Bidding War, Bravo’s latest attempt to milk the oh-so-scandalous L.A. real-estate biz, premiered last night, but instead of the network’s usual format of bitchy brokers schoolgirl-fighting at open houses, it’s now bitchy buyers going head-to-head.
Here’s how Bravo’s blog describes the show: “Our new pilot Bidding War takes you inside the competitive world of L.A. real estate” — which is completely unhelpful, since that also describes every other real-estate reality show on the roster. However, Bravo did something slightly unexpected, turning our attention to the buyers instead of the sellers. The brokers artificially set the listing price to be lower than market price in order to incite — wait for it — a bidding war.
Now to make its viewers feel at home, there are some familiar Bravo-reality tropes: There’s the beautiful, clearly fashion-obsessed host, realtor Kennon Earl (who sports some serious Dexter’s Laboratory glasses); a beautiful modern manse for sale in Tarzana, Calif.; and beautiful people (the buyers).
Earl explains that this property must sell, so they hold an open house yada yada advertise yada yada escrow. We meet the three potential buyers, who learn that because there are so many people interested in the house, they have to really impress the sellers. Sellers and buyers in the same room?! Real estate mortal sin = Bravo TV gold.
Now while the show didn’t delve into the house’s amenities nor the buyers’ backgrounds, (For instance: How did they get so damned rich?), what really struck me was just how far the interested buyers would go to score their dream house. The buyers sweeten the deal by offering some of their things, such as family heirlooms — and even their own children. Here’s a rundown of the buyers and their respective offerings:
Indistinct L.A. couple #1
Older couple looking for a turn-key property
Basic offering: Offers well above asking price
Bonus: One month’s stay at their Hamptons home
Indistinct L.A. couple #2
Thirty-something newlyweds looking to build a love-nest
Basic offering: Close to asking price, but can only buy if they sell their existing home
Bonus: A painting by a family member
Bonus #2: A Porsche
Worth: a boatload
Indistinct LA couple #3
Hip young’ns with two little kids looking for more space
Basic offering: Below asking price
Bonus: Crayon drawings of the sellers by their pre-school kids Worth: Space on the fridge
Bonus #2: A home video showing adorable times with said pre-school kids Worth: Priceless
Can you guess which couple the sellers chose? Was it the highest offer, the offer with the Porsche, or the family that played the cute-kid card?
The sellers — while impressed that couple #2 offered a Porsche (which elicited some jealous-shock reactions from the other buyers), and tantalized by a month in the Hamptons — couldn’t resist the thought of sweet, hip, young parents populating their old home. Heartstrings and adorable kids win every time.
Couple #3’s home video, stitched with photos of their kids as babies and family vacations ended with an emphatic “Please don’t let our children go homeless!”
Upon seeing that the sellers chose the young family, Couple #1 spewed a totally earnest and well-meaning “They need this.”
My feelings watching these well-to-do people sell themselves for a house ranged from suspect to squeamish to schadenfreude. After all, they are already paying millions for a home and simply digging into more of their assets to secure a property. But it was entertaining to see what non-traditional offerings the buyers came up with.
If my Bravo reality-show logic serves me correctly: Since this episode has buyers offering up their children, family heirlooms, and fancy cars, then what could possibly be the next episode’s sacrificial lamb? Their souls? I expect the season finale will be epic.
What did you guys think? Will you continue to watch rich people ingratiate themselves for a house? I know I will.