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“Reality TV” and real estate

Chris Iverson, Realtor

July 31st, 2007 · 3 Comments

I’m not a big TV watcher, but this review of the new program “Flipping Out” on the Bravo network put it on my “must TiVo” list.

“Jeff Lewis is a very scary man, and he isn’t scary solely because he treats his employees like dust mites or consults a psychic to assist him in the running of his business or sends his cat, Monkey, to an acupuncturist. No, Jeff Lewis, a Los Angeles real estate speculator, evokes a chill because he is so leveraged, a man balancing multiple mortgages like bricks on a noodle.

The subject of “Flipping Out,” a reality series that begins tonight on Bravo, Mr. Lewis buys million-dollar properties, works them over and tries to sell them for a few more million. “Staging” — dressing up a home to look meticulously lived in — is a passion of his, and one that appears to deflect his attention from the shifting realities of his business. ”

While the dust mites, psychic and cat acupuncturist are run of the mill aspects of LA life, it’s the reference to “balancing multiple mortgages like bricks on a noodle” that piqued my interest, as well as the mention that LA home foreclosure rates are approaching a peak of 11 years ago.

The review goes on to discuss Mr. Lewis’ discerning taste in rehabbing and staging Mediterranean / Tuscan-esque spec homes like we are seeing popping up all over Palo Alto’s Midtown area, Los Altos, Menlo Park, and now Mountain View. Compared to the prevailing California Ranch homes and Eichlers in this area, these McMansion spec homes are like mushrooms sprouting on a lawn. As a frequent visitor to Tuscany, I have yet to see a house there that looks like one of these spec houses. They generally tend to be a bit smaller, MUCH older, and sitting on more than a 5000 square foot lot.

I’m curious if in 20 years, we will look at these homes and say “That is so 2005″ like we peg Eichlers as “50’s”, goldenrod or avocado appliances as “70’s” and vaulted and popcorn ceilings at “80’s”.

Check out Mr. Lewis tonight at 10 on Bravo.

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Tags: Real estate

3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 cindy@staged4more // Jul 31, 2007 at 3:53 pm

    The show does look hilarious. I am actually looking forward to be entertained and maybe pick up a trick or two. Or well, mostly being entertained. haha. But he does do great work, I love his interior. It looks very sharp and very buyer friendly. Although I don’t know about the exact 6 inches from the left and from the right. I think too much obsession drives yourself & your staff crazy, especially on jobs. When I stage and we spend too much time just working on this one vignette staging, I usually just tell my assistants to move on!

    He does play with his money very dangerously, (he kept telling his business partner to sell his house because they have no money left) which makes me curious about his business structures.



  • 2 Sandy // Aug 2, 2007 at 11:09 am

    Yes, all trends come and go so someday we will look at granite countertops and think of them almost as fondly as countertops with 50’s Sputnik-themed Formica (disclosure: I LOVE 50s Sputnik-themed Formica).

  • 3 Aaron // Aug 5, 2007 at 9:50 pm

    OK, Tori on “Flipping Out” is FABULOUS. It’s about time that I wrote something here instead of just reading, so here goes: does anyone know where to find her? I think she must be in LA? I can’t wait to hear what she says next.

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