Lance Bass, former NSYNC member and LGBTQ advocate, lost a bidding war to buy the iconic Brady Bunch home and called the whole process "unfair."
The Studio City, Calif., property, featured in exterior shots of The Brady Bunch, went on the market on July 18, and caught the celebrity's eye. Lance Bass tweeted about the home for the first time on Aug. 3, announcing that his offer on the house had been accepted by the Douglas Elliman Real Estate agent representing it. But in a subsequent tweet and Instagram post, Bass said that he and his husband, Michael Turchin, were informed that a better offer had been placed, and they did not win the home.
David Zaslav, CEO to Discovery Inc., HGTV's parent company, announced in a quarterly earnings call on Tuesday morning that HGTV had purchased the property.
Bass told his side of the story on Instagram Aug. 3, saying, "Here's a story... of a shady Brady."
"This was a dream come true for me and I spent the night celebrating amongst friends, family, and fans alike," he wrote in the post. "The next day, due to 'unforeseen circumstances' the same agent informed us that there’s another Corporate Buyer (Hollywood studio) who wants the house at any cost. We were prepared to go even higher but totally discouraged by the seller's agent, they will outperform any bid with unlimited resources. How is this fair or legal?"
He claimed that he was "used to drive up the price."
The agent who Bass claims spoke to him on a few occasions — allegedly telling Bass that he had won the home, and then that he had been outbid — is unnamed in the post. Douglas Elliman's website cites both Ernie Carswell and Spencer Daley as the property's listing agents.
Douglas Elliman originally listed the property at $1,885,000, and writes that the home is the second-most photographed home in the United States.
A statement from Douglas Elliman explained that due to the high volume of bidders, each interested party had to offer a best-and-final bid.
“While we appreciate Mr. Bass and his enthusiasm for the Dilling Street property, tremendous interest in the house required a sealed, best and final bid. Our fiduciary obligation is to the seller, who decided to go with the best offer from the most qualified buyer," the statement reads. "We wish Mr. Bass the best of luck in future real estate endeavors.”
Though the agent does owe loyalty to the seller in this case, they also must follow guidelines for handling interested buyers, according to Jacob Pultman, head of the U.S. litigation group at real estate law firm Allen and Overy.
Pultman said that in a case with contested bidders, the best qualifying offer should win the property. "If for some reason you’re not, it could come under attack," he said.
But there is a great deal of subjectivity concerning which bid could come out on top, Pultman explained. "There are always circumstances in the gray areas where you’ll have a bid that’s rejected because arguably it didn’t meet all the conditions," he said.
On Aug. 7, however, Bass completely changed his tune, and said that he was actually pleased with the outcome on Twitter.
"I'd be pretty upset if it were anyone else," Bass wrote.
A spokesperson for Discovery, HGTV's parent company, told Money that more details of the sale will soon become available. The company has not yet released a formal statement announcing its purchase, but Zaslov's comments hint at what the company may be planning for the property.
"I’m excited to share that HGTV is the winning bidder and we’ll restore the home to its 1970s glory as only HGTV can," Zaslav said. "We’ll bring all the resources to bear to tell safe, fun stories with this beloved piece of American TV history."
Lance Bass's agent did not respond to requests for comment.