Gay real-estate mogul Josh Flagg talks love, life and million-dollar houses in Out Front Colorado interview
March 23, 2011 | 9:00 am
(Updated: June 13, 2012 | 10:03 pm)
By Matt Kailey
If you have a million dollars – or more – Josh Flagg has a house to sell you. The real- estate mogul who started selling high-end listings right after graduating high school has amassed a small fortune, snagged a spot on Bravo’s Million Dollar Listing, published one book, Stories My Grandmother Told Me, and has just released his second.
Million Dollar Agent: Brokering the Dream describes Flagg’s unique childhood, his lavish lifestyle – and his coming out. That’s right – by the time you read this, Flagg will have come out on Million Dollar Listing, the hit show that follows the lives of three of Los Angeles’ hottest young real estate magnates-in-the-making as they increase their fortunes selling multi-million dollar properties in the most exclusive neighborhoods – Hollywood, Malibu and Beverly Hills.
But Million Dollar Agent is more than a memoir – it’s also a how-to book for those who want to make it in the real estate world. Below, Flagg gives us a mini-tour of his life. For the full open house, check out the book and the show.
Matt Kailey: How long have you been with your partner and what made you decide to officially come out now? Is this a surprise or has your sexual orientation been sort of an “open secret”?
Josh Flagg: Colton and I have been together for over three years now. As far as coming out, my friends have known since I was 17. I know that I am not the most flamboyant individual and I know my sexuality to some would be puzzling, especially after seeing me interact with women on the show, but basically it comes down to this – I’ve always been very comfortable with sex and my sexuality. So having fun in a club is just that – having fun.
When it came time to announcing it on television, I thought it would be best to leave that one open for interpretation. I don’t wear a sign on my forehead that says, “Hey, guys, I’m a homo.” It is not what defines me. It just so happens that I am gay and it is a part of who I am. I did not want to categorize myself on the show as “the gay guy.” I just wanted to be me. What you see on the show is me and nothing else.
MK: I know we’ll get a lot of the scoop in your new book, but what was the biggest influence for you with regard to going into real estate?
JF: I love houses. I did not want to become an architect or an interior designer because I did not want a bunch of Beverly Hills women telling me how to decorate their living room. In my career, I get everything I want – the big houses, the fun people and, I guess, pretty nice paychecks.
MK: The press release for your book mentions your “unique childhood.” Can you give us a teaser about this?
JF: Unique is an understatement. I say in jest that I did not have a childhood because I was a 45-year-old gay man from day one.
Firstly, my interests as a child were not in, say, baseball and pizza, but rather in St. Moritz and Hermes saddles. I always had a taste for the finer things in life. When the other kids were playing soccer, I was redecorating their mothers’ living rooms. Other kids wore shorts and sneakers in summer – I would wear a turtleneck and a blazer. Kids wanted videogames at Christmas. I wanted silk pajamas from France. And you know, the funniest thing is that my parents had no idea I was gay until I came out to them! I know what you are thinking – were they blind and deaf?
MK: You have said yourself that the real estate market could be down for a few more years, but you are living it up now. Are you worried that everything might crash around you? And what if it does?
JF: I am not concerned. Everything that goes up must come down, and it is always this way. I am very smart with my money and I am very fortunate to have a wonderful family that supports all my crazy endeavors.
MK: What is the difference between selling a $100,000 house and a $1 million house? Is there a difference in the way you would sell these two properties? And what are the differences in the clientele with regard to these two properties?
JF: To be honest, I don’t know, because I have never sold a $100,000 house, but I would imagine it is quite different. I specialize in high-end real estate because that is what I know and that is what I enjoy, and I think everyone is entitled to do what they enjoy.
MK: You are incredibly young to be so successful in the real estate game. What’s your secret, and what is one tip you have for other real estate agents who look at your position with envy?
JF: The only difference is that some people are better at promoting themselves and their business. Take, for instance, music artists. Do you think all the famous music artists are better than everyone else? Or rather that they were just lucky to be discovered. There is so much undiscovered talent out there, it’s scary. It’s mostly about making the most of media opportunities and, of course, timing.
MK: What is the one tip you would give to someone wanting to sell a house now?
JF: If you can hold off selling right now, do it and rent out your house until the market recovers.
MK: Now that you’ve officially come out, do you think it will hurt you in any way, business-wise? Are there clients who won’t deal with a gay agent?
JF: I am lucky that I live in a very “gay-friendly” city. It may hurt my business, but I really don’t care. I don’t want to work with someone who has a problem with my lifestyle anyway.
MK: What is the hardest house you have ever had to sell?
JF: I had to do a probate sale for the late Hollywood manager and publicist Jay Bernstein. That was a tough one.
MK: What else would you like to say?
JF: I just finished my book, which I believe will really appeal to people who have an interest in Beverly Hills, Hollywood, my life and how I got to where I have. It starts at the beginning and is really an interesting coming-of-age story. I also really appreciate everyone who has given me their support on Facebook and Twitter – and be sure to check into the show, which has now moved to Tuesday nights.