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‘Selling Summerlin’ brings Realtor reality TV to Las Vegas

Updated March 15, 2021 - 2:37 pm

Two Las Vegas Realtors will star in a new reality television series on the valley’s luxury real estate market.

“Selling Summerlin,” from the creators of VH1’s real estate reality show “Love & Listings,” will focus on what it describes as “the aggressive and luxurious real estate market in Sin City.”

The show is not a partner with the Las Vegas master-planned community, Summerlin.

“The Howard Hughes Corp. and Summerlin are not affiliated with this production, nor have we licensed the use of the Summerlin name in conjunction with any aspect of this series,” said a spokesperson for The Howard Hughes Corp. in a written statement.

The series stars are Realtors Michele Sullivan with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Nevada Properties and Alese Morrow with Synergy Sotheby International Realty. Both will compete and collaborate on some of the biggest listings in town and land high-profile clients. The show’s release date, and where it will air, has not been set.

Sullivan met Morrow in late 2020 through a mutual friend, Tai Savet of Ouse Media Group, the executive producer of “Selling Summerlin.” He said he thought a luxury real estate show in Las Vegas would be successful.

The series won’t be scripted but instead will show what the luxury Realtors do primarily in Summerlin, which he called the “Newport Beach of Vegas” with a cast of characters. It’s about “women empowerment” — two single Realtors who work for themselves and can take care of themselves, he said. He declined to name the other Realtors who will be involved.

“There’s going to be a lot more drama than they think, and none of it is going to be scripted,” California resident Savet said. “You will see some authentic good old rush to the finish line, and everybody will do what it takes to get there.”

The show will go into the Realtors’ personal lives and those of their families and clientele. It will also delve into the transactions and how the deals are closed.

“Vegas has never had a chance to show what it’s about,” Savet said. “Coming from California and seeing what Summerlin looks like, I love it. California people have a stigma about Las Vegas — we will have fun there but want to take off and not think about living here. We’re going to say this is the new hot spot, and these ladies will show a different aspect of Las Vegas.”

Sullivan focuses on The Ridges, Strip condos

Sullivan primarily buys and sells homes in The Ridges in Summerlin and high-rise condos at the Waldorf Astoria and Veer Towers on the Strip. She’s worked with celebrities such as comedian Jo Koy, CEOs and multiple members of the Vegas Golden Knights.

“I just love what I do and checking out beautiful homes with unique features,” Sullivan said. “The luxury segment is fun and makes it feel like it’s not work.”

Sullivan, who owned a retail makeup store in Los Angeles before she moved to Las Vegas in 1999, got into real estate when she was buying a house here and had what she called an awful experience.

“It just sparked my interest that if this is what it entails, I can do it better,” Sullivan said. “The agent didn’t know what she was doing, and it should have been a slam-dunk deal.”

Sullivan said at the beginning of her career she sold a lot of new homes valued from $125,000 to $150,000 and that it wasn’t glamorous. During the downturn she sold a lot of foreclosed homes for Bank of America and others. She transitioned into luxury about 2013.

“I like the luxury segment of it because there’s fewer clients and you can give more white-glove service, and the buyer gets the attention they deserve, versus doing 30 deals at $200,000 apiece you lose that sense of customer service,” she said.

Morrow works with sports stars

Morrow has worked with NBA, NFL and NHL players along with CEOs. Her high-profile clients have included former Las Vegas Raider Jason Witten and Norman Powell, a member of the 2019 NBA champion Toronto Raptors and a California native who in July paid $2.72 million for a 6,103-square-foot home with six bedrooms and seven baths in Southern Highlands.

“Everyone thinks selling luxury is so glamorous and the million-dollar question is how did you get into it and how do you sell luxury real estate,” said Morrow, who moved to Las Vegas in 2006 from Southern California, where she had a real estate license. She worked here as a bartender and a cocktail waitress but didn’t like it and in 2008 moved back into real estate full time during the housing market collapse.

“It was in my blood because my dad was a custom homebuilder, and this was my passion because I went back to what I knew and loved,” Morrow said. “I like making things happen for my clients and getting the best deal whatever side it is. I love the design, especially in luxury, because each home is so special.”

Morrow started selling foreclosure homes and condos in Las Vegas before moving into the luxury segment.

“I feel I worked my way up to now where I sell primarily luxury real estate,” Morrow said. “I put in my dues and have a nice gauge on both ends of the spectrum.

Almost every agent wants to get into the luxury business, but it’s difficult to get your foot in the door in the industry, Sullivan said. It’s important to know the clients who are purchasing those homes, which is 1 percent of the population of high net-worth people.

“A lot of people want to get into the luxury business but don’t have the relationships,” Morrow said. “That is the key, but it’s also the relationships with agents where you can text someone at 8 o’clock at night and say, ‘My client loves your house, but they’re flying out at 9 a.m., and is there anyway to make this happen?’ ”

Morrow said 90 percent of her business comes from referrals, whether from past clients or current clients, and from agents in other states. The other 10 percent comes from marketing, she said.

‘Changing the game for women’

Sullivan said she gets referrals but spends money on marketing, with 80 percent of her business being listings and 20 percent buyers. She said digital and social media, especially Instagram, are important to attracting potential buyers.

Sullivan said the luxury business in Las Vegas is competitive because there are so many experienced Realtors.

“It is understandable when someone is thinking of selling that they would be one of their first choices,” Sullivan said.

“I have a tremendous amount of respect (for the big-name luxury Realtors) in town. I feel like I’m in a race … I’m the stalking horse because I’m going to get to that level. It’s just a matter of time. They have been doing it longer than I have. I have never been more clear and focused on what I want and the direction I want to go.”

Morrow said there are few women in the luxury business in Las Vegas and called the profession a difficult one.

“We’re changing the game for women in luxury real estate in Las Vegas,” Morrow said. “It’s not just about those household names. It takes a strong person and you have to have a thick skin to compete in the luxury market. There’s not a lot of inventory. It’s not like Los Angeles. The competitions shorten here, and it’s a dog-eat-dog world out there.”

Morrow said she was approached by Savet years ago about doing a reality real estate show, but admitted it wasn’t the time. It’s still something that’s “out of her comfort zone,” but she wanted to give it a shot.

“For me, it’s the right time,” Morrow said.

‘Friendly competition’

Sullivan said the show will let people across the country know Las Vegas is more than the Strip and how Summerlin is a part of that. She joked that the show will “definitely have drama because nobody wants to watch a boring show” and how the show will have them competing against each other and that other luxury Realtors will be involved.

“There’s always friendly competition,” Morrow said as she and Sullivan joked about what’s to come in the reality show.

Sullivan said that being on a show will help with business because there are sellers who want their home showcased.

“The exposure you can get from a television show for that multimillion-dollar luxury home helps when there are a small pool of buyers and sellers,” Sullivan said.

Morrow said she’s already heard from people who have listings with other agents and are willing to select her because of the show and publicity it will generate for their home.

“Having their home showcased on a network series is going to get them so much exposure and the timeline to find a buyer is much shorter,” Sullivan said.

Savet said it’s been challenging to shoot the series during the COVID-19 pandemic, and that means operating with a smaller crew in a safe manner with masks.

“I have never done anything like this before,” Sullivan said. “It’s been fun to film. We’ve gotten to see different properties and clients, and it’s been interesting. It’s a lot of hard work and days are long. Some of the days we’re not wrapping up until 10 or 11 at night. It’s not as glamorous as people think. You have to have energy all day. Even late at night you have to have your game face and smile for the camera.”

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