JB Andreassi Loves The Competition Of Selling The Hamptons - Exclusive Interview

If you've ever wondered what the inside of the most expensive homes on the east coast look like, you're in luck. The brand new reality series "Selling the Hamptons" has everything we crave when it comes to the real estate industry (with a bit of drama mixed in there, too).


The series follows six real estate agents from Nest Seekers International, one of whom is JB Andreassi. If he happens to look familiar, it's because you've probably seen him on reality TV before. "Million Dollar Beach House" followed his humble beginning starting out in the Hamptons, but now he's one of the area's top real estate agents in "Selling the Hamptons."

We got a chance to sit down with him to ask about everything from the housing industry to how he handles all the office drama. In an exclusive interview with The List, Andreassi revealed why he almost declined the offer to be on reality TV, how his clients feel about his fame, and the most difficult moment he had to shoot on "Selling the Hamptons."


JB Andreassi shares why he aspired to be a real estate agent

I wanted to talk about how you got into real estate, because, your dad's in it and your brother's in it, so it runs in your family, but this wasn't something that you started off your career doing. What was it that convinced you to make the career change and go into real estate specifically?


Yeah, I think you nailed it. I think it's inherently in me to be part of this real estate world. I grew up in South Hampton in the Hamptons, so I've been around, building luxury homes, these types of properties my entire life. When I was at the NHL, I was not really fulfilled. I was like, you know, where's this going? I have to climb the corporate ladder. I have that entrepreneurial spirit within me, so I figured why not explore other opportunities out there.

[That] led me to have a discussion with my friend who was working for a related development, who has done a ton of really good things in real estate in the city, in Manhattan, and other places in the country. She basically pitched me on why I should leave. I can make four times as what I'm making in sports, you know? It could lead me to the path that I'm on now, which is to ultimately move back out to South Hampton and continue my dad's building career and legacy, and also do what I do, which is sell. I'm really good at that, I found.


So yeah, there's a variety of different things that led me on this path.

He almost didn't end up on Selling the Hamptons

Obviously, reality TV came calling, too. What made you want to take that path?

I didn't want to. [Laughs]


No, no, I'm not a — I'll let you in on a little secret, I'm not a huge reality guy, which is so ironic. I get it, but I learned that in order to really stand out and separate yourself from the pack out here, it was an opportunity I just couldn't pass up. I do this weird little thing where I — It's old school, but what are the pros or the cons? And I sat down with my parents and I said, "This is an opportunity of a lifetime. If I don't take this, then I'll probably be regretting it the rest of my life. If it's a flop, enough people know me and enough people will support me to get through it."


I think, with the previous show that I was on ["Million Dollar Beach House"], I learned a lot about myself, and I was really glad I did it, because you're fully thrown into this thing and have to — and I was a rookie at that time — and have to really learn the business, learn how to build a brand, learn how to be vocal and communicative, on TV, on camera, which was really hard to do at first for me.

Then, with this new show, with "Selling The Hamptons," it's just a total different vibe, and I'm comfortable. I finally found that, little bit of swag and confidence, and hopefully it comes through.

You said you learned a lot about yourself. What are some of the things that you learned?

I learned that I'm a hard worker. I learned that people tend to gravitate themselves towards me, so I have [those] leadership qualities that you need in order to build a team and be really successful in this business, in this industry. I learned that I'm loyal. If I say I'm going to do something, I'm going to stick by my word, and I'm going to be there to see it through.


I also learned that I'm pretty damn good at talking to billionaires and making things happen. [Laughs] At first, it's very uncomfortable, and it's new, but I've always said, "You got to find comfort in the uncomfortability of situations," and that helps you grow as a person. So I'm really glad I was able to overcome those fears, I guess.

Here's what he's been up to since Million Dollar Beach House

The last time we saw you in "Million Dollar Beach House," you were just beginning your career in real estate in the Hamptons. Now on "Selling The Hamptons," you're one of the top agents in your office. How has your life progressed between these two shows to get you to that point?


Yeah. Good question. I think [Laughs] in the original, in the first show — we don't really talk about that. We're pumped about this one, but I was really green. I look back, and I'm ...   it's almost awkward. I remember looking at myself, I'm like, "Come on. What are you trying to say? Speak." I think that's just because I was so new to it, right? And I think it takes time. Once you find that, find your stride and get comfortable, then you can really start to excel in how you communicate things, how you transact, how relationships change with your big time clients.

This time around, I'm the guy, you know? This is my backyard. I'm super, I've done close to 30 deals in two and a half years, which are between $1 million and $20 million. I'm comfortable with who I am as a person, but also as a businessman. I'm hoping it's conveyed on the show. I'm hoping so.


JB Andreassi talks office competition and his best friend Michael Fulfree

You seem like the type of guy that likes to steer clear of the drama if something comes up between people. What were some of the most difficult moments that you had to shoot in "Selling The Hamptons"?

I think, first and foremost, is I kind of go at it with Michael [Fulfree] in a deal, and ... we're not used to that. Most of the time, Michael and I are just laughing and sharing a beer and watching a game, but we've come a long way in our real estate careers where we're actually transacting together and on opposite sides of a deal. I think you'll see a little bit of, I don't want to say friction, but I think it's just the combativeness in ways that you're not used to seeing Michael and I in [during] that kind of a situation.


I've learned that [drama is] a natural part of our world out here. It's always going to be high stakes. People have opinions. People have egos. So, naturally, you're going to see that little bit of cattiness come out, but it's all in [good spirit]. And it's all, most of the time, justified. You got to learn that we have different opinions, and that's okay, but we'll shoot from our hips at times. We hug it out at the end, and it's all good.

I want to talk more about Michael Fulfree, because you two have known each other since you were 15 years old. How did you meet?

We both went to a private high school, which is on the middle of Long Island called St. Anthony's, and so that's the first time we met. He sort of took me under his wing. I didn't know anyone. I come from South Hampton. School was an hour away, so I didn't know anyone. He was just there ... this big, humongous, framed person and he took me under his wing. He's like, "All right, buddy, I got you. I'm going to show you my friends that came from this town, and you'll get it going from there." He's really helped me. I was shy back then, and now he's helped me break out of that.


What is it like working with your best friend in such a competitive environment?

Challenging. We have different styles. He's a little more loosey goosey. I'm a little more rigid [Laughs] and anal at times. I think that the natural differences and styles, and how we process business, and things like that, and our brands are different, it does become challenging ... I tend to fight more with people that are like me, so it actually works well for us that we're so different and [it] balances out.

Is there someone that you're most competitive with this season on "Selling the Hamptons"?

Peggy. Peggy [Zabakolas]. You'll see that throughout. Yeah, it's kind of bubbled up since a few years ago now, and yeah. I love Peggy. She loves me, but, yeah, we go at it a bit, and I think she's in this league now where she's going after some of the same, you know, ultra luxury properties that I'm going after, and you'll definitely see that throughout.

This is his most intense moment from Selling the Hamptons

Your listing that's featured this season on "Selling the Hamptons" is The Glass House. In the first episode, you're hosting a big event there. Do you have a moment from that party that sticks out in your mind?


Yeah, my boss coming in and telling me it wasn't good enough. [Laughs] Yeah, that's what sticks out the most. I mean, it was ultimately an awesome event. We had everyone show up.

I was nervous going into that event just because it was the first one of the year for us. Coming out of the pandemic, we hadn't really done events in a while, too. I think the logistics and coordination that goes into putting on an event like that, it takes a lot. For example, our transportation guys were late and some things you don't really see are behind the scenes.

I think people are rusty, because we haven't really done those big corporate type events in a long time, but, the most [ridiculous moment] was [Nest Seekers President and CEO] Eddie Shapiro telling me, "Why isn't the grass cut?" or something so dumb, but again, I'm so structured that I took it to heart, and then you just got to reprocess and be like, it's okay, bro. He said that. He has his own opinions. We still got an event to throw. So just let it go, and have fun.


Here's what his clients think of seeing him on TV

What have your clients said to you about seeing you on TV?

Some people love it. Others hate it. [Laughs]


Oh, God. Yeah. I have a few that are just like, "JB, love what you do for me. Love you as a person. If you ask me to be on the show, like, it's an absolute no, and don't ever ask me again."


The Hamptons, it's funny. It's like, you'll have the people that they do gravitate towards this type of thing, like, the TV world, and they may want to promote a product of theirs or another business of theirs where they can see the value in it. But a lot of times, I got to be honest, like 60% of my business is not shown on the show because people, they really cherish and value the privacy element of being out in the Hamptons.

It's a mixed bag. Most of the time, my clients are extremely supportive, but again, more than half are not going to be on a reality TV show. Sorry. [Laughs]

I understand that. Reality TV is a look inside your life. You're opening up to the world, and everyone gets to see it.


The other thing is, with [TV], there's these contracts that come out, and it's scary, you know? The contracts are like, we can really make you out to be whatever we want. I think some of the times, these really high end successful business people just don't like to see that. They are immediately standoffish and don't want to be a part of it.

What it was like behind the scenes of Selling the Hamptons

Coming from a real estate background, was there anything that surprised you about working in reality television? Because that's a whole new world.

I think back to my initial interviews where I was, like, sweating. I was so awkward. I used to hate the camera. Now, what's funny is, I kind of like it. So if a camera's around, I'll like have to jump in and say something funny, whether it's someone shooting a video at my boxing gym or something, I always have to gravitate towards it.


It's really interesting to see how many different people and resources there are that go into a show like this. I never really thought there'd be — we have 30 people at a time that are on set, switching out the runners, the film people, the audio, the drone guys. There's so much that goes into making a high quality show like this. discovery+ and DiGa Productions, the production company, just did, I thought, a stellar job putting it all together. I keep hearing good things from reporters like yourself, so I'm hoping a lot of that stuff has just carried through.

I can't wait [to watch the episodes], although, last time I did it [on "Million Dollar Beach House"]. Now, I'm going to be the guy, I put the blanket over my head as I'm watching myself. I don't really like that part of it, but then once I see it once I'm like, "All right, that was cool. That was good."


If you hadn't told me that you were nervous, I would've not been able to tell.

You're not just saying that? You mean that?

I'm honestly surprised that you said that. It's interesting to hear people who are on television talk about that, because you have no idea if they're nervous. You get a whole new perspective behind the scenes.

I also have this weird mentality where if I'm doing something, I just click in, you know? It goes back to playing football, where I'd be so nervous. College football. I'd be so nervous for the game, and then you run out there and it's like, all right. You just do what you do. Camera's up, let's go, you know? It's that type of thing.

How did the experience shooting "Million Dollar Beach House" compare to shooting "Selling the Hamptons"? Would you say that you're a lot more adjusted to the cameras and comfortable now?

I think [that goes] for me and also the other people that were part of the last show ["Million Dollar Beach House"]. We're much more comfortable in front of the cameras. We're also much more versed and experienced in our businesses, and that comes across.

The properties that are shown in "Selling The Hamptons" [are] lightyears beyond what was ever shot in the other show. I think it's a whole good variety [and] mixed bag of elements that are coming together, which could [be] this perfect storm of a really special, unique series.


I'm pumped. I'm excited. I'm like, it's [streaming now]. You can see I'm pumped.

All eight episodes of "Selling the Hamptons" are now streaming on discovery+.