The reality of 'Selling Sunset': Cleaning toilets and no salary

Jayne Cherrington-Cook
·5 mins read
The cast of Netflix's Selling Sunset. (Netflix)
The cast of Netflix's Selling Sunset. (Netflix)

As one of the biggest shows on Netflix right now, Selling Sunset offers viewers a glimpse into the LA property world. The show follows The Oppenheim Group and the lives of their many glam realtors as they attempt to sell million-dollar properties.

Born from the scripted reality TV shows like The Hills and The Only Way Is Essex, it’s easy to assume that the show is all fake, however, that isn’t strictly the case according to ‘90s TV star Dani Behr. And she should know – the former TV presenter got her licence a few years back and is now a successful realtor in LA.

She says there is a huge amount of glamour in the LA property world.

“It's definitely common here to throw a big opening open house parties,” Behr revealed when speaking on White Wine Question Time.

Listen: Dani Behr reveals exactly what the life of an LA realtor is like

“I’ve been to some amazing premieres of properties where you've got the sushi trucks and you've got the barista coffees and you've got Lamborghinis in the driveway and you've got the circus artists in the hallway.

“They go all out all to just get people in the door. That's not a telly thing. They probably ham it up and go to town bigger for the show, obviously, but that's normal.”

Read more: Dani Behr made more money selling houses than on TV

Behr herself is no stranger to realtor reality TV – she regular appears on Million Dollar Listing LA – however, she does say that things are definitely blown up for the small screen.

Million Dollar Listing is fun, you know, it's TV,” she laughed. “Everything's cheated for TV for the most part.”

One thing that isn’t cheated on the show is that she knows the other realtors well and has worked with the likes of James Harris and David Parnes in the past.

“I know them quite well,” she told Thornton. “There's been a bunch of properties they've shown that they've listed, that they've shown with me and my buyers and vice versa. It's just kind of a small town and you kind of see the same people if you're working the same areas.”

Read more: Everything we know so far about season four of Selling Sunset

The 50-year-old who has lived in LA since 2000 says that while Selling Sunset’s The Oppenheim Group is real – citing the owners Brett and Jason as “tiny” – she’s not personally familiar with their now famous realtors such as Chrissell Stause and Christine Quinn.

The Oppenheim Brothers own the brokerage in Selling Sunset (Images: Getty Images)
The Oppenheim Brothers own the brokerage in Selling Sunset (Images: Getty Images)

“None of those girls ever worked there apparently before that show was developed – that was all done for the show” she speculated.

“I'm sure they're all licensed, but they were very much probably cast to make their office look very good and pretty.”

Read more: Selling Sunset's Christine Quinn Reveals the Truth About Her Over-the-Top Hairstyles

The realtors on the show have been hit by many claims that they are not ‘real’, however Stause hit back on Instagram recently, sharing a post from 2016 when she announced she had got her licence.

Selling Sunset (Netflix)
Selling Sunset (Netflix)

Sharing it on her Stories, Stause said: "People keep trying to hate on the show, which means it's a huge success! This post is still on my IG proving I have been licensed and working before being approached about #SellingSunset.”

Behr, who says that being a realtor in LA is “brutal”, said shows like Selling Sunset definitely don’t show the downside of the job.

“I would say part of the job of real estate and being a realtor is the weird s**t I have to do in someone else's house to get it ready,” declared Behr.

“I have to clean up their houses before I'm about to do a showing, including washing dishes, cleaning up their underwear, scrubbing the toilets.”

Read more: Million Dollar Listing first female broker on how to prevent buyer’s remorse

She continued: “People live like pigs! You can't believe how people live. People are disgusting. People are dirty.”

Then there’s the fact that the job is commission only, which is fine when you’re selling houses, but not so great when they aren’t shifting. Behr revealed she’s often worked for months without a sale and says there are also other upfront costs realtors have to consider such as lavish open house parties!

“We don't get paid until we sell a house, or a buyer buys a house, so when you're selling a house, all the expenses are on you,” she revealed to Thornton.

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 22: TV personalities Dani Behr (L) and Cat Deeley attend the 8th Annual BritWeek Launch Party at a private residence on April 22, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 22: TV personalities Dani Behr (L) and Cat Deeley attend the 8th Annual BritWeek Launch Party at a private residence on April 22, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

“I have to pay for everything up front, but if we don't sell it, I have to swallow the expenses. It's brutal, so that's why there's only a handful of people that really survive in it.”

The London-born star also runs her own TV production company with a friend, and the pair have written some real estate shows that are currently in development – including one that could be filmed a little bit closer to home.

“I've written a bunch of real estate shows that we're in development with various networks, which I love to do, but everything here takes three to five years for anything to happen. It's not a job. It's a hobby. My nine to five, Monday to Friday, is real estate and then weekends and evenings is TV.”

“We do have one that, with COVID happening hopefully we'll pick it back up again, for UK TV, which will be interesting.”

Hear Dani Behr as she looks back over her career and talks about her new life now on the latest episode of White Wine Question Time. Listen now on iTunes and Spotify.