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CSI Miami

Have you noticed that reality TV seems to be littered with people with one-name nicknames (like Snooki, Situation, Octomom, “Jon” or “Kate”) and notorious villains have three names (just watch your evening news for the latest entrants into that club).

So, you can imagine our surprise when we encountered a reality TV show that showcased people with – wait for iiiiiiiiiiiitttTWO NAMES!  Yes, two names:

Now, granted the show “Million Dollar Listing” has been on BravoTV since 2006.  However, the 2nd – 4th series that started back up in 2008 caught our attention in re-runs. (Perhaps like wine or the original “Star Trek”, some things are better appreciated with age.)

The first season, which doesn’t seem to rerun much, focused on just one firm…but seasons 2-4 focused on what is happening in million dollar listings across the LA Basin.  At the time, we didn’t tune in much because it just was an extension of our day.  And hearing and watching others being beaten by Buyers and Sellers was little comfort to us who were working actively – just to survive.

However, with the passage of time, we have come to appreciate this show.  When we watched it previously, it felt like being part of one of Stanley Milgram’s “Obedience to Authority” experiments.  Now, it seems more like a “see, I told you so” postcard from the past.


What was going on with those listings is the same thing going on all the way down to $50,000 listings: the real estate market since 2008 has been getting uglier and uglier. Though moderating, it is still a market where pricing with integrity is more critical than ever.

We noted how many Sellers are understandably upset with price reductions and/or when confronted objectively with realistic pricing.  They are understandably upset because what was previously a culture of price reductions on paper profits (that can be made up on the next home) is NOW a price reduction of REAL money out-of-pocket or even a tipping point into a short sale or a foreclosure.

When these confrontations occurred, the Seller inevitably (and likely prompted off-camera for enhanced drama) blows up and says, “You REALTORS® are only interested in getting paid, not working for me.”  Indeed, one aspiring musician bellowed: “I want you to work and KILL for me!”

Though the drama of the moment was noted, the Seller didn’t apparently take into account that murdering the potentials Buyer would likely discourage showings dramatically and/or create a messy closing…likely delayed until forensics was done with the scene.  (However, we would have volunteered to dramatically turn and stare into the distance at the closing, remove our Ray-Bans and declare in Horatio Caine style, “This closing was murder!” Followed, of course, by the opening “Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaahhhhhh!” of The Who’s “Won’t Get Fooled Again” as the incidental music rose to crescendo.)

We were impressed with the way the brokers were shooting straight with folks and the Sellers (again, likely prompted by the director) were accusing the brokers of screwing them over.

Looking back, those who listened to those four brokers likely took a $500,000 loss (or less) rather than a $1-$2 million loss that ensued as that market plummeted further.  And, guess what?  The market didn’t care about the $1 million in upgrades…not in a single instance?!?!

And we bet if those Sellers watched the show now, they would be the last ones who would call Chad, Josh Flagg, Josh Altman, or Madison and say, “You really saved me a ton financially. You were right!”  We wonder how many would go on camera now and apologize for the slur of accusing those Realtors® of being less than professional in their assessment of their home? Likely none.

Now, we realize that we are in this business to do the right thing, as are 99.9% of our peers. And it is a business – the goal is to get to a successful closing, and NOT a FOREclosing.  It’s just unfortunate that the market sees us a scavengers and not professionals – likely due to that 0.01% who does disproportionate damage to our collective reputation.

However, we hope all REALTORS® as well as all non-REALTOR® brokers would encourage their Sellers (and Buyers) to view this postcard from the past.  Then, project that postcard onto the present.  They would see that they aren’t paying ONLY for what we do, but WHAT WE KNOW, just like Chad, Josh, Josh and Madison.  Perhaps, they will realize that we have their goals in mind and not just our own – to sell their home at the best possible price for the market condition.