Several months ago, I mentioned in this column that my husband and I had been called for a potential role in the Fox TV show, “The Complex.” We were just on the verge of our own remodeling project, so the idea of packing up and moving (again) seemed completely unappealing although several of our nearest and dearest insisted that “we’d be perfect.”

No sooner had I passed, did I come to find out that the show was to be set in Malibu. How’s that for a blown opportunity? Eight weeks out at the beach. Sounded perfect.

Needless to say, it turns out to be a blessing in disguise that we missed this great chance of a lifetime, as commercials showed couples almost killing each other (literally) and lots of other really unflattering images of them in remodeling hell as they competed for the prize money to be had from selling the unit with the biggest profit.

We were out of town for a couple of weeks when “The Complex” started (and frankly forgot to watch when we got back) so I really didn’t know how it had all ended. Several weeks ago, however, I realized that one of the beautiful ads that I was gazing at in the weekend real estate section was for those very condos!

I couldn’t resist calling the president of the auction company, Premiere Estates, to see how the story ended.

Ed Kaminsky couldn’t have been more receptive to sharing this fantastic tale. Several months ago, he and his partner Todd Wohl were attending one of Mike Ferry’s sold-out agent training seminars in Palm Springs. Actually, to be more exact, Todd’s role was as a live auctioneer to “auction off” Ferry to one of the lucky 3,000 attendees. They were bidding on the ability to have Ferry come spend the day at their office, critique their performance and give them personalized tips. Not a bad prize.

Well, Todd must be really good at what he does – we know that Ferry certainly is – because the hammer fell at $38,000! The money was given to charity.

One of the agents in the audience had coincidentally just found the producers of “The Complex,” the apartments that were going to be rehabbed by the contestants on the show. After seeing Todd’s performance that day, this agent introduced the partners to the producers as a company that had experience in Southern California. After a lengthy presentation, Premiere Estates was hired. A perfect fit for the show.

The producers put them to work immediately. Every episode of the show promoted the ability of the viewing audience to register and bid on the properties in Malibu. Each show had a “Survivor”-type element, with the best four (of the original eight) couples competing in a “winner takes all” sale. Each week, one person was voted off the show, as professional designers and others voted who had done the best work for the week.

No telling how much the producers of the show were thinking they would get for their properties, but “The Complex” is the number one hit show in Australia. About 25 qualified bidders were vying for four units on auction day.

Starting price for all this remodeled glory? $500,000 for a two-bedroom condo in Malibu. Seems like a bargain.

After hearing the whole story, maybe the producers should become developers. The contestant with the biggest profit on his/her unit went home with a $317,000 prize in a winner-takes-all scenario. Not bad for eight weeks’ work at the beach.

The agent who referred the deal to Premiere Estates got a nice $120,000 referral check. Kaminsky says that the properties sold for as much as 24 percent above market value.

And the unexpected winners are Kaminsky and Wohl, who not only got free advertising for about eight weeks on prime time TV but they have been in future discussions for a sequel or show of their own.

I can’t wait to see the DVD!

Julie Brosterman is a consultant to the real estate technology, mortgage and servicing industries. She lives in Los Angeles and can be contacted at


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