CEO Robert Toll told Jim Cramer that he “definitely” sees things differently now and that about 80 percent of the nation is on its way back. He cited as evidence an increase over the past five weeks in “expressions of interest;” those are refundable deposits that start the home-buying process. The number of these deposits is better than any other time over the past year, he said. “Now last year stunk,” Toll acknowledged (ungrammatically). “But then again it sure feels good to be doing better rather than worse.” He added that the trend was “pretty much nationwide, except for a couple of markets that are still deader than doornails and probably will be for another year or two.”
Two days ago, I e-mailed a broker who shall go nameless about a $2.7 million Upper West Side apartment in which a client had an interest. She wanted to know the square footage, which did not appear in the listing, and whether there was a doorman, about which the listing also was silent. There being no reply to the e-mail, I telephoned the broker today and, shockingly, reached him on his cell phone. Said he, “I never got the e-mail,” a refrain all of us have heard from individuals who are unmotivated to respond. (They are probably the same folks who don’t bother responding to an R.S.V.P. in invitations.) Isn’t it astonishing that the broker has been the only person in two days who didn’t get an e-mail from me?
Moreover, it turns out that my customer’s questions don’t need to be answered: The broker told me in our telephone call that, after 26 weeks on the market, the owner has decided to rent out the co-op and perhaps list it again when sales pick up.
So that listing broker failed to do three things: He didn’t return my email, didn’t update the listing and didn’t grasp the significance of a potentially hot buyer. He never bothered to say he would show the apartment, even if it was available for rental, to someone who might well have made a decent purchase offer. How is that serving his seller well? How do you spell l-a-z-y and i-n-c-o-m-p-e-t-e-n-t?