Brokers take advantage of real estate television fame



Tracy Tutor

Tracy Tutor

Open-air buses roll east on the Sunset Strip, taking tourists past the iconic Whiskey a Go Go and Viper Room rock clubs and then … the beige offices of the Oppenheim Group.

“The touring vans are now stopping at this,” said Mary Fitzgerald, a real estate agent for Oppenheim Group Inc. with a laugh. and an aspiring reality TV star.

The Oppenheim Group is an elite real estate brokerage at the heart of the Netflix Inc. Selling Sunset and her small office on Sunset Boulevard is a tourist attraction these days. There are tourist vans and show goers who pass by to take selfies.

Designed and executive produced by Adam DiVello, creator of The Hills, Dokusoap follows the female agents of the Oppenheim Group, cataloging the drama of their personal lives (whether real or staged) and their property listings (namely, glossy hillside mansions).

Netflix did not reveal the number of viewers, but the show is so juicy that even banal scenes with realtors working at their desks spark viral tweets.

Selling Sunset debuted in March 2019 and aired for two seasons, then went viral when its third season aired in August.

“In the third season, everything changed, I think, in part because of the pandemic,” Fitzgerald said. “Even if it wasn’t their jam, people still watched it and they fell in love with it and it just exploded.”

As was her career. Fitzgerald said her sales have grown 100% each year since the show began airing and is now attracting clients from London, Dubai, Greece and Singapore.

Just as Selling Sunset and the long-running Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles Bravo expose the vanity, immaturity, and pettiness of multi-million dollar professionals, they also demonstrate the tenacity of agents in making deals and in their work. ethical and discerning market knowledge.

According to agents, the intrinsic marketing value associated with this is unmatched.
“The exposure is amazing. How can this not change the rules of the game? “Said real estate agent and longtime ‘Million Dollar Listing’ actor Josh Flagg.

“Phenomenal sales tool”

While Selling Sunset delves deeply into the uneasy friendships and romantic lives of its agents, the Million Dollar Listing drama focuses almost entirely on the sometimes friendly but mostly vicious rivalry between agents.

Bravo has always maintained that the Million Dollar Listing is primarily a real estate show, ”said Douglas Elliman, Beverly Hills real estate agent Tracy Tyutor, who became the only female agent and regular on the show when she joined. by season 10 of 2017.

“We’re not here to watch families break up and take girls on trips,” she said.
“There is a certain amount of credibility in our show because it is one of the longest running shows on Bravo,” she added. “It really means more business for us because the audience has watched us grow over the past few years as agents and people. You will find out … our weaknesses, our strengths. “

By the time Tutor joined the show, she said the audience had completely embraced television without a script. She saw that it was paying for the Million Dollar Listing male agents, and she thought, “Why don’t I take this chance?”

The tutor grew up in Los Angeles, attended the University of Southern California and said most of her business until the Million Dollar Listing was created by her network of friends and family and referrals.

Now, she says, she gets random phone calls and direct Instagram messages from potential customers looking for her because of the show. According to her, about 50% are clients with whom she will be able to work.

“You don’t have to pay for the mailing list when you’re all on TV,” she said.

Flagg, who has appeared as an actor on every Million Dollar Listing season since season 2, called the show “a phenomenal sales tool.”

“Agents will spend $ 1,000 advertising their properties in the LA Times,” he said.

“I am essentially advertising my property. I have to work very hard for this, but it does not cost me money. “

The tutor did not give numbers, but said that agents are paid for their performances.

“This is not my main source of income,” she said. The real value is the opportunity to turn your celebrity into new business opportunities, such as the book deal she says she did because of a “million dollar listing.”

Fear is just a four-letter word: How to Develop Overwhelming Confidence to Own Any Room was published by Portfolio, a division of Penguin Random House, in July.

“I wrote this thinking, ‘Who the hell is going to read this? “… But because of the show, he had an audience,” said the mentor.

Risk and reward

The Million Dollar Listing agents said their names are so synonymous with the show, which has aired since 2006, that it is impossible to gauge how much of their business is involved.

But the president of the Oppenheim Group, Jason Oppenheim, can name a number.
“The good 20%,” he said, “comes from the sale of Sunset.”

His brokerage company, which employs 14 agents, generated $ 254 million in sales in 2020, placing him 43rd on the Business Journal’s 2021 Best Brokerage Companies in Los Angeles County.

“My brother (Brett) and I have been approached by various agents and producers for a while and wanted to talk to us about creating a show about the team and the office,” he said. “Being on Sunset Boulevard probably added a certain element. Or they saw pictures of the team. “

“(But) we weren’t interested for a long time. … We thought it was more of a risk than a reward, and everything was going well (for us), ”Oppenheim said.

Then, at the end of 2016, they heard from DiVello and he changed his mind.

“We knew his history with The Hills and Laguna Beach. His idea for the show was something that I think we all loved, ”Fitzgerald said. “He wanted to focus more on the beauty of Los Angeles, homes, and the empowerment of women.”

“I was on board. Of course, like everyone else, I had small fears and doubts. I wanted this to speed up my career. If I can attract more customers and succeed even faster, then why not? But the downside was that … we really didn’t know (what the show was about). “

DiVello convinced them to make a sizzling video, which Fitzgerald said had been disabled by multiple networks.

“We all wanted Netflix, but we didn’t hear anything,” she said. “After a few months, I think we’ve all lost hope.”

Then Netflix gave them the green light, changing their lives and careers.

“When the first season happened, we were all scared. We are not actors. We didn’t know how they were going to portray us, ”Fitzgerald said.

It was difficult to relinquish creative control, Oppenheim said, and the show ended up having more of an impact on women’s personal lives than he and the other agents expected. But he suspects this is what helped make him a hit.

“There’s a lot of attention in the public eye,” Oppenheim said. “For some women, it’s difficult. There will always be trolls and idiots. But overall it was a positive experience. “

Oppenheim said his inbox is overflowing with resumes from agents looking to join the team, and while he just opened an office in Corona del Mar, he’s not looking to expand the Los Angeles office.

“I love the team dynamics,” he said. “My goal is not to be a manager. It’s more to be an agent. “

For Fitzgerald, Sunset Selling did much of what she hoped for.

“Many people know who I am. I don’t need to sell myself. I don’t need to have that many referrals, ”she said.

“I never wanted to be famous,” Fitzgerald added. “The reason I’m fine with this is because we’re just doing the same thing as before. I can spend time with my best friends in the world and do what I love. “

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