Exclusive: Jason Oppenheim Opens Up About ‘Selling Sunset’ and What It’s Really Like Behind the Scenes

Jason Oppenheim opens up about his sordid past, his surprising route to real estate, and, best of all, behind-the-scenes happenings on “Selling Sunset.”

The post Exclusive: Jason Oppenheim Opens Up About ‘Selling Sunset’ and What It’s Really Like Behind the Scenes appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

If you’ve binge-watched the Netflix hit “Selling Sunset,” you’ve no doubt wondered: Is this sneak peek at Los Angeles’ cutthroat real estate scene for real?

For answers, we turned to Jason Oppenheim.

He, along with his identical twin brother, Brett, are the consummately cool forces behind the Oppenheim Group featured on “Selling Sunset,” which is reported to be the most viewed reality show on Netflix, ever. (Season 4 is set to premiere by the end of the year.)

Jason Oppenheim on set


In each episode, multimillion-dollar real estate deals are made and lost in the hills of Hollywood, as their team of silver-tongued and sharply dressed agents go to remarkable lengths to make a sale, all while trying to juggle their glamorous personal lives on the side.

But nothing is ever as meets the heavily mascara’d eye, is it? In real life, there are all sorts of things you may not know about this successful real estate business and the many personalities on the show.

There’s also a lot you may not know about the Oppenheim brothers—who, as kids, were thrown out of several high schools and into a few jail cells, too.

“My brother and I were incorrigible kids,” Jason confessed in a recent TEDx Talk. “We lacked respect for authority, fought incessantly. … We were just frustrated, constantly getting into trouble at home, at school, with our teachers, and even the police.”

Despite the best efforts of their single mother and a correctional camp, reformation and redemption took many years. It wasn’t until their Vietnam vet dad took over, raising them with military precision, that the Oppenheim boys began to change.

After graduating high school, Jason and Brett spent three years working and studying in junior college, then got into Berkeley to finish their undergrad work. At last they began to hit their stride, both graduating at the top of their class and going on to law school, graduating with honors, and embarking on promising careers practicing law.

Yet disillusionment with the legal system and three years of international travel followed before Jason ended up in real estate. He recalls starting at the very bottom, taking eight months to sell his first property, and living in a one-bedroom apartment with a roommate, trading off months sleeping on the couch. But soon enough, the deals and money started rolling in, with Brett and others joining in on the fun.

Brett and Jason Oppenheim, of the Oppenheim Group and “Selling Sunset”


Curious how Jason ended up where he is today as the real estate broker to L.A.’s rich and famous, we at Realtor.com recently had a chat with him. He opened up about “Selling Sunset” and much more that’ll make you see his show in a whole new light.

To many, having a reality show would be a dream come true. Is that how you feel about ‘Selling Sunset’?

Actually, no. My brother and I really didn’t want to do the show at first. While there were certainly some benefits from a good show, there was a lot of risk for us, so we erred on the side of caution and rejected several overtures from production companies and agents. Even when Adam DiVello—the creator of “The Hills”—called up, we still weren’t sold on the idea. But he convinced us to take a meeting at the office.

What finally changed your mind?

It was when we had the meeting with the team, and we all talked about it, and we got excited about it. It was a group decision. I saw what the show could do for members of the team that hadn’t reached their full potential yet, so I knew the show could be good for them.

It sounds like you’re really close to your real estate team.

There’s probably no cast on reality TV that’s closer off-camera than we are. I consider many of the people in this cast to truly be my best friends.

The Oppenheim team, in its famous office on Sunset Boulevard


So many reality shows create drama by having cast members bicker with each other. Are you saying it’s not like that on ‘Selling Sunset’?

It is a very stressful process, shooting a show, but going through it with your friends really makes it more fun. I think there’s a lot of trust. It makes it easier to expose that kind of vulnerability and to delve into personal topics that you might not otherwise be comfortable doing.

It seems there are some misconceptions about the show. What would you say is the biggest?

I think maybe when people see someone like Christine [Quinn] or Davina [Potratz] on the show, they make incorrect assumptions about who they are as people. I think they’re  loving and caring and great agents.They’re dynamic and controversial on camera, but they’re very good people. But it’s very easy for people to just judge based on a few hours of television. It’s easy for people to be mean on social media, because they’re not doing it to [your] face. I wish people would humanize people who they associate with on social media, instead of just being such dicks.

Christine Quinn, Heather Rae Young, and Davina Potratz


You’ve toured some really over-the-top houses on ‘Selling Sunset.’ What is the most extravagant thing you’ve seen in a home?

A house close to mine has a pretty impressive S&M room: A couple hundred square feet, padded in red leather, it’s everything that I would presume one would need. And it was a spec home! They designed it thinking that that was what some buyer would want. Unbelievable.

What are the best things you’ve seen in a home?

The things people build for themselves. They’re not limited by resale potential. French Montana‘s music studio, he did it for himself, so you’re talking about hundreds of thousands of dollars invested in amazing equipment. It’s beautiful.

What’s the weirdest thing that’s ever happened to you during a home showing?

I was showing a family a contemporary house in Hollywood Hills, and I opened up the closet door to show the walk-in closet, and two naked women ran out, across the hall into the bathroom, right in front of the family, right in front of the kids. I was mortified! The parents were super cool about it though, and de-escalated the situation by making a joke, and we just moved on.

Although you’re showing mansions to the elite on ‘Selling Sunset,’ what can everyday home buyers learn from the show?

That interacting with your agent is super important. It’s one of the most important financial relationships you have, because you’re dealing with one of your most valuable assets. It’s really important to pick the right real estate agent. They need to be smart enough to understand the market to keep you from making mistakes.

Do the kind of home buyers you work with often make mistakes?

It’s unbelievable how many mistakes wealthy people make. I think people assume that they know what they’re doing, but they don’t always. They may be good at whatever made them wealthy, but they’re not experts in real estate, although some think they are. I have seen some people where I think, “I can’t believe he paid that much for that house.” Then they end up selling it for much less. I’m honestly flabbergasted sometimes by the things that I see in the market.

Who are the nicest celebrities you’ve ever worked with?

I’ve really enjoyed working with Chloë [Grace] Moretz. I think she’s a thoughtful, intelligent woman. She’s got a really good head on her shoulders. I’ve also enjoyed working with Orlando Bloom for years. He’s very to the point, matter of fact about things. We’re very alike in a lot of ways. He’s a good businessman.

So what’s on the horizon for the Oppenheim Group and ‘Selling Sunset’?

We’re expanding and opening up a larger office in Newport Beach, and we’re in discussions with Netflix about another show involving that office. We’ve got 20 agents already, we have about 100 to 150 listings, and we haven’t even opened office doors yet.

So might that be convenient for Heather Rae Young, who’s engaged to Tarek El Moussa and based in that area?

There will definitely be some confluence between the two offices, and that will be appealing to Heather. Heather will be able to work out of both offices.

Heather Rae Young and Tarek El Moussa
Tarek El Moussa and Heather Rae Young

heatherraeyoung / Instagram

But might that set her up for some competition with El Moussa’s real estate sales interests?

No, they really work together. It seems like when I’m on the phone with Heather, almost every day, I’m usually speaking to the two of them. They really work as partners—they’re kind of a team.

Now that you’re currently in production on Season 4 of ‘Selling Sunset,’ might we see a bit of Tarek on the show?

That’s a distinct possibility.

Can you tell us anything more about what’s going to be happening on the show?

I know everyone says this, but I think Season 4 is going to be our best season ever. We had a long break between Season 3 and Season 4, and every season we get more and more relaxed in front of the camera. It’s going to be great.

The post Exclusive: Jason Oppenheim Opens Up About ‘Selling Sunset’ and What It’s Really Like Behind the Scenes appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.