Stars Of "Million Dollar Listing" Give Us The Dirt On Rich Tech Buyers In San Francisco

BuzzFeed - Latest 2015-07-08


The secret status symbols of the sheepish billionaire.


If New York City was the fifth character on Sex and the City — shaping storylines as much as location choices — then "tech" is more like the word of the day on Million Dollar Listing San Francisco, the fourth installment of Bravo's popular real estate reality show, which premieres Wednesday night: Buyers "work in tech" or represent "tech clients"; sellers, in turn, want "tech buyers." A ponytailed CEO wears his startup T-shirt on a tour of a $3.5 million home. The money is everywhere.

But that doesn't mean we get to see Mark Zuckerberg shop for his next pied-à-terre or Jack Dorsey unload his $10 million, two-bedroom oceanside abode. The three "hot shot" real estate agents who anchor the show — Justin Fichelson, a San Francisco native, Roh Habibi, who described himself as "future cast member of Million Dollar Listing San Francisco" on all his social media bios well before the show was developed, and Andrew Greenwell, the acerbic foil to his relentlessly optimistic counterparts — may not be top agents in town, but that's how things go in TV land. The matchmakers aren't always fixing up millionaires. The Bachelor stays single.

Instead, the show offers a peek into private off-market deals, the demands of newly minted millionaires, and a real estate market turned absolutely upside down by an influx of new money. Indeed, in the way of all good television, reality or otherwise, Million Dollar Listing is made engrossing by virtue of the same factors that make life excruciating: income inequality, the anxiety of being a perpetual renter, fear of being edged out by a more tech-savvy generation. Jenn Levy, a senior vice president of production at Bravo, told Buzzfeed News that the network was attracted to San Francisco because housing prices rose 34% last year. "That's just a huge number. When something like that is happening, we know it's a place we need to be."

Levy certainly knows how to play to the viewer's id. She's responsible for the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills spin-off Vanderpump Rules, a fun-size box of Sour Straws. ("That was like the easiest development ever, because their names were Jax, Stassi, and Scheana. We're like, yeah, make them a TV show.") Million Dollar Listing San Francisco writes itself, too: Recent reports from Redfin, the real estate database, shows that one in four Silicon Valley home buyers is looking to purchase property outside of Silicon Valley and that there's a .5% increase in home prices for every 1% increase in technology workers in a city. Join us as we gossip about tech money — and pull out some of the show's lessons — with Bravo's newest brokers.

Million Dollar Listing San Francisco's Andrew Greenwell (left) and Roh Habibi.

Bravo / Kim White

Fichelson, who says his personal social circle includes venture capitalists and billionaires, is supposed to be the show's tech-money touchstone, but agents who don't have those contacts "are sort of desperate for them," Levy explained. "There's an episode where Andrew [Greenwell] is hoping that Justin will deliver some of these young tech buyers to his open house." That tension is "a big part of their dynamic, because [Greenwell] wants to also gets his hands on that pool of people who are so important to the market right now."

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Nitasha Tiku

Date tagged:

07/08/2015, 22:32

Date published:

07/08/2015, 22:31