Set in an immaculate triplex loft in Brooklyn near the East River, the party had it all – the cream of New York’s high society, young, beautiful models dressed in Calvin Klein and Nina Ricci, trays of canapés offered by the circulating waiters, a jazz band keeping a steady beat and grand views of the city.
But there was one thing that set this party apart from the usual gathering of New York’s elite – its hostesses.
Hosting the party were a trio of real estate agents, frantically running around, chased by TV cameras as the desperately went about trying to garner interest among the party goers in actually buying the apartment where they were living it up.
“It’s impossible to get people to come and look at the apartment,” says our hostess Michele Kleier, who is trying to sell the Clocktower Building apartment on Main Street.
“So our idea is that by offering a great night out, with transportation included, maybe we might just find someone with $23.5 million to spend on a wonderful apartment, which features a catering-inspired kitchen, glass elevator and a Crow’s nest deck offering fabulous views of the city.”
The idea of televising the party, which will be screened on the “Selling New York” show on HGTV, is an intriguing new spin on one of the latest new luxury marketing tools – where real estate meets reality TV.
Selling New York is a weekly show that follows three groups of real estate agents on a revolving basis, and is seeding much success for all those involved.
The brokers are not actually paid very much at all for their appearances on the show, reveals producer Courtney Campbell of JV Productions, but they are still doing incredibly well out of it.
Ms. Kleier, who runs the Gumley Haft Kleier realty firm along with her daughters Samantha Kleier-Forbes and Sabrina Kleier-Morgenstern, have already picked up dozens of new clients due to their new found TV fame.
And that’s not the only benefit, according to Warburg Realty Partnership president Frederick Peters, whose firm also appears on the show.
“While we haven’t exactly had more listings, people certainly have learned about us and they can see what a great job we do, and that all means more business in the long run,” he explained.
Not everyone agrees though, least of all Hall F. Wilkie of the Brown Harris Stevens realty firm, who thinks that the so-called potential buyers are actually just interested in getting themselves seen on TV.
“The show is just about people trying to grab their 15 minutes of stardom – that’s it,” he said. “In reality, high-end buyers want privacy and not publicity.”
What’s more, he says, while the show may have a huge audience, not one of them would ever be a buyer.
“Nobody uses reality TV to look for a property to buy – no one at all,” he insisted.
But whether Wilkie’s conclusions turn out to be right or wrong, it looks as though, for the time being at least, realty TV is here to stay.