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These are hard times for real estate agents, so starring in a reality show doesn’t hurt. Josh Flagg was one of three sellers on season four of Bravo’s “Million Dollar Listing,” which wrapped at the end of March – just as he came out and released a memoir. The book, “Million Dollar Agent: Brokering the Dream,” doesn’t only chronicle his life, though. It’s a resource for homebuyers based on the 25-year-old’s experiences of selling swanky real estate in California hotspots.
Flagg spoke recently about the decision to publicly come out, his tips for homebuyers and why he doesn’t talk about the celebrities he’s sold to.
So the whole world knows you’re gay now.
I think you’d have to be Helen Keller not to know that already.
Because you’re on a Bravo show?
Real estate agent, Bravo show – it’s kind of obvious.
Oh. Are a lot of real estate agents gay?
Yeah. You’ve never heard that?
I haven’t. Did you watch your coming out episode?
Of course. I liked the way it was done. It wasn’t a big to-do, just very casual.
And it’s on record now. Most of us don’t have proof of our coming out.
Yeah, there’s not much I can do about it now. (Laughs)
Why did you put it off for so long?
Because I didn’t want to mix my personal life with my business life. I like to keep that stuff private. I mean, it’s not like I walk around with a sign on my forehead. It’s probably my own comfort level, but I’m happy and now is the right time, so I did it.
Has there been talk of a fifth season of “Million Dollar Listing”?
That’s up to Bravo. They look at the numbers after the season. We’re not even at that stage yet.
Would you do another season?
Why did you decide to write your memoir now?
I’d already written my grandmother’s biography (“Stories My Grandmother Told Me”) and then my grandmother inspired me to write my own autobiography. I just started penning my memoirs, and by the time I was done we had so much that we had to take some out.
It’s my autobiography but it’s also a how-to guide. It breaks it up into many different chapters and it explains what to do and what not to do regarding selling property. It tells the reader how to get where I did but not so much in a lecture way. It’s not a step-by-step; it’s really casual. It’s an easy read, fun and entertaining. And it’s very blunt.
How did you get into real estate?
I was 18 and still in high school, and I really liked architecture and I wanted to be involved with high-end listings in Beverly Hills.
Have you sold to any celebrities?
Yeah, I get that question a lot, but I keep all my clients confidential because people trust me. No one has ever said, “Go ahead and tell people that you sold me a house,” so I just keep that private.
One of the first things that comes up when you Google your name are those theft allegations from 2008, when you were arrested for stealing art from your clients. The case was dismissed due to insufficient evidence, but do you feel like that affects your reputation professionally?
No, because if you Google it you know it wasn’t true. Within a few days it was thrown out. It is what it says – it did not happen. I don’t really want to comment on that because it’s just so long ago. That was an unfortunate thing.
What tips can you give someone who’s in the market for a new home?
Don’t settle for something just because it’s the best thing out there. Unless you’re in desperate need to move this second don’t just jump right into it. It’s not like a slice of pizza that you can return if it doesn’t taste good.
Your boyfriend also works with homes – he’s an interior designer. Does this have anything to do with why you’re a couple?
No – but it’s an added benefit.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Hopefully I’m alive! I don’t know. Happy, traveling around the world. I really enjoy what I do. It’s fun for me, so I want to continue doing what I do and be able to do it in the way that I do it now – having lots of free time, traveling, having my own schedule. It’s very comfortable.
Is there a plus to using a gay real estate agent?
If you’re a professional and you know what you’re doing, that’s all that counts. It makes no difference if you’re gay, straight, black, white, Jewish, Christian. Whatever you are, it makes no difference. If you’re gay and you’re more comfortable going with somebody who’s gay I guess it can be beneficial, but I know personally I go with whoever is the smartest or who knows what they’re talking about.
When do you think real estate will start to climb again?
No one who can answer that question because nobody has a crystal ball. Anybody who says they can isn’t telling you the truth. People can speculate, but people’s speculations are usually wrong. People say that it’s turning around, but it hasn’t turned around yet. Prices are still really low. Brace for impact.