Entertainment

Inside the UK’s answer to Selling Sunset: “I’m set to do 3 million in deals this year”

Determined to sell just as big as they do in the States, the stars of Channel 4’s Mega Mansion Hunters call themselves the “sharks” of the property market. We test the waters with agent Erin Daniels. 

When Erin Daniels, a 25-year-old rookie estate agent, turned up to one of her first meetings with her new colleagues in a Volkswagen Golf, she was greeted with teasing. “They were like, do you think you’re going to sell a house driving that?” she recalls. She was, after all, entering the world of ‘luxury super-prime’ real estate, where projecting an image of success is just as important as getting the actual listing – the agents at her firm Tyron Ash are meticulously groomed, fiercely competitive and the stars of a new channel 4 show Mega Mansion Hunters, which takes viewers inside their elite world. Think Selling Sunset takes Surrey. 

“I thought, Jesus, get over yourself,” she laughs.

Six months into her new job, however, it’s fair to say Daniels gets it. A rising star at the agency, she is set to do over a staggering £3 million in deals this year. Her boss, agency founder Tyron Ash, has a reputation for bulldozing his well-established competitors (or as he calls them “dinosaurs”) such as Knight Frank and Savills – places he couldn’t get an interview at before starting his own firm.

His methods involve door-knocking seven-figure homes, cold-calling rivals listings promising he’ll sell their property faster and higher and shooting glossy promo videos to broadcast across social media. As controversial as these tactics are, they evidently pay-off, with his agency having sold £300 million worth of property since they opened doors just a year and a half ago, a feat that is as much mind-boggling as it is impressive. “Tyron is big on self-belief,” Daniels says. “And never letting anyone treat you as less than, you have to tell yourself you’ve got this.”  

The cast of Mega Mansion Hunters

A musical theatre actor, it was the pandemic that led Daniels into the industry. “Shows completely closed and I couldn’t go to auditions. I moved back home. It was then that I decided to respond to one of Tyron’s call-outs for new agents on Instagram. I thought, if I’m going to try this, it needs to be now. I have no outgoings right now and nothing to lose.” Perhaps unsurprisingly, her theatre background was a major asset. “When you door-knock and speak to clients and do viewings it’s very  similar to acting, because you’re in character,” she says.

How would she describe this character then? “She’s very confident, a proper sales woman,” Daniels says, later telling me about a clip from the show where she cold-calls the owner of a swanky home in Chichester. “He didn’t even answer the phone to me in the beginning, but four months later and I’ve just sold it for £1.2 million. It’s crazy how things can change if you’re persistent.” It was a sale that earned her a commission of £15,000, a figure many her age could not comprehend being deposited into their account – and a feeling she’s still getting used to. “I was a bad way from uni – so deep in my overdraft – that I needed a big lump sum to get my out of that situation,” she says. “So when that first commission hit, it was like, oh my god, I’ve not seen my bank balance out of a minus in a very long time: this is amazing.”

One of the homes on Mega Mansion Hunters

The show also arrives at a time when we cannot get enough of watching the lives of the wealthy on our screens, with buzzy shows like Succession, White Lotus and Gossip Girl’s revival taking us inside the homes and hotels they occupy. In Mega Mansion Hunters, expect to see glassy exteriors, heated pools, vast manicured lawns and their Lamborghini-driving buyers – and the glamorous agents doing the deals. “We’re selling people a lifestyle,” she says. “They need to be able to imagine themselves there, and we’re a part of creating that environment.” 

Making money isn’t a sure thing for any of them though. They work solely on commission so when the buyers aren’t appearing, the atmosphere can grow tense. “It puts you on edge because you don’t get paid until completion, and things could go wrong at any time, even if there is a buyer. I’ve heard stories from Tyron where ridiculous amounts of money have been due and then you lose it at the last minute. You can’t get your hopes up,” she explains. 

The hours are also pretty terrible. “I am always working. I say to my clients, if you want to call me at 10pm on a Saturday, then do. Text me whenever. It doesn’t matter.” Isn’t it exhausting? “I give myself a day every once in a while. I’ll turn my phone off about once every three Sundays or something. But otherwise, it consumes my brain.”

For Daniels, this is where the danger of showing luxury on TV lies. “People want to see inside the fantasy, but not the reality behind it,” she explains. “I think this can become a problem when young girls start to believe they need to have all these luxury items to be anything in this life. They don’t need a Chanel bag to make their outfit to look good, it’s ridiculous. It’s important to see the hard work that is behind being able to buy those things.” It’s reassuring, then, to discover that even as an agent who six months into her career doesn’t list anything under £800k, Daniels is still driving her once-mocked Volkswagen. “Why not?” she laughs. “I’m proud of it.” 

Mega Mansion Hunters is available now as a boxset on All4 now. Images courtesy of Channel 4. 

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