"Selling New York" on HGTV: Reviewing Episode Two

Last Updated Mar 26, 2010 10:56 AM EDT

HGTV's "Selling New York" Episode 2: Time Is Money

Episode Description: The inside story of NYC real estate agents as they sell million-dollar apartments on a deadline.

You may think from the above episode description that it's about properties that sold -- which is a little bit of a misdirect, because this episode (Spoiler Alert!) is about a buyer client who doesn't buy and a seller client who doesn't sell.

For the episode of the HGTV series "Selling New York" that ran Thursday, March 25th, the challenge was for Team Uptown, represented by Michelle Geddes Peck of Gumley Haft Kleier, to get a shopper in town for only a day and a half to buy. The challenge for Team Downtown (represented by Maggie Kent of Core Group) was to get a seller whose loft is priced at $6 million to take less,.

First, let me say that I'm relieved: in the world of NYC real estate, where I know a lot of agents because I am one, here are two agents I don't know.

And there certainly are a lot of yummy real estate interiors, which is what I know you watch the show for. Peck's buyer client looks at three historic prewars, including 40 West 67th Street, with magnificent period windows with little glazing bars; 1255 Fifth Avenue, with a loft once owned by celebrity photog Annie Leibovitz, and the turreted former New York Cancer Hospital at 455 Central Park West.

However, let me reiterate that Peck's client is only in town for a day and a half. I can tell you from long, sad experience that those words are code for "not going to buy." Apartments are not suits, and you can't just walk into the store and walk out with one. (Actually, you probably could, but the rich people who are capable of doing that never want to spend their only day in New York looking at co-ops. And when rich people shop, they don't go for neighborhoods as varied as Central Park West and East Harlem.)

Peck's client does lob in a bid on one of the properties (no, I'm not going to tell you which one), but it's a lowball, and it doesn't make it.

The best tips come from the sales story, where Core's Maggie Kent shows a seller "comps" -- similar properties on market -- to get him to chop his price. The unit is still on the market, the show says, so maybe she could have even shown him a couple more, but the idea that you as a seller need to go visit the competition to see what's on the market at a certain price is quite sound. I urge all you homesellers to try it.

And oh, show drinking game: take a swig every time an agent says "comparables" as though it has an extra "e" in it.

That's my two cents, what do other viewers think? Feel free to post comments below.

Coming Next Week: Episode 3 -- airs 9 p.m. ET Thursday, April 1
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  • Alison Rogers

    Since graduating from Harvard summa cum laude, Alison Rogers has been a reporter, an editor, a real-estate agent, a Wall Street desk jockey, a columnist, a failed flipper, and a landlady. A member of the National Association of Realtors, she currently sells and rents luxury co-ops in Manhattan for the Chelsea-based firm DG Neary. (If you've got $27,500 a month, the firm has an apartment for you!) Her book, Diary of a Real Estate Rookie, was called "a valuable guide for rookie buyers" by AOL/Walletpop, "beach-read fun" by the New York Observer, and "witty" by Newsweek.