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Nicole Forslund and Steve Shepley win Fox's 'The Complex: Malibu' and $317,250

By Wade Paulsen, 10/15/2004 

In the conclusion to the 2003 Australian hit turned 2004 U.S. bomb, the Chicago couple of Nicole Forslund and Steve Shepley were responsible for the highest-priced unit at the final auction sale on October 2 and therefore won Fox's The Complex: Malibu.

As a reward, Nicole and Steve were awarded all of the net profit from the sale of all four of the units in the Malibu condominium complex, which amounted to merely $317,250. Not all that much of a prize after spending a grueling summer renovating rooms and almost bringing their relationship to the breaking point.

Todd Wohl of Premiere Estates Auction Company auctioned off the unit Nicole and Steve were ultimately responsible for, unit No.1, for $1.2 million, easily realizing the highest-percentage profit of the units sold. Unit No. 1 is a two-bedroom, two-bath, 1,100-square-foot condominium with a knockout view of the Pacific Ocean.

Unit No. 1 was purchased by a local Santa Monica couple who were the first tenants in the building after it was built in 1969, when their rent was $175 per month. While renting the unit, the husband met, dated and married his wife, and the couple, perhaps guilty of overshare to justify their high bid, stated that they conceived their first child there.

The three couples who renovated the other units in The Complex: Malibu received nothing for their summer of work. Unit No. 2, also an 1,100-square-foot condo with two bedrooms and two bathrooms, renovated by Scott and Nicole ("Sam") from Canton, Georgia, sold for $900,000. Unit No. 3, another two-bedroom, two-bath unit with 1,100 square feet of living space, was renovated by a fighting Dave and Ana from New York, NY, and sold for $950,000. Unit No. 4, the largest unit in the complex with three bedrooms and two bathrooms in 1,450 square feet, was redone by Barney and Rose from Hauppauge, NY, but surprisingly failed to realize a premium from the additional footage, also bringing in $950,000.

The Complex: Malibu began with eight couples who were split into two groups, Upper and Lower Complex, and competed for the opportunity to restore and redecorate one of the four units. Under tight deadlines, the couples battled each other for control of the units while trying to add the most value to each of the rooms that they redid. After each room was completed, a panel of real estate professionals an interior designer, a real estate agent and an architect ranked the rooms from best to worst. Meanwhile, the couples decided which pair from their group to evict weekly. The team responsible for the room that judges felt brought the least amount of value to the complex each week lost a couple, until only four remained.

More interesting is the fact that the total sales price of the four units was about $4 million, and yet the net profit won by Nicole and Steve was barely over $300,000. Each unit's profit was calculated as the difference between the amount of the auction sale and something called the unit's "basis price." The basis prices are the total costs associated with the acquisition of the building, the process of converting the units from apartments to condominiums, and renovation costs not covered by the show's production budget. Each of the four units had a different basis price. The basis price was based on individual property appraisals and valuations by real estate agents prior to any work being done by the contestants.

In other words, the total value added to the Malibu condominium complex after the efforts of all eight couples was just about $300,000 -- and, although there was no breakdown given by unit, most of that value had to come from Nicole and Steve's unit No. 1, which sold for $250,000 more than any of the others. Looks like winning everyone else's "profits" didn't give Nicole and Steve much more than they would have gotten if they were working alone.

The Complex: Malibu was produced by FremantleMedia North America, Inc. Ted Haimes (Married By America, Temptation Island, The History of Rock 'n' Roll) was executive producer.

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