“Million Dollar Listing: Los Angeles” is back and with new competition David Parnes and James Harris, limited inventory and a possible groomzilla, Season 7 is shaping up to be one of the most dramatic yet.
To get an idea of what lies ahead for our favorite real estate agents this season, Zap2it sat down with Josh Flagg and Josh Altman to get the scoop on their different working styles, their rivalry and their thoughts on veteran Madison Hildebrand’s departure.
Zap2it: What’s been the biggest challenge between balancing your successful businesses and doing the show?
Josh Flagg: Personally I can’t only do work because I want to enjoy my life too. What’s the point in making lots of money if you can’t enjoy it? So, I don’t bring work back to the house. I don’t do paperwork at the house. I always sit down for dinner with my boyfriend. I’m not living and breathing real estate 24/7 and I can still manage. I have three assistants, so I can still manage to do it, but it is important to have that balance.
Josh Altman: If you are looking for a realtor after 6 p.m., Josh Flagg is not your guy. Call Josh Altman. I’m the complete opposite. Balancing the show and business is very difficult. We tape this show for 10 months and it’s another job on top of running a very successful real estate business, The Altman Brothers, as well as traveling around the country doing speaking engagements. It helps that I have my brother Matt helping me run the business. It is a 24/7 gig, after a long day of taping, that’s when my day usually starts with business and it could be an all nighter catching up. The way I look at it right now though is — It’s a hot market, work now, rest later.
Josh Altman, I heard you work in the same office as Chad Rogers, who was one of the originals on the series. Will we ever see him back on the show?
JA: You know what’s funny is that Chad sells more real estate than Flagg and Flagg hates it.
JF: No he doesn’t. I challenge you, put his numbers next to mine.
JA: I tried to get Chad back on the show this year to do an episode with me and he was not interested.
JF: I would have loved that!
JA: Now that I know Flagg so well and we’ve been doing this for four years, I would have loved to see the two of them on camera together.
What do you guys think about Madison not being a part of “MDL” this season?
JF: I saw Madison the other night. Madison and I are very close. He seems very happy. I’m actually working on something with him for my family right now. We are going to start looking for some properties in Malibu.
JA: I think it’s great. I think it has to do with the fact that he couldn’t take the pressure and didn’t have the listings. I wish him the best of luck, but I think the show is going to be much better without him. My honest opinion is his parts were boring. I literally would fast forward his parts when I watched it and watched Flagg and I’s parts. I am excited to watch the entire show from start to finish now, this season.
It seems this season’s newbies (David and James) have more of a rivalry with you, Josh Altman. What are your thoughts on them?
JA: It’s like prison. It’s your first day in prison, you want to go in and knock out the biggest, baddest guy right?
JA: So that’s what they do. They come out swinging. They love to puff their numbers up. They walk around saying how much they sold and then the rankings came out in the Wall Street Journal and they sold $90 million, not $150, which they claim.
JF: That doesn’t mean anything though. I didn’t even know about that list.
JA: Well, that’s because you are not on that list. I’m just saying, they keep saying they sell more than me but —
JF: I can promise you I would be on that list.
JA: (laughs) I sold $225 million last year, so they love to have their name associated with mine, it’s good for them.
JF: I have a very good relationship with them.
JA: It’s because you’re not a threat.
JF: No, it’s because I’m a gentleman.
How real is the rivalry between you guys?
JF: Nothing is played up. It’s all real, it just depends on when you get us. It depends on the mood.
JA: We don’t hate each other.
JF: Speak for yourself.
JA: [laughs] We like to mess with each other and trust me, when it’s time to go to war, we will go to war against each other. It’s such a small, high-end community in the high-end market that we have to deal with each other, unfortunately sometimes more than we want.
This seems to be the season of the foreign buyer. Wondering if you guys are doing anything to get a leg up on the competition?
JF: I still do everything I have been doing for the last 10 years, nothing changes, because it seems to work.
JA: We have people at our office that specialize in overseas clients. I have people that concentrate strictly on Russian clients, Chinese and Saudi, so when these people come into town they are treated like they’re royalty. They are with people that speak their language and understand how they work. Dealing with a Chinese client is different than dealing with an American client and there are cultural issues that you don’t want to offend. So we’ve spent a lot of time and a lot of money marketing overseas strictly through avenues, like Christie’s Estates, which we’re the only company affiliated with in Beverly Hills. My last eight out of ten mega deals have been with Chinese clients.
Josh Altman, you are in the middle of planning a wedding — what’s been your favorite part of that so far?
JA: My favorite part was probably picking the wedding planner. Just sitting down with the wedding planner, choosing your vision and then seeing it come to life.
Where are you in the wedding planning process?
JA: You will have to tune in to find out. You will definitely see the ups and downs.
JF: I smell divorce.
Judging by the previews of what’s to come, you do seem like a little bit of a groomzilla Josh. Tell us about that.
JA: I knew you were going to say that! I am so the opposite of a groomzilla, come on. I am a control freak in my business, in life, I’m a perfectionist. So I like to be involved in everything and it’s really frustrating to Heather. I see how that comes off, because a couple of people have said that too, but she’s my ride or die chick. I’ve been with her for over four years. At the end of the day it’s just about us.
“Million Dollar Listing: Los Angeles” Season 7 premieres Wednesday, Aug. 20 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Bravo.