The alluring world of luxury real estate comes with its own set of drama, both corporate and personal, and Netflix is about to capitalize on it. Its new show, Million Dollar Beach House follows five Nest Seekers International brokers out for success in the Hamptons real estate market as they navigate high-stakes business while keeping up with their families and loved ones and dealing with interpersonal conflict with each other.
Million Dollar Beach House premieres exclusively on Netflix August 26. Get ready to meet the brokers!
Previously in the financial industry, JB recently moved back home to the Hamptons and just got his real estate license. New to Nest Seekers, JB has the support of his best friend Michael as he navigates the Hamptons housing scene. Knowing he’s ready to take on his own listings, he reaches out to Jimmy to discuss his future but Jimmy shuts him down saying he still needs time to learn and he questions whether Nest Seekers is the right place for him.
One of the challenges you face during the show is convincing Jimmy to give you a chance on your own listing. Talk about proving yourself and how you went about it.
James and I have been longtime friends. We’re the only two cast members who are true locals to the Hamptons. He’s a few years older. Our families grew up going to the beach together and doing sports together but for a long time I left the Hamptons and we lost touch. But over that time I had gone into real estate in a corporate setting, where I gained a lot of really amazing experience there and high-net worth individuals and had a billion-dollar portfolio. So going back to the Hamptons, where I was a local and had that experience behind me, I came in kind of confident and thought I’ be able to break in and get my listings right off the bat but James and my colleagues and mentors said ‘wait a second, buddy, you still have to earn your stripes,’ and James being my elder and my friend was really helpful with that but at the same time it took me until eight or nine months in to realize that it takes a while to break into the Hamptons market and earn the reputation and right to have your own million dollar listing. I can’t thank him enough for giving me the opportunity to be on the team and learn from him.
What was it like doing major business while filming?
That was the biggest challenge for me. There’s the show’s big business and showing some of our premier, signature properties and a lot of folks don’t understand that the $1, $2, $3 million properties that we represent and work through sort of got “left in the dust,” so to speak. I was shooting for six to eight hours a day and I’d come back to texts and emails and calls from my usual business clients and they’d be like, “where the heck were ya?” And you really couldn’t tell them what you were doing! The $1, $2 million dollar buyers that make the majority of our business had to adjust to our schedules. That was a very big challenge, but we learned how to balance both.
How did your relationships with the other brokers affect your time on the show, both positively and negatively?
I’m always kind of a positive guy and I think it comes off that way in the show. I’m a teamwork first kind of guy, what’s interesting to me is that a lot of brokers I’ve had experience with in the Hamptons try to isolate themselves and figure it all out for themselves. And that, to me, is a different philosophy. I want to collaborate and figure out ways to work together. At first, we all came in with egos of our own….over time, shooting together, we became more familiar with each other’s styles and common goals and towards the end of the summer, especially, we really felt like a team. My philosophy has always been to stick together, work together and break in. You achieve more things doing it that way. I’ve played sports my entire life, so it’s always been team-first.
What was it like dealing with clients who may not have been used to being filmed?
It took me a while to get comfortable with the camera! When my clients, actual, real clients trying to buy and sell these properties saw me uncomfortable it made them a little uneasy. But just like anything else, you rep it, you become more comfortable and it translates over to the client. They become more comfortable when you become more comfortable.
Talk about the show’s balance of business and personal drama.
That was the biggest challenge for me. In work and business, I always want to show my personality but at the same time you’re dealing with high-net, successful, sophisticated individuals, so I’m always a little bit different when client-facing than with my family or friends. So the biggest challenge for me doing this thing was to find that balance where I show enough of my personality where viewers will like me and want to learn more about me and not be a person that comes across as a jerk! It’s finding that balance between getting the viewers to like me but also being a mature 30-year-old who can absolutely conduct business with these very successful people.
What are the challenges associated with selling luxury properties in the Hamptons?
I think it’s just the fact that you have to be on-point all the time. There’s no schedule. It truly is 24/7. You can ask my family and my girlfriend who tells me all the time…for instance, right now I have a 10 o’clock curfew, where she’s like, “you’re off the clock!” From February through October, you’re on call at all times and have to be someone that’s reliable and knows what the heck they’re doing. I used to think anyone could be a real estate agent, I thought it was literally showing a property and selling, but there’s so much that goes into it. It’s really challenging, especially in the Hamptons, where the more established brokers historically do better, for us, when you’re breaking in, if you miss a call they’re going to move on to the next person.
What aspects of this market do you think viewers from elsewhere will find particularly surprising?
The prices! I think about the most luxurious markets in the country–Miami, Beverly Hills, New York City–you have to make a lot of money to have a home in the Hamptons and what’s funny is a lot of my family friends that have grown up around me are having trouble being able to afford the Hamptons at this point. It’s not only a summer market, and it’s starting to affect the locals who want a little more flexibility with their money. A lot of those locals are feeling it. It’s not a place where you can have a regular 9-5 and be able to come home to a nice, big house. You need to earn a lot of money to be here. When you see the homes on this show, people are going to say, “Holy smokes!”
As a broker in such an exclusive market, what do you think makes the Hamptons so special? And what makes you the perfect broker to work here?
I’m a beach kid and we have the nicest beaches in the country. The beaches are clean, there’s a standard. You’re not leaving garbage, or anything like that. The wineries are a big one. And the local farmers markets. You can go and get eggs and farm-to-table stuff. Those are great. And really, what’s nice too is you’re an hour and 45 minutes away from the biggest city in the world. It’s really special. What makes me valuable as a broker is my ability to connect to all different types of people. I come from a blue collar family but I’m able to really connect with a whole variety of folks. I was brought up to treat everyone the way they should be treated.
How do you build trust with buyers and sellers?
It’s about accountability. It’s being on call all the time. For instance, I did a sale in East Hampton and the guy moves into the house, he gets a guy to go over his lawn and landscaping and the guy didn’t show up for a week-and-a-half so I had me and my brother go out there to help him cut his lawn. Just being able to be there, even when the transaction is over, my client knows I can be there for them, it’s reliability and accountability.
Discuss what impact you think being on this show will have on your business and the way potential clients will perceive you.
I think the way the show was shot, the executives who were part of it, all the production members, the cast, all the people having so much credibility is what ultimately made me comfortable being a part of this kind of show. I don’t want to be a celebrity. But the outreach that Netflix has, if it was any other platform I’d have been more hesitant. We’re going to be in 190 different countries, so the pure reach and exposure factor is going to help my business. But at the same time, you have to do it the right way. I think my personality will shine through. This is who I really am. I’m hoping it came out the right way where we’re portrayed the way we actually are.
What are you most looking forward to viewers seeing on Million Dollar Beach House?
It’s a look into the place I call home. I’m lucky to be here and call the Hamptons my home and people are going to be really stoked about seeing what makes the Hamptons the Hamptons.
Check out the trailer here!