Los Angeles real estate sales have long been a staple for reality television. Shows like Bravo's Million Dollar Listing: LA and CNBC's Listing Impossible have featured some of the city's most widely recognized real estate agents and brokers. These shows are often very popular, running multiple seasons and attracting a large fan base even though, as with the trendy house-flipping shows, the shows may not accurately depict real-life experiences.
The Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) series Selling Sunset takes this formula and adds even more drama with a focus on the relationships of the stars, including Christine Quinn, Heather Young, and Chrishell Stause. The series takes place inside The Oppenheim Group, an independent brokerage run by twin brothers Brett and Jason Oppenheim, but the stars of the show are the female real estate agents in the brokerage. The show takes its name from Sunset Boulevard, the West Hollywood thoroughfare where the brokerage's main office is located.
Connections matter but so do real estate statistics
Several of the agents in the brokerage have connections to other famous people. Chrishell Stause is married to Justin Hartley, who stars on This Is Us. Chrishell's divorce has been a major plotline in the series, even upstaging Christine's wedding. Heather Young is currently engaged to another reality television star and real estate agent, Tarek El-Moussa, who stars in HGTV's Flip or Flop.
A controversy has cropped up in recent weeks over how much real estate the women of Selling Sunset actually sell. On August 18, Chrissy Teigen tweeted that she has looked at a lot of real estate in Los Angeles and has never seen the agents of Selling Sunset before. The agents were quick to respond but didn't provide a lot of substantive information about their sales history. The publicity may have boosted the Selling Sunset agents' name recognition, but Teigen and her husband, John Legend, recently listed their Beverly Hills estate for $23.95 million with another firm.
When researching an agent, it's important to do your homework. This includes looking into their past sales history. The agents featured on the show are licensed, but many of them only have a few reviews on popular websites like Zillow (NASDAQ: ZG) (NASDAQ: Z) and Realtor.com. You can easily find whether an agent is mostly working with sellers or buyers by seeing which side of the transaction they're listed on.
The individual listings of past sales appear to be relatively small for the individual agents, but the brokerage as a whole is highly successful. According to the 2020 RealTrends rankings, Jason Oppenheim of The Oppenheim Group ranked eight on the list of agent-owned brokerages by individual sales volume, bringing in an impressive $258,572,374. His twin brother Brett Oppenheim recently left the firm to start a new brokerage.
Can a celebrity agent help you sell your property?
There are a few advantages to using a celebrity agent to help sell your home. The most obvious would be the publicity from having your home featured on their television show. In Selling Sunset, the real estate agents are shown touring homes, hosting open houses, and negotiating deals. The lavish multimillion estates with city or ocean views are part of the vicarious pleasure of tuning into these shows, and for the owners of these homes, this can spell a lot of free publicity. Even if the show isn't currently filming, the advantage remains. Selling Sunset star Chrishell Stause has 1.4 million Instagram followers and recently featured one of her listings on her page, where it received over 1,000 likes.
While reality TV real estate shows are fun to watch, they don't always reflect the actual experience of preparing a home for sale, even in a market like Los Angeles. It's always important to carefully vet your agent and ideally interview Realtors from different brokerages before choosing one who's right for you.