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Aside from teaching its audience about the wily world of NYC real estate (via brokers Fredrik Eklund, Michael Lorber and Ryan Serhant), Bravo's "Million Dollar Listing New York" (next episode: tomorrow night) also imparts peripheral knowledge on a variety of subjects: fashion, science, entertainment and geography to name a few....
Mainly, I just watch the show for the ties (see #12 below). Here's what else I've noticed:
- So far I've learned a lot about geography. Not just about NYC's complicated areas (like where exactly the divide between Chinatown and Tribeca is), but also where Namibia is and what some of its unusual exports are (namely marble).
In one scene, just before showing off an apartment and bragging of its Namibian marble, Michael admits to his driver that he just learned where Namibia is. The driver--whose wife works at the U.N.--says he's known all along.
- Never allow your seller to be present when a buyer is viewing a home. No good can ever come of it. Related: People are annoying and tend to talk too much.
Take for example the time Fredrik showed an apartment in Battery Park City's Visionaire building. When the potential buyer comments that it would be a big move from the West Village, Jon, the seller, pipes up: "The West Village, why the F*&^ would you want to live there?" Nice.
- Sellers can get a higher price for nifty gadgets like talking toilets or clothing panic rooms accessed only by fingerprint scan. Also increasing value: Key to Gramercy Park, original crown moldings, German sound-resistant windows, original herringbone floors, and exotic materials such as the aforementioned Namibian marble.
- Sure to decrease the price: An outdated kitchen.
- It is rumored Bravo will be giving Fredrik's shoulder tattoo its own spinoff show. I'd like to think it'll be called: "Double Helix."
- Watching "Million Dollar Listing" makes a great drinking game. Take a shot every time one of the brokers is shirtless or in a state of semi-undress. Extra points for bare feet or armpits.
- Brokers are often willing to kick in a portion of their commission to get a deal done (and done quicker).
- It is gauche and de classe to take out one's credit card before even asking for the check (thanks awkward Michael Lorber date!).
- A good broker submits your offer immediately, before going away on one of his many weekend getaways (again, we're looking at you Michael Lorber!).
- A good broker is not afraid to break up with a client if they have unrealistic expectations about sale price.
- Counter. You always gotta counter. That's a lesson for both buyers and sellers.
- We saw that real estate is about numbers, but surprisingly not just about money or properties. I counted 39 ties, ranging in width and style, worn by the three stars in just the first episode alone. With only three properties highlighted, that is an average of 13 ties per property. I await the possibility of an ascot later in the season. (For those drinking at home, any ascot sighting warrants a double shot.)
- Fashion--and not just neckwear--plays a big role in NYC real estate, whether it's Michael's $500 swim trunks or one's assistant donning school-marm glasses to go with her severe leather shoulder-padded jacket. Double shot if she brandishes a whip on a future episode. It looks as if it might be headed that way and Ryan could use a beating at times.
- Music is situational: It is perfectly acceptable for Ryan to strum a guitar in the office and sing badly, but it is not so to blast music at a broker's open house-cum-frat party (or at least according to Fredrik).
- There are a bunch of animals in this city, literally. Ryan's snake eats a live mouse, while downtown a wallaby can't catch a break. We learned pet spas (and even pet-friendly buildings) discriminate against kangaroos. What we didn't learn--and I was dying to--was how one handles a pet kangaroo's bathroom needs. Does Ryan's client, Alex, walk Indy and, if so, is he on a leash or does he allow the 'roo to hop along side him? Or are kangaroos trainable to use a massive litter box?