Wild Celebrity Stories With Valerie Fitzgerald And Bob Hurwitz

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Wild Celebrity Stories With Valerie Fitzgerald And Bob Hurwitz

Everyone listens to stories. And what story can be more head turning than that of a celebrity? Most people tend to listen to a hot gossip or a funny story, and on this episode, Valerie Fitzgerald and Bob Hurwitz will drop some crazy and fun celebrity stories from real famous people whom they have worked with. If you want to hear more, tune in on this latest episode of Real Estate, Real Laughs with your hosts, Valerie and Bob!



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Wild Celebrity Stories With Valerie Fitzgerald And Bob Hurwitz

Welcome everyone to this episode. Our readers from around the world, we appreciate you joining us. We have great stories that are funny, fun and interesting where sometimes you learn 1 thing or 2. Bob, should we talk a little bit about the celeb buy-side and dealings that we have had? What are they holding up?


That is a great subject because everybody is always interested. The celebrity transcends what it used to be, which is entertainment people. You have got Instagram billionaires. It is a different vibe but we both have dealt with a lot of celebrities over the years. It would make an interesting subject for this episode.


What is interesting is that the wealth has shifted and is different. Years ago, it was the heads of the studios, the business developers and the major producers of movies. The producers were the stars and then you have the celebrities. It was the entertainment that was driving our high-end wealthy market.


Some of the highest price sales and most expensive transactions are with people that are not traditional celebrities. There is a lot of major wealth out there buying some of the most expensive and high-profile properties that are not in that business. It is still what fascinates people, even though it is not the same as it was back in the day.


It seems that you have got the YouTubers, the TikTokers, the NFTers, the Bitcoiners and all of those. It is a different wealth and big-time money. A lot of them are very young at the time. They come out of the woodwork. It is such a different high-end buyer market.


What I always found fascinating where sometimes you would have a client that became a celebrity and you did not know they were a celebrity then. I had this interesting client years ago. She managed a lot of major musical acts. I was selling her house up in The Bird Streets. Before, it was the super high-end Bird Streets, which has plummeted.


In an event, I had an agent who you knew well but brought in this woman with two other women with her. It was interesting because one of them was incredibly great looking. She looked like Kim Basinger in LA Confidential and the other one was Victoria Sellers, Peter Sellers’ daughter. It turned out it was Heidi Fleiss, who I did not know anything about at the time. They wrote an offer on my client’s property.


Celebrities or athletes have this persona which is sometimes it's not really who they are in real life.


What happened is my client was very mercurial and was from England. She once had her contractor crying. She was yelling at him. She and I got along great but she changed her mind once we were in escrow. She goes, “Bob, I do not want to sell that house.” I go, “We are under a contract with this person.” I did not know how Heidi Fleiss got her money. Her broker said, “She is a business person.” What happened is she goes, “I do not want to sell this house, Bob. Get us out of it.”


I was like, “I had already been marketing but she was the client and was referred by a friend,” who you know, Spencer Proffer. I remember going to the agent and going, “The seller does not want to sell anymore.” He goes, “What do you mean? This is in escrow. This is going to be ugly. Find another house. Bob, you do not know who this is. If we can do this deal, you can have any woman you want.” “What does she do?” He said, “She is this super high-end madam for the most beautiful high-end prostitutes in town.”


We did not go through with the deal. They backed out. Ironically, it was a benefit because I remember when Heidi was busted later on down the road, the FBI was asking for where they were subpoenaing records on what she was buying and all the other business stuff. I was not involved in that but it was interesting how I had no clue. All of a sudden, it turns out that is the story. Often, it is uncovered later on but that was trippy.


I recall her name coming up. She had a lot of famous people and big card games. There was a girl named Molly they did a movie on, who provided the girls with the big card games for all the big celeb private card games. There are a lot of interesting trippy things that go on but the interesting thing is how we end up engaging with them and in their business. You get caught up in the fold of what they are doing like when I had Mike Tyson, you had Mike Tyson too, I believe. Mike was a pretty smart guy. He does not seem like he would be but he is pretty intelligent and aware of things going on.


He does not look the part but he flew me around on a G4 and that was nice, back and forth to Vega, the dinners and different events and things he gave here in town that I was invited to with all of his questionable certain people and surroundings. It was an interesting time and being a woman in that environment as well.


I was doing a deal with him and he was cool. It is interesting because these celebrities or athletes have this persona, which is sometimes not them and who they are in real life. Mike Tyson was a spectacular fighter and but in person, he was very non-imposing unless you are in the ring with him. He was cool and reinvented himself. It is great. It goes to show. It is interesting because you and I have talked about this before. Without using names, I had a guy that was big-time involved in the rapping business.


He was a scary guy but a good client. We got along great. I remember when I was showing him property, he always has a bodyguard with him. The bodyguard always had this briefcase. I go, “What is in the briefcase.” The rapper guy goes, “It is money.” One time the bodyguard shows up and his hand is in a cast. I go, “What happened?” He would not be able to say. I said to the rapper, “What happened to him?” He goes, “His wife caught him cheating and hit him with a big frying pan.” It is weird stuff that you deal with. What is ironic is I sold that guy a property in Malibu out of bankruptcy. He went to jail and sold it out of bankruptcy for himself. It is weird how things turn out.


RERL 19 | Celebrity Stories

Celebrity Stories: It's interesting where celebrities choose to live.


We talked about that same rapper. When I represented Sylvester Stallone, we bought the house and he lived in a very high-end gated community here in Beverly Hills where all the big celebs went for their privacy, large homes, safety and security. That same rapper guy wanted to look at the house right next door to where Syl lived. When I told Syl he wanted to visit the house, he was like, “There is no way that is going to happen.” At that time, the Homeowner Association decided that anyone who was a felon could not live within that community. That law quickly came up in the HOA. I do not think I have ever seen an HOA that said that before or after.


I was showing him at that time and that did come up. He goes, “When I am at home, I am just at home. I am not doing my business. I am kicking back and then smoking my cigars.” He was upset. It was interesting because the reality is there are plenty of people that live up in Beverly Park that are felons. Do you make that retroactive or what? He said, “I do not even want to live here anymore. That is why I ended up selling him a house in Malibu,” which was pretty funny. In bankruptcy, he had to put up $500,000 in hard money. He had all this money and then when it was time to close, very shortly thereafter, he did not have any money to close.


I said, “I do not want to be the one to tell you but you got to come with money. You are going to lose your $500,000.” He bought a bunch of cars and had all kinds of hangers-on. He did not have money and then was able to get an advance against some feature or other. Some of the people we have to deal with are weird. They may be fearsome but as long as they like you, you are good. I also showed him a condo on Wilshire Boulevard and told me to come to look at the view on the eighteenth floor. I said, “No.”


It is interesting where they choose to live. I took on and off for a long time Bruce Willis around and showed him houses years ago. The interesting thing was I go, “There is a three-car garage.” He was going, “That is important real estate. My cars can park outside. That is going to be my theater or gym. The garage was never going to be the garage.” We ran around looking at a lot of houses. I told you that when I was representing the entire development for the Carlisle here in Westwood, the time the building was finished, I wanted to get some PR on the building.


I said to Bruce, who had not found a house yet, “What if I got you a two-year free lease in the building? We will give you the sixteenth floor and a great ocean view. It is free for two years.” He said, “Sure, you can use my name for some publicity for it.” The interesting thing was, as a New York developer, once he moved in, it kicked off all the HOA. All those payments for the HOAs had to start to be made by the developer every month. You could have one and set everything off but he used to walk down to the building and the whole valet, the concierge and the desk guys were there saying, “Good morning.”


It is a double-edged sword. You used a well-known celebrity actor to help give credibility to wealthy people in the building and celebrities. I have had this situation and I am sure you have too. I can remember one person in particular that wanted me to list 2 of his properties, 1 in Malibu and 1 in Beverly Hills. The price they wanted was, “Forget it. It was too high.” They said, “You can use his name as the owner.” I said, “His name is not worth another $4 million.” A lot of overseas buyers do not care about who the celebrity is. Someone here might.


People without any money, generally care, “There is a celebrity that owns the house,” but it can also be a detriment. Almost without fail, I am sure you have had the same thing, major celebrities and not even real major ones, almost always have stalkers. They have to be cognizant of that. You got their house and suddenly, the person thinks they still live there. It can be a downside.


Who are celebrities, truthfully? They're just human beings.


Don’t they have those movie map guys that do the tourists? They take you by and say, “So-and-so lives there.” They have one where they go of the people that used to live there that have died. They drive around and go, “He died. He lived in that house in 1904.”


I used to have this one house that I was selling that everybody thought was Lucille Ball’s back in the day. I do not think it was. When I go show it and wave to the people, it was like I was somebody. I will never forget it. I went to a $ 5,000-a-plate dinner at that hotel in Century City. They had all the paparazzi and everything there because there were a lot of celebrities. I was there with my wife or my girlfriend at the time, maybe we were not married. We were with another couple and got out of our limo. We think we are all hot. We come and they see we are nobody. They immediately go on to the next person.


That still goes on. You go out to Craig’s or any of the restaurants around here. You get out of the car and the paparazzi have their camera ready. Within seconds, you are a nobody and they go looking for someone else.


I was at a sushi restaurant in Brentwood. I used to go there a lot with celebrity clients of mine. It was great. One time, I went there with a friend of mine and his wife is a big shot. She has five companies and does all types of theatrical stuff. We are sitting there and ordered a bunch of food and drinks. We were there for a while. This manager was a real idiot. He was 4 feet tall. He comes up with a fake smile and goes, “We will buy you a drink at the bar.” I go, “What do you mean?” He goes, “We would like to get the table.” I go, “Are you kidding? We are still here.” I was so upset.


Afterwards, I went to Yelp. I wrote this thing up and said, “I have owned a major restaurant here. I represent properties all over the world. This loser comes up and tells us, ‘We will buy you a drink.’ I was in disbelief but I said, ‘The person across me on the table, this woman has five companies and does all of these major investments. I have been in this restaurant 20, 30 times with major celebs and being treated like a king.’” I had the General Manager reach out and goes, “Bob, can we get you a free meal?” “I do not need a free meal. Fire the guy.” He was like, “Come on.” It is an interesting thing that everybody idolizes and you get treated differently if you are a “celebrity.”


What makes a celebrity? Is it someone well-known? What do you think celebrity means? There are a lot of people that have extreme wealth but we do not call them celebrities.


Everybody puts people on a pedestal. You and I have had tons of actors and some are super cool, great to deal with and very down-to-earth. Some are full of themselves. It is a business. You deal with everybody professionally. What is an actor? An actor is someone that reads lines that somebody else wrote for them. They’re not that person but it’s like they’re an expert in everything. To me, it feels like a business in a lot of ways but the real money is not these celebrities. It's people coming out of Silicon Valley, internet stars, YouTubers and stuff. It’s a different type of market in terms of who has real money via celebrities. They’re making a great business and found wealth generally but they’re human beings.


RERL 19 | Celebrity Stories

Celebrity Stories: There are a lot of people that have extreme wealth, but we don't call them celebrities.


I do this little thing on my Instagram. It is called Real Estate Tea Time. I talk about the celebrity buys like, “This one bought and sold this one,” for fifteen seconds because people like to hear those little sound bites of what people are doing and some of the names because they are so new, which I am familiar with or I have not seen but there is a lot of activity and people like to hear a little bit of. In the world of all the dour news, people like these little sound bites of what other people are doing, peeking into other people’s lives. They like to see what other people are doing that are living in a different world that they do not have access to or think do not have access to.


I am guilty of that too. I always say, “If you have nothing good to say about someone, sit next to me because I want to hear it.”


That saying used to say something else. My grandmother would say, “If you have nothing good to say, do not say anything at all.” That is how it goes.


I like mine better. I love to gossip. It is interesting because some of my good friends are celebrities and professional athletes but they are down-to-earth and regular people. If you are super visible and have to live with everybody focusing on you, you do not have privacy. One of my good friends and best clients said a guy goes to Disney World with his kids and it is a nightmare. He is a nice guy and super visible. He has got to be nice to everybody. He wants to be left alone. It is crazy. I used to play volleyball with Wilt Chamberlain way back in the day at the beach. It was a nightmare. People would come up to him nonstop. He goes, “I cannot put on sunglasses and hide.” Can you imagine living that way?


You are constantly disrupted.


It is terrible. There’s no privacy. Some of them seek out that life because they are visible but by the same token, they want their privacy too.


YouTubing, TikToking, Instagramming and Facebooking have changed that because people want notoriety and recognition like, “Look at me.” Everybody who walked down the street here is doing a selfie in front of a sign or a window to be recognized and to draw attention.


Celebrities are just real cool people that happen to be actors or professional athletes or whatever. And they're just normal, cool people, like the rest of our clients.


It has created this whole business model. The only thing I ever do on Instagram is how my assistant posts stuff about what we do business-wise. It is fascinating that the people are making a huge amount of money being influencers and whatever that means exactly, these models and crazy stuff. If you get a big enough audience, then you start making bank.


You have to have so many followers and if you have that, then the promoters of products feel that your people will see their products. Therefore, they will pay you to post their product, which promotes their product because they do not have to use magazines and commercials anymore. That is their market. How they promote their product is to pay people to promote them to a larger group of influencers.


There’s one of the best athletes in the world and I sold her a property in Beverly Hills. She bought some of the furniture. There is one piece that fits perfectly in the living room. It was custom for the living room. We paid full price or whatever for the property. She is super cool. I am in awe of her ability. She won a gold medal. She is amazing. She said, “Bob, can you see if I will include that or something?”


I called the agent and he goes, “He will do it if she will wear one of his company shirts on her Instagram.” I am ignorant about this. I said, “Do you want to?” She goes, “Bob, are you kidding? I get paid $100,000 to do that.” I went back and said, “What do they sell it for?” “How about if she does a pep talk to his company?” I said, “She is not going to do that. That is probably $1 million.” That shows the value in followers. I was blown away. Can you imagine what the Kardashians or whoever these people make?


I leased a house in the Hollywood Hills. It was a very large house at 16,000 square feet. For several years, it’s always been for gamers. You would go in there. The bedrooms were used by them but the living room and dining room they kept as a theater but they had all these computers. It was wall to wall with big multiple screens. I do not know how they do it but they were busy with their little gaming things, coding and decoding. There must have been 15 or 20 of them working all in there. They have the kitchen, theater, crashing bedrooms and all that. They paid a tremendous amount of money for the lease. They would pay $45,000 or $50,000 for it.


I have never played one of those games. I used to go play pinball back in the 1800s. I sold one property to a guy who owned a big gaming company up in Brentwood. He had to redo everything. The whole downstairs could be with gamers. It had to be super high-tech and everything else. The thing that is crazy is people spend big money to go to a stadium to watch people play video games. What has the world come to?


That is a competition. People are watching them compete. They are trying to learn a few tips with the binoculars to see how they do it so they could up their game.


RERL 19 | Celebrity Stories

Celebrity Stories: It's really fascinating that the people are making huge amounts of money being influencers, whatever that means exactly.


I hear you have to be super young because once you are past 25, forget it. Your reflexes are not good with these games or something. You got to be young. Otherwise, you are out.


It is a different time. It is interesting for us to have experienced the trend-setting of the way buyers and sellers have moved, who are the big purchasers and where the money flows from. Our business is hard but it is always interesting. Don’t you think?


There is no question. This is what I say to other agents that ask me about stuff. If you have a skillset or ability to understand psychology, empathize with people and be interested in what they are doing, it does not matter how technology or the market changes. You are still going to be successful in doing business. The bottom line is it is communicating with people. With all the smart technology and everything else, it does not matter. You have a buyer, a seller and a piece of property. There are a lot of ways to get to the point where the deal goes down. Everything else is filler to me.


Readers, you have been amazing to keep following us. Share the love a little bit and tell a friend or follow us on RealEstateRealLaughs.com. Join in next time. Bob, I love being with you.


It sounds great. Much gratitude to the readers. Hit us up with any questions or ideas because we have had every experience you can imagine. If it could be said, we will say it. It is always fun. See you next time.


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