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A day in the life of 'Selling Sunset' star Mary Fitzgerald, a top LA broker juggling glamorous mansions and grunt work as California housing prices hit all-time highs

Published by Business Insider on Sun, 04 Apr 2021

<p><img src="https://static6.businessinsider.com/image/605cdb7b6746fb0018a73c1e-1287/Aria%20IMG_4478.jpeg" border="0" alt="Mary Fitzgerald" data-mce-source="Aria Askari"></p><p></p><bi-shortcode id="summary-shortcode" data-type="summary-shortcode" class="mceNonEditable" contenteditable="false">Summary List Placement</bi-shortcode><p>This Indiana native is a California girl now.</p><p>Mary Fitzgerald is one of the stars of "Selling Sunset," the hit Netflix reality show currently filming its fourth season. The series follows the lavish lives of a group of top Los Angeles brokers and the luxurious properties they buy and sell in a party-fueled flurry on behalf of deep-pocketed clients.</p><p>The coronavirus pandemic has sent <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/home-gets-122-offers-amid-real-estate-market-surge-2021-3">California real estate booming</a>, Fitzgerald said, making her job busier and more exciting than ever.</p><p>While Fitzgerald, 40, normally juggles about three listings for sale at a time, that number grew to eight this past summer. She had to hire an assistant to help juggle the demand from locals upgrading from apartments to homes with more outdoor space.</p><p>"There's such high demand for single-family homes," she said, pointing to additional interest from out-of-towners with remote work flexibility who wanted to bask in LA's warmer climes during the pandemic.</p><p>After about 20 years in LA, broken up by stints in New York and London, Fitzgerald herself recently graduated from a West Hollywood apartment to a bigger house in the San Fernando Valley. An area north of downtown LA nicknamed The Valley, it was panned decades ago in films like "Clueless" but is now a spot buyers and investors eye to get more bang for their buck.</p><p>Fitzgerald represents clients buying and selling stunning properties, including <a href="https://www.zillow.com/homes/2341-Weybridge-Ln-Los-Angeles,-CA,-90077_rb/20530566_zpid/">a 10,000-square-foot Italian-style villa</a> in a gated Bel Air community that sold for $7.5 million in July 2020. One of her biggest deals to date was in 2018, when she <a href="https://www.zillow.com/homes/1375-N-Doheny-Dr-Los-Angeles,-CA,-90069_rb/20534829_zpid/">sold a five-bedroom, six-bathroom home with a pool</a> in Hollywood for a whopping $24 million.</p><p>And prices have only gone up since then. Indeed, Southern California home prices reached an all-time high in February, the most recent month for which there is data available, <a href="https://www.latimes.com/business/story/2021-03-23/southern-california-median-home-price-sets-new-record">the Los Angeles Times' Andrew Khouri reported</a>. A <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/why-there-are-so-few-homes-for-sale-high-prices-2021-3">severe shortage of homes</a> for sale coupled with buyers' desire to put down roots while mortgage interest rates are low has led to bidding wars and competition that pushed the median sales price up 15% from a year earlier in the region, according to real estate firm DQNews. The number of sales increased 17.6% from February 2020.</p><p>In Los Angeles County alone, Khouri wrote, the median sales price jumped 14.3% in February from the year prior, while the number of sales ballooned 19.1%.</p><p>That means more work for Fitzgeraldand, most likely, more suspense and drama to come in "Selling Sunset" season 4. The show's three existing seasons, which are <a href="https://www.netflix.com/title/80223108">available to stream on Netflix</a>, trace Fitzgerald's challenges and triumphs in her complex, high-stakes professional and personal livesalongside fellowOppenheim Group brokers like Chrishell Stause, <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/selling-sunset-netfix-real-estate-chrishell-stause-daily-schedule-2020-11">who also shared her schedule with Insider</a>.</p><p>Fitzgerald let Insider follow along for a look at an average day in her life.</p><h2>7 a.m.</h2><p>Coffee, coffee, coffee.</p><p>Fitzgerald isn't a morning person; she calls her coffee maker her best friend. She jokes that her husbandformer pastry chef and model turned "Selling Sunset" co-star Romain Bonnetis the opposite, likening him to the "energizer bunny," even early in the morning.</p><p>She and Bonnet, whose 2019 wedding aired on Season 2 of "Selling Sunset," recently moved from a West Hollywood apartment into <a href="https://realityblurb.com/2021/03/22/exclusive-selling-sunsets-mary-fitzgerald-moves-into-industrial-style-home-with-husband-romain-bonnet-see-photos/">an industrial-style three-bedroom rental house</a> in The Valley as they weigh whether to buy in the area.</p><p>After coffee cup one, she'll check emails and texts to catch up on messages from overseas clients in places like Dubai and Greece that flooded her inbox overnight as well as check in on pending deals. Then it's time to go over the agenda for the day and figure out what client meetings or showings are on the calendar before she checks in with her assistant.</p><p>After a second cup of coffee, Fitzgerald preps herself for the day ahead, jam-packed with a mix of showings, show tapings, social engagements, and property inspections.</p><h2>9 a.m.</h2><p>Because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Fitzgerald works from home more than she normally would.</p><p>Clients like herself and Bonnet, who are looking for more space, have become more and more interested in the area once relegated to <a href="https://guestofaguest.com/los-angeles/movies/our-favorite-la-references-from-clueless">the butt of "Clueless" jokes</a>. The pandemic spurred a new appreciation for The Valley, where buyers can get more square footage, spacious backyards, and extra amenities for their budgets compared with more established spots like Venice Beach.</p><p>"I just sold three homes over the summer here and the land there It's a hot spot. All the land values are going up so fast that it's not even going to be affordable [in the coming years]," Fitzgerald <a href="https://realityblurb.com/2021/03/22/exclusive-selling-sunsets-mary-fitzgerald-moves-into-industrial-style-home-with-husband-romain-bonnet-see-photos/">told RealityBlurb</a> in March. "Everyone is moving to this side [of LA]. Schools are great. It's close to studios. You get more for your money and there's a bunch of restaurants and shops that are all popping up. It's becoming very cute. It's not the same as it used to be, the typical Valley kind of vibe. It's very charming. It's a good investment."</p><p>Basing herself there makes local showings a five- or 10-minute drive away. (That's practically nothing in Los Angeles travel time.)</p><p>A few days a week, though, she'll stop by the Oppenheim Group office in West Hollywood. A centerpiece of the show, it's located just off of LA's famed Sunset Boulevard. There, she sees Stause as well as fellow agents Christine Quinn, Heather Rae Young, Maya Vander, Davina Potratz, and Amanza Smith, plus twin brothers and agency owner-brokers Jason and Brett Oppenheim.</p><p><img src="https://static3.businessinsider.com/image/60677e44856cd700198a2ff3-2400/GettyImages-1153529352.jpg" border="0" alt="selling sunset cast" data-mce-source="Michael Bezjian/Contributor/Getty Images"></p><p>Fitzgerald said real estate-centered reality series like "Selling Sunset" don't capture the more tedious tasks brokers have to complete to keep the deals flowing.</p><p>"There's a lot of grind that goes into it you dont see on the show," she said, pointing to all the paperwork that needs to be filed, drafted, or sent to lawyers on behalf of clients to buy or sell any house as examples.</p><p>Despite the amount to do, the time spent at her desk is typically brief.</p><p>"If you're in the office the entire day, you're probably not very successful," she said, adding that the busiest agents are out and about, networking with current and potential clients as well as showing properties.</p><h2>12 p.m.</h2><p>Fitzgerald grabs lunch, usually a salad or smoothie.</p><p>In pre-COVID times, she said Jason Oppenheim (who, besides being her boss, is a former flame) tries to take everyone in the office to lunch almost every day for bonding and team-building. Despite any cattiness or infighting the show might spotlight, the office has a close-knit feel, Fitzgerald said, adding that Jason is probably the "smartest person I've ever met."</p><p>Lunchtime is busy, Fitzgerald said, adding that people try to schedule viewings in between rush hours, when LA's notorious freeway traffic is the least snarled. Twilight showingstimed at sunset, when the light glows golden and views over LA County seem luminousare also popular.</p><p>Fitzgerald is currently marketing <a href="https://www.zillow.com/homes/135-Via-Marina-Marina-Del-Rey,-CA,-90292_rb/20487972_zpid/">a four-bedroom, seven-bathroom house</a> in the waterfront neighborhood of Marina Del Rey. Listed for $7.19 million, the 5,443-square-foot property boasts a prime location just blocks from the Pacific Ocean, sandwiched between bustling Santa Monica to the north and LAX airport to the south.</p><p>That neighborhood is part of an area called Silicon Beach, which Fitzgerald said is popular among tech executives and companies. Though the moniker for Marina Del Ray, Santa Monica, and Venice Beach <a href="https://dot.la/silicon-beach-los-angeles-moniker-2645283910/particle-1">is relatively recent</a>, it's effectively Southern California's counterpart to Silicon Valley.</p><p>One of the sales Fitzgerald recently closed, meanwhile, is <a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CL-Me9SF9wd/'utm_source=ig_embed">a contemporary farmhouse</a> with a home theater, a backyard pool, and a tricked-out outdoor space in a neighborhood just east of Beverly Hills called Beverly Grove.</p><div><h1></h1> <blockquote class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-version="3" style=" background:#FFF; border:0; border-radius:3px; box-shadow:0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; width:100%; max-width:100%; padding:0; width:99.375%; width:-webkit-calc(100% - 2px); width:calc(100% - 2px); width:540px"> <div style="padding:8px;"> <div style=" background:#F8F8F8; line-height:0; margin-top:40px; padding:50% 0; text-align:center; width:100%;"> <div style=" background:url(data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAACwAAAAsCAMAAAApWqozAAAAGFBMVEUiIiI9PT0eHh4gIB4hIBkcHBwcHBwcHBydr+JQAAAACHRSTlMABA4YHyQsM5jtaMwAAADfSURBVDjL7ZVBEgMhCAQBAf//42xcNbpAqakcM0ftUmFAAIBE81IqBJdS3lS6zs3bIpB9WED3YYXFPmHRfT8sgyrCP1x8uEUxLMzNWElFOYCV6mHWWwMzdPEKHlhLw7NWJqkHc4uIZphavDzA2JPzUDsBZziNae2S6owH8xPmX8G7zzgKEOPUoYHvGz1TBCxMkd3kwNVbU0gKHkx+iZILf77IofhrY1nYFnB/lQPb79drWOyJVa/DAvg9B/rLB4cC+Nqgdz/TvBbBnr6GBReqn/nRmDgaQEej7WhonozjF+Y2I/fZou/qAAAAAElFTkSuQmCC); display:block; height:44px; margin:0 auto -44px; position:relative; top:-22px; width:44px;"></div> </div> <p style="color:#c9c8cd; font-size:14px; line-height:17px; margin-bottom:0; margin-top:8px; overflow:hidden; padding:8px 0 7px; text-align:center; text-overflow:ellipsis; white-space:nowrap;"><a href="https://instagram.com/p/CL-Me9SF9wd/" style=" color:#c9c8cd; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:normal; line-height:17px; text-decoration:none;" target="_top">A post shared by Mary Fitzgerald (@themaryfitzgerald)</a>on <time style=" font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px;" datetime=""></time></p> </div> </blockquote> <script async defer src="//platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.js"></script></div><p></p><p>A buyer snatched it up for $3.82 million earlier this year.</p><p>The frenzy usually winds down by 6 p.m. If Fitzgerald is working on a big project or has a late client meeting, she will keep up the fast pace until 8 or 9 p.m.</p><p>It's not all cocktails and canapes. To really succeed, Fitzgerald said, agents need to constantly meet new people, forge meaningful connections, and turn on the charm to be personable and memorable.</p><h2>8 p.m.</h2><p>Back at home, it's dinner time. "I'm not a good cook, Romain is much better than I am," Fitzgerald said. "He's a hustler. I burn everything!"</p><p>The couple order out or make something easy and healthy, like elaborate salads. "He's a meat guy, and I'm not. We have different palates," she joked. "We always agree on pasta and pizza, though."</p><p>Fitzgerald said she and Bonnet often continue chipping away at their respective to-d0 lists after dinner until bedtime.</p><p>With Fitzgerald as inspiration, Bonnet pulled off a career shift from chef to real-estate project manager over the last three years. He works on a number of of Jason Oppenheim's new-build development projects, and oversees renovations, which includes managing face-lifts for properties about to list that increase their value.</p><p><img src="https://static4.businessinsider.com/image/605cdbc8106eb50019d05a6d-2400/IMG_9946%20(1).JPG" border="0" alt="mary fitzgerald" style="color: #000000;" data-mce-source="Aria Askari">Bonnet fields calls throughout the evening to plan out his next day while Fitzgerald talks to her own clients, who range from entrepreneurs to young families. In the early morning and evenings, she can touch base with Europe- and Asia-based buyers and sellers. One of her newest clients, <a href="https://pagesix.com/2021/03/13/mary-fitzgeralds-newest-client-is-braunwyn-windham-burke/">as Page Six reported</a>, is a fellow Southern Californian: "Real Housewives of Orange County" star Braunwyn Windham-Burke. </p><h2>10 p.m.</h2><p>Before bed, Fitzgerald and Bonnet decompress by watching TV togethermost recently the series "All American," a sports drama about a high school football player in LA, and Netflix's banter-filled mother-daughter show "Ginny and Georgia." "It's super fun, I really like it," Fitzgerald said of the comedy, adding that she loves a "feel-good" show, and prefers to stay away from anything scary or gory.</p><h2>12 a.m.</h2><p>Time for bed.</p><p><a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/mary-fitzgerald-selling-sunset-los-angeles-real-estate-agent-schedule-2021-4#comments">Join the conversation about this story &#187;</a></p> <p>NOW WATCH: <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/what-its-like-travel-during-coronavirus-outbreak-planes-airports-virus-2020-3">Here's what it's like to travel during the coronavirus outbreak</a></p>
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