Since the start of December, high-end real-estate agents and stars of Bravo’s Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles, David Parnes and James Harris have been in search of a home for one of their most recognizable clients to date: Ginger Fred. The gingerbread man and his wife Gingerella have a baby gingerbread boy on the way and are in need of a new home. Looking to settle down somewhere between the Los Angeles and San Francisco areas before Christmas, Fred decided to call on the expertise of Parnes and Harris. “We were sitting there one afternoon not expecting anything and there he was calling,” says Parnes. “He’s actually a really nice guy.”
In partnership with Trulia.com, the co-founders of the premium real estate service company, Bond Street Partners, set out to find a home that would be an ideal fit for such a unique family. “Obviously, we want to put them in a nice, cool location, because we don’t want them to melt,” says Harris. “We want them to be close to good schools, shops, restaurants, and who knows, Ginger Fred may want to go for a Vodka Red Bull, so we need to put him near bars.”
Haute Residence recently hopped on the phone with the real-estate tandem to talk about house hunting with Ginger Fred, Christmas plans, and the pressures of having to find celebrities vacation homes during the holiday season.
Haute Residence: How can those following Ginger Fred‘s house-hunting journey potentially receive some dough?
James Harris: So Trulia had decided that they’d give away $2,000 for 12 days. Everybody that goes to Trulia.com/gingerbread can actually sign up and leave their information. Each day someone is contacted and awarded $2,000.
HR: I assume that some of your celebrity clients can be pretty demanding. What has been one of the most memorable requests that you guys have received during the holiday season?
JH: We have to find celebrities homes that are in other countries, and we sometimes have a one-week window to find these homes where we can’t even walk the property. Typically, around the holidays, celebrities will come to us not necessarily to buy a home, but for a vacation rental. With a vacation rental we have to be very careful. We must make sure it is a clean house, a private house, and a well-managed house with only have three, four, or five days to find the right fit for the celebrity, so we are under immense pressure to deliver. Those are probably the most interesting requests.
HR: What are three holiday decorations that should be in everyone’s home for the holidays?
JH: Stockings. Lots of stockings! They‘re always filled with gifts.
David Parnes: A Christmas tree. They look amazing and they smell amazing. I love everything about a Christmas tree, and I love even the decorating part, which I don’t do. My fiancé does it and she’s really good at it. She designs. I help [laughs]. Also, a big fat turkey or a honey-baked ham. We had honey-baked ham for Thanksgiving. I’m Jewish and I still ate it. It was incredible [laughs].
HR: What do you guys have planned for Christmas?
JH: I’m heading off to Bolivia with my wife and two children Chloe and Sofia. My wife is from Bolivia. We’re going to Santa Cruz. We’ll be very far away, my cell phone will be turned off, and I’ll be relaxing and enjoying time with my wife, children, and family.
DP: I’ll be going to London on Christmas day. I can’t wait. I’m going to be with my parents. I’m flying there with my fiancé. It’s going to be freezing cold, which is what I love during Christmas. I am really looking forward to that.
HR: What’s one Christmas tradition that you’d hope to pass down to your children?
DP: Be together and stick with the family. I think the best holidays I’ve ever spent were with the family. With me living in Los Angeles and my parents living in London, it’s nice to be able to spend the holidays with them, so I would definitely encourage my kids to be around as much as possible.
JH: For me, Christmas is a time where most people really are unwinding and spending time with family. They’re eating breakfasts, lunches, and dinners together and actually enjoying each other’s time. Being together is what my children are extremely excited about this year.
HR: You guys are on your second season with Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles. How has the experience been so far?
DP: It’s been amazing. It’s been a huge learning curve, because when you get to watch yourself on television, you can see how you are perceived by other people. It creates a lot of self-awareness. As far as on a business level, it’s been such an amazing opportunity and such incredible exposure. We’ve had the chance to grow in such a public way, establish and develop more relationships, and grow our business. We’ve increased our turnover by over 50 to 60 million per year increase based on the year before, so hopefully we’ll be doing over $300 million in the next couple of years. We’re very, very happy, honored, and privileged to be a part of it.