drama-driven feuds that such shows are known for.
“When they try to fight with me, I say ‘why would I fight with all of you if I could sell a house for $25 million?’” said Grane, who prides herself on being a self-sufficient figure in a genre known to highlight the exact opposite.
“It’s all about branding and marketing yourself,” Grane continued. “If nobody knows who you are, nobody is going to reach out to you,” she said, echoing the sentiments of Nickols.
The leap into the world of television proved to be a windfall for Grane, but time in front of the cameras does not guarantee an immediate boost in sales numbers.
“It didn’t have an impact yet, but I believe that it will,” Lord Emir Bahadir, co-founder of RLTY NYC told Brokers Weekly.
Bahadir was originally slated to be featured on Bravo’s Euros of Hollywood, but after filming, he opted to cancel his agreement and his footage did not air. He is currently planning a return to the set, on a project that he said he is not yet at liberty to reveal.
Bahadir cited the impact that such exposure has on social media, and the close ties between marketing and the strength of one’s digital presence as motivation to give TV another shot.
“Right now, on the show that I’m currently working on, I will be involved with my business because my business is my life at the moment. It’s more about the lifestyle. My lifestyle related to real estate,” he explained.
Bahadir, who grew up in a family that has enjoyed five-generations of success in real estate, understands the importance that one’s lifestyle can have when it comes to surviving in the luxury-niche’ of the industry.
He told Brokers Weekly that how he presents himself online and while interacting with clients needs to fit the level of property that he is looking to broker.
Clearly, many feel that media exposure will only help draw clients and more desirable properties to a residential professional’s portfolio.
That said, not all of real estate’s biggest players feel that the platform of reality television and the media attention that accompanies it is a valuable asset.
“It would be hard to argue with the success and notoriety that now-famous brokers have achieved through reality TV,” Cody Vichinsky, co-founder of Bespoke Real Estate said.
“However, given our business model and specialized expertise at the highest end of the market, $10 million and above, coupled with very discreet clients, it would likely be a distraction for us at this point in the game.
“My brother and I have always believed that public recognition should be earned by the deals that we do, our principles, and exceeding the expectations of our clients,” Vishinski continued.
“As founders of Bespoke Real Estate, a specialized brokerage firm that focuses on the high-end, we are required to wear multiple hats and work long hours, thus we cherish our downtime (which is none) and personal lives.”
While his brother may agree, Bespoke co-founder Zach Vichinsky conceded that if they had to film a show tomorrow, there is a Hamptons property that they’d gladly show off to the world. “719 Daniels Lane in Sagaponack is exemplary oceanfront living,” said Zach.
“If you’re looking for a modern ocean front home with exceptional architectural design that offers ocean views from literally every room, 719 is the clear choice. Currently on the market for $21,950,000, the modern turnkey home, gives a true feeling of relaxation and modern luxury, and the opportunity to own property on one of the rare ocean front streets in this area of the Hamptons.”
Obviously, not all who watch the stars of Million Dollar Listing deal high end homes are actually searching for their very own, high-level New York property.
However, it would be tough to argue against the amount of publicity such a show generates for those that are looking for a professional to guide them through what can be a harrowing market.
Whether or not the microscope of such exposure is right for a real estate star’s professional profile depends on the individual. But for those who opt to take to the screen, ratings appear to turn into profits.