Q&A With Josh Flagg, Real Estate Agent and Star of 'Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles':

What's the secret to making a high-stakes transaction go smoothly?
Josh: It's like a dance. Everyone has to be happy. The buyer has to be happy; the seller has to be happy. You kind of have to be a therapist for both parties ... You can't just give all your attention to one side. Even if you're just representing that side.
You recently sold Adam Levine's home (of Maroon 5) for $5 million. Just another client or special case?
Josh: Nothing special. Just a regular client looking for a nice house in Beverly Hills. He closed escrow and tore the house down.
With the high-profile homes you've represented like the Merv Griffin property or the Dorothy Chandler Estate, are those more dynamic deals or do they require the same TLC as any other deal?
Josh: Every deal requires the same attention -- it doesn't matter what price range you're at because everybody who wants to sell their house has the same expectations and same demands of me. Whether it's a $100 million house or $1 million, it really makes no difference. The house is usually their biggest asset and they want that attention they deserve.
I love on the show that you're the one guy who never takes it too seriously. Does that attitude attract a certain sort of seller to you?
Josh: I don't know. It attracts a lot of oddballs. I mean, they're all fun though. I take my job very seriously ... I guess I'm just a little more relaxed and not as high strung as other people.
When selling a house, you often have "a hook" when you're staging it for other agents. How important is that?
Josh: It obviously works. Look at the houses I've sold, I have a good track record... Sometimes you don't need a hook, it just depends on the kind of property. If it's a slam dunk ... you don't need to do that.
What's the secret to making your house stand out of the MLS clutter?
Josh: There are a lot of little tricks. For instance, taking an aerial photograph of the property as the main photograph of the property; people get to see the depth of the property, how big it is. I think that's a great tool rather than just putting a picture of the front of the house. I think the verbiage in your description is important. People clutter it up with a lot of BS, they use a lot big fancy words to describe something that's really not that special. If you really just focus on the things that are important, that's going to get you a little bit further ... If the house is good, it's going to sell.
What do you think is the most important thing someone can do to their house before putting it on the market?
Josh: I would say clean it up for sure. There's nothing people hate more than a messy house. Definitely make sure it's tidy. Make it presentable, if there's clutter everywhere, nobody's going to want to look through it. First perception is the most important thing.
Where would you place curb appeal on the hierarchy of things?
Josh: That goes under cleaning up also obviously. Make sure the house is cleaned up on the outside as well as the inside.
Describe your typical day when the cameras are off?
Josh: I wake up and go to the office and usually nothing that I expect to happen happens during the day. I get a call for a listing appointment and they want you to be there in 15 minutes. It's not like a normal 8-5 job where I know what's going to happen. Of course I have all my appointments, but in between those appointments, other things come up. Somebody needs to see a house, somebody needs to get in; somebody wants to list their property. So it's never the same thing -- every day's a different day.
'Million Dollar Listing' leads you to believe that you guys have no (or very little) contact other than what's on the show between you, Josh and Madison. That true or more part of the staged part of it?
Josh: No, that's true. We see each other, you can't capture everything on camera because there's just too much footage, but of course we see each other ... (he pauses) that's so funny, I just saw Josh Altman drive right by me ... our offices are separated by an alleyway.
Are you ever concerned that the drama that's portrayed on the show to keep the ratings up is in conflict with the best interests of the owners you represent?
Josh: No, because the drama that I'm involved with ... I'm always right. (He laughs).
So you're portrayed 100% accurate to who you are?
Josh: Well, when there's drama, whatever the drama is, I feel that I'm always in the right. And I'm usually not involved in drama unless it's somehow been forced upon me. I don't seek out drama, and I think the other characters are more privy to drama, but if I am brought into it, it's only because I can't help it and I'm usually in the right.
On 'Million Dollar Listing: New York', I've noticed their candids seem a lot more revealing in terms of information that maybe their clients would not like...
Josh: People have different personalities. You see their true colors and you see our true colors on the show. I think a lot of characters on my show are very similar to the New York characters ... I try mostly to just keep my clients best interests [at heart] regardless of how it looks or doesn't look on camera.
I like the chances you take on the show. Are calculated risks an underutilized tactic when selling homes?
Josh: I don't really calculate ... I'm just kind of impulsive. I just do what I think is right.
What's the number #1 misstep people usually make in a real estate negotiation?
Josh: Probably showing your cards too soon. If you have a blank slate on your face and you can't really tell what the person is thinking, you usually have the upper hand. When I'm negotiating, I try to stay as calm and collected as possible.
Is there a place for emotion as a real estate agent?
Josh: Oh yeah, there is. When the deal is done, when you achieve what you want, then you can show your emotions. But when you're trying to make the deal happen, you try to stay as calm and collected as possible.
When you guys are negotiating the end of a deal, when you're trying to find that final number, does the presence of cameras ever slow down the process?
Josh: No, if you notice, I don't look at the cameras. I'm not paying attention -- I'm just paying attention to what I'm doing. The cameras are just there.
Be honest, are you wearing your monogrammed slippers right now?
Josh: I'm wearing my slippers, but they're not monogrammed. They're just checkered today.
When America 'watches what happens' to Josh Flagg next season (Aug. 7) on 'Million Dollar Listing' -- what will they be most surprised about?
Josh: There's a lot going on in our personal lives. For each character actually. The interaction between all the characters this season is more than it's ever been. I think in previous seasons it's been more about the real estate. But this season ... it delves more into our personal lives, which I like.
Are you able to talk yet about what happens for you personally?
Josh: No I can't.
Stepped on that landmine. In terms of the agent/client relationship and how that looks on the final cut, what we see ... what would you say they are notorious for not showing?
Josh: You only have 45 minutes with commercials to show. You have to cut out a lot of stuff. There's just not enough room for it [all]. Every little detail isn't shown because you just don't have time for it. They're pretty good at conveying the most important parts -- they never let anything that's important get missed.
Your grandmother is one of the best parts of the show ... she's like the sage, the wise person, the voice of reason ... Was that uncomfortable initially to have her involved with the show? Or did she want to be involved?
Josh: My grandmother doesn't care. She's done a lot of press before. She's very easy going and happy to share her wisdom with [our] viewers.
Do buyers and sellers put too much trust in their real estate agents?
Josh: It's hard to answer that because I know so many real estate agents that don't conduct themselves in a manner that I would expect them to. If I was using them as my broker, I would feel very alarmed. But I know the way I do it, I would be lucky to have somebody like myself...
A lot of trust revolves around paperwork. There's just so much paperwork with a transaction of this kind...
Josh: Paperwork is the least important. You can have a transaction coordinator that does all that stuff. It's really like conducting an orchestra. You have to make the deal happen and you have to keep it alive ... You have to be good at what you do, and if you like what you do, then you're good at what you do.
How important is it when you're interviewing real estate agents to go with somebody who knows a specific neighborhood?
Josh: I think that's the most important thing. You have to work with somebody who knows the inventory. That's what it's all about.
Do you think houses should be sold even before they hit the market, in this market?
Josh: This year, I've done probably $50 million in houses that have been off the market. So, I guess that answers your question.
How can people/buyers get a hot lead on a house BEFORE it hits the market?
Josh: Get in touch with an agent and be on that agent's radar so when they see something, then they call you first. Call them all the time; talk to them.
When I was a kid, there was this flimsy blue book called 'Star Maps' that told you where the stars lived. I imagine your Star Maps app is way better than that...
Josh: Star Maps by Josh Flagg ... it's the only 100-percent accurate guide. The print edition is usually out of date ... People move and buy and sell real estate constantly, so it's always changing. And sometimes they're not even true. My app is always updated. It's accurate information.
Million Dollar Listing - NBCUniversal Watch the new season of 'Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles', premiering on August 7 at 9pm PST/8 Central on Bravo. You can follow Josh Flagg on Twitter @JoshFlagg1.

Find a Real Estate Agent Near You »