Celebrity real estate broker Fredrik Eklund on selling Sarah Jessica Parker’s townhouse and why you should live in NoHo
12th Aug 2019
Oh, to live in New York.
The city that never sleeps and a fashion capital of the world, New York City is home to some of the best foods, fashion, art and architecture in the globe.
In 2018 alone, 65.2 million tourists holidayed in the storied city, taking in its many sights from the Brooklyn Bridge, to a Broadway show to the 9/11 Memorial.
But fewer people have the privilege of living there.
From street level, one can only imagine the interiors, and their owners, that decorate the incredible apartments, skyscrapers and townhouses that line every street. The Meatpacking District, Williamsburg, the Upper East Side; every neighbourhood has its own intrigue, character and astronomical real estate.
And there’s no one that knows their way around the inner sanctums of New Yorkers better than Stockholm-born real estate broker to the stars and star of Million Dollar Listing New York‘s Fredrik Eklund. With a rolodex of clients including Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Lopez and John Legend, Eklund has gained access to some of the most sought after buildings, and listings, in New York City, Miami and Los Angeles – prime real estate markets he’s now expanded into.
To celebrate the release of MDLNY‘s eighth season, which airs on Foxtel every Friday, Vogue probed the real estate-cum-reality television star on what we can expect in the new season, celebrity apartment checklists and why NoHo is the up-and-coming New York neighbourhood to buy in now.
What can we look forward to on season eight of MDLNY?
“First of all, you’re going to see a lot of kids – and I’m not talking about my clients. I’m talking about what it’s like for all cast members to have babies in one season. There’s also a lot of crossover with deals between cast members and with that – a lot of friction!
You’re also going to see a lot of crazy fashion on me. I went all out this season, wearing everything from a shiny silver Dolce & Gabbana suit to a Hugh Heffner Dolce & Gabbana custom robe, to leopard print tux, and then of course dressing up in 80s street wear. Anything to sell an apartment!”
Why do you think audiences – especially remote audiences and people that cannot afford these multi-million dollar listings – are so captivated by New York real estate?
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“The show really hits a nerve because you get an inside into the secret world of luxury real estate, the greedy sellers and the cheap buyers – and then us guys trying to make it all work in the middle. There’s also personal lives intertwined into all of this. As you can imagine, a hectic real estate career can be challenging to combine with newborns.”
You’ve gained access to some of the most beautiful buildings and apartments in New York. Can you recall a listing that really impacted you and why?
“When Sarah Jessica Parker called my cellphone to sell her townhouse, I immediately called my brother and screamed in the phone because he, my mother and I watched every single episode of Sex and the City. It’s one of the reasons I moved to New York.”
How do you persuade buyers to visit your listing?
“For me, it’s really important to build a story about anything I sell. It needs to be authentic and not gimmicky. For example, everyone loves history so I research each listing to find historical facts and implement that into my showings. I always say ‘lots of theatrics – no drama’. People like to be entertained and people like to laugh, however people like to see themselves living there.”
When it comes to buying an apartment in New York, how do you advise clients looking for ‘the one’?
“You can’t have it all in New York real estate. I listen carefully to the long lists of requests and then I turn to the client and say, ‘which one of those will you compromise on? You have to remove one item from the list – is it price? Is it location? Is it the view?’. Once they compromise on one, I can find them something.”
What are some trends you are noticing in the needs or requests of buyers, especially celebrity buyers?
“Everybody wants privacy and everybody wants outdoor space. Unfortunately for all of us in New York, those two don’t come together. When you have a terrace or garden, it’s very likely people will see you out there. A celebrity, often seen in Beverly Hills, will want to walk around in swimwear without being seen in the newspaper or press. That’s not easy to accomplish in New York City.”
You have a following of over one million on Instagram. Is it an important outlet to market and sell listings?
“In many ways, I already have a platform in the television show that goes out to 141 countries. Selling anything through social media is very hard and it can easily become tacky. I never want to look like a person who is selling a piece of my soul, because I don’t.”
Are there any up-and-coming New York neighbourhoods we should keep on our radar?
“NoHo is where everybody wants to be and where there’s no inventory. It’s actually a small historical area north of SoHo. [There are] no tourists yet, but with the coolest stores and greatest restaurants. Andy Warhol lived here and Jean-Michel Basquiat died here.”