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Wednesday, Sep 27, 2023

What is Reality? Real Estate Sales on TV

Valerie Fitzgerald thought reality TV was staged. Until she was put on a show herself.

Fitzgerald, who runs all-women brokerage Valerie Fitzgerald Group, has been selling high-end homes in and around Beverly Hills for more than 20 years. She was approached by HGTV last year to be part of the inaugural cast of “Selling L.A.,” the West Coast companion to “Selling New York,” which follows brokers listing

some of the city’s priciest homes.

Her first episode was with a client who had been particularly moody and difficult with her in the past.

“I thought maybe the camera would soften her up, but it didn’t. She was just as nasty on camera as she was in real life,” Fitzgerald laughed. “Goes to show you, it’s all real; it’s all just organic.”

Organic or not, it seems to have worked. “Selling L.A.” premiered earlier this month, but she is already filming season two.

The Wild One?

Brad Kemp, 42, is well-known in business and political circles, but when he pulls up to an event, people often don’t recognize him. That’s because he drives a 1400cc Kawasaki Concours motorcycle.

“I show up at a presentation, soaking wet in a riding suit and a helmet and they’re like, ‘Who are you?’ ” said Kemp, director of regional research at Beacon Economics in Los Angeles.

Kemp knows his preferred mode of transportation falls outside of people’s perception of economists, but that’s not a bad thing for him – or Beacon.

“People have this very narrow idea of what it’s like to be an economist, but I think we’re nontraditional,” he said.

Motorcycle aside, Kemp is still an economist through and through. Asked how his bike affects his image with clients, he said, “You’d rather have a positive expectation violation than a negative expectation violation.”

In plain English? “If you keep their expectations relatively low, they’re more likely to be impressed.”

Field of Dreams

When the World Series got under way last week, Carl Terzian, 76, noted an oddity in his life: He keeps intersecting with big-name baseball people, even though he’s never been a big fan.

When Terzian was a youth, a neighbor was Fred Haney, a former player and future Angels general manager, who was then manager of the Hollywood Stars minor league club. Later, Terzian built a career as a public relations specialist and got to know the likes of Sparky Anderson, the player who became a famed manager; Lew Wolff, co-owner of the Oakland Athletics; and Tom Werner, chairman of the Boston Red Sox.

Has Terzian been to any baseball games? “Oh, sure,” he said. “I went to games when (then-Dodgers owner) Peter O’Malley was a client.”

Even back when he was a kid, hanging around his father’s high-end tailor shop on Hollywood Boulevard, Terzian remembers Joe DiMaggio walking in. Well, he may more clearly remember that Joltin’ Joe brought his then-wife, Marilyn Monroe. Another time, Terzian recalls his father asking a client to sign a baseball for young Carl.

Terzian still has that baseball. It reads: “Carl, Best wishes. Babe Ruth.”

Staff reporters Jacquelyn Ryan and James Rufus Koren contributed to this column. Page 3 is compiled by Editor Charles Crumpley. He can be reached at ccrumpley@labusinessjournal.com.

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