‘You’re dealing with a lot of egos in this business…’: Luxe Listings Sydney makes its debut

After spending the last 15 years shamelessly indulging in the reality shows of the luxury property market (and their over-the-top agents) of Los Angeles and New York, finally, it’s Australia’s turn. 

As Luxe Listings Sydney hits our screens, streaming on Amazon Prime, many of us have been squealing in anticipation, waiting to see the homes of the super-rich, the ridiculous commissions and the egos that come with selling the country’s priciest property. 

When the cast list dropped in May, it was the worst kept secret in the industry that Gavin Rubinstein (TRG – Ray White) would be starring along with Simon Cohen (Cohen Handler) and D’Leanne Lewis (Laing + Simmons), not that anyone had any idea on how to pronounce our leading lady’s name. After the first episode, you will not forget it; it rhymes with Queen and we’re all OK with that.

Let’s Recap Episode 1

So let’s settle in for our first 50-minute ride of panoramic harbour view shots, slow motion agent walks to rap music and petty bickering over who really is real estate royalty. 

All we can think is that the Lords of Property Insta will have a month’s worth of content and we’re only two minutes in.

You guys who are new to the industry – we hope you have your pens ready, school is in session. 

Gav leads us off with a stack of industry one-liners like “the best defence is a strong offence” etc etc while the rest of the Avengers assemble at some magnificent property in Point Piper.

Oliver: Why are we here?

Cae: Must be something big, man…

Um… newsflash everyone. You’re on the telly.

And then there are shades of Charlie’s Angels as we see Gav in the lambo on the phone to Remi who is juggling her iPhone along with a couple of bottles of vintage Dom, “helllooooo GR…”

Cut to Cae

“Is that marble in the pool?”

Probably, because, like, we’re in Point Piper.

Gavin finally arrives on set and demands to know from our assembled real estate superheroes if anyone knows what day today is.

Everyone blinks and nods slowly and the camera work makes it look like they are all literally trying to remember what day of the week it is. 

But the anticipation has built enough that we know it’s something more – it’s the one year anniversary of TRG (which actually happened back in 2020 meaning this series was actually filmed some time ago).

Gavin tells us about the things that make him super successful, like his diet, eating risk for breakfast (add to cart) and doing “What it takes” which clearly includes wearing sunglasses inside.

Next, we meet Simon Cohen in a blue beemer who we haven’t seen much of since AREC 2018. You guys remember, right?

Moving along, Simon reminds us all he is the top buyer’s agent in Australia in the top end of the marketplace.

Simon tells his client that he’s going to “nail this deal at the lowest possible price” but instead nearly ends up nailing a bird on his windscreen. Literally.

Cut to a 5 bed 3 bath in Dover Heights with a listing price of $10m, where Gav seems more concerned about losing his “blue shades” than helping Ops manager Shani open the massive sliding glass door at the property.

“You’ve got to put it right into the cavity every time, right?” 

Ew. Who approved this dialogue?

Shani feels the same, grabs the Windex and pretends to polish an already polished tabletop. 

Meanwhile, in walks Simon, ready to rain all over it like Dad’s or semi-professional-amateur-laid-a-brick-once builders do, when they inspect homes on behalf of their kids. 

Now it’s time for a tour of the property that we mere mortals could only dream of and Simon carries on like a duck, waddling, quacking and crapping all over everything. 

Simon: “There’s absolutely no way we’ll be paying $12 million dollars.”

Simon: “This pool is right on the main road..”.

Gavin: “Where’s the main road?”

Simon: “Come on Gavin, Hop on my shoulders, we’ll take another look…

Simon throws in a low-ball offer and Gav isn’t having any of it, he has already swung a near 30 per cent price drop from the vendors (the first agent clearly bought that listing) so, to auction, it will go.

Rap music fades to Beyoncé, meaning it’s time to shine the spotlight on D’Leanne, who is off to interview a new intern. 

The intern, Daniela, is a property manager, so changing meeting times is all in a day’s work already for her.

D’Leanne answers the phone mid-meeting gets rid of the caller and then says she’s going to put the phone on silent. We’re picturing it the caller was actually Kyle Sandilands dishing out a few reality TV tips from his Trial by Kyle experience – but we guess we’ll never know.

The rest of the time is spent on repeat warning Daniela about the requirement to work hard, but we already know she’s a property manager and they totally get hard work. Although we are just a tad concerned about her definition of real estate ‘cause last time we looked, property management is real estate, ok? 

But Daniela has genuine stars in her eyes…

Daniela: “You’ve won so many awards…”

D’Leanne: “Yeah. Yeah”.

Us: Queen

Queen D’Leanne pulls Daniela back down to earth with all the real estate clichés again but at least she leaves some nuggets of genuine industry advice for Daniela.

“Don’t get caught up in the glitz. There’s a lot of show ponies in this business.”

Um… why are we here again?

Now it’s back to Bondi and the Rubinstein brothers are going for a regular shirtless jog along the esplanade. They talk about workouts and mental toughness and looking good but to be honest we weren’t listening to this because we’re too shallow.

Anyway…  Gavin throws some serious shade at our Queen and Jarryd throws shade at pretty much everyone. This is what we signed up for.

Then, for a moment it truly feels like we’ve switched shows and can’t explain why there are what appears to be out-takes from Bondi Rescue two seasons ago on screen. But it’s short, and we cut to Vaucluse where Simon appears for a viewing of one of D’Leanne’s properties, known as the Art House.

At circa $7m, the duck begins waddling again.

“This kitchen is a letdown. Cookie-cutter,” says Simon.

D’Leanne is having none of it and tells us what she believes is his MO. However, he actually commits to her that he will come back for a second inspection with buyers. Great job Simon. 

While it’s TRG’s first anniversary, it’s actually Simon planning a party for Cohen Handler’s 10-year anniversary, but D’Leanne hasn’t RSVP’d, yet.

“I support Simon, but there are a hundred things I’d rather be doing than being on a boat with a whole bunch of real estate agents,” she laments.

“I’d rather spend time with my children.”

Yas Queen. We hear you.

We then get the privilege of riding shotgun with Simon and his team going to his family home for Shabbat dinner, while enjoying their high brow conversation about teeth whitening and caffeine tablets. 

Memo to the producers: We would like these minutes of our lives back. 

We finally make it to the family home, which is 100 per cent wholesome and surprisingly scandalous, his parents are a HR nightmare. 

They interrogate Tammy (Simon’s associate) about Simon’s love life and for a hot minute, we’re not sure if they are accusing them of something going on. 

Never mind, Tammy talks about how she is getting married. Scandal avoided. Simon’s parents are super sweet. HR have stopped their shvitzing along with everyone else and have gone back to resume their evening, viewers are left slightly disappointed and now we are headed to the crescendo of the episode…

The yacht party 

Celebrating 10 years of his company, Simon invites our main players to a fabulous yacht party with a bag of witty one-liners and pre-prepared come-backs on a $40m yacht. This is the perfect storm moment, with alcohol, and no way to exit. 

The Avengers assemble once again and settle in to enjoy their afternoon. And as alcohol consumption rises so does the level of verbal jousting.

Then there are speeches and what looks like a $30 Costco cake to mark the occasion. Then comes the usual blah blah of who is better and who called Fair Trading on whom.

Some random woman in a g-banger hops in the spa trying to coax one of Gav’s minions in (Cae), but he doesn’t want to get his cardigan wet. He is too busy focussing on his hustle and trying to extend an olive branch to Queen D’Leanne, but like any woman scorned, our Queen leaves Cae with his branch hanging.

After the party, it’s back to work with Gav and we head off to the Dover Heights no-pee-privacy palace for auction day. Apparently, Gav doesn’t know the reserve yet. While bidders are registering he is on the phone to Mr Vendor. This is slightly alarming. 

Damien Cooley makes a guest appearance and says a few Damien Cooley things and so does that hideous tie. Disclaimer, huge fans of DC but the uniform corporate bright coloured tie trend needs to stop. 

It looks like we are gearing up for one heck of an auction, with plenty of exhibitionists interested, but just like that the producers pull the rug from us faster than the career of D’Leanne’s next intern and now we have to wait until the next episode.

See you next week.

Nikki Horner is an Executive Assistant in the competitive and glamorous market of Canberra – who has written for Elite Agent a number of times when a celebrity demands it. 

Samantha McLean is the Editor of Elite Agent and is pretty certain everyone will read this piece with the love and humour it was written with.

All images courtesy of Amazon Prime.

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Nikki Horner

Nikki Horner is a real estate agent with 5 years experience and writes for Elite Agent every now and then when celebrity demands it

Samantha McLean

Samantha McLean is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of Elite Agent and Host of the Elevate Podcast.