“Jane” and “Jill,” close friends of a friend, asked me to help them purchase and apartment on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. In a post I wrote on Jan. 26, I recounted how they lost their bid because they didn’t follow their broker’s advice.
Come to learn that they went out looking on their own a week or so later, returned to a co-op that they had seen months earlier and made their offer directly to the listing broker.
So much for loyalty, a refrain heard from virtually all brokers, no matter how good or helpful.
As for me, I walked across town to First Avenue to see the original listing, checked comparable co-ops in person, communicated frequently with the listing broker, provided Jane and Jill with a depth of information about the purchasing process, e-mailed them a blank financial statement and spent literally hours going over it with them.
I also conducted a negotiation over days for the apartment that they eventually lost.
Then, I deliberately stayed out of touch to let them bounce back from their disappointment, only to discover from my mutual friend that they had made an offer that was accepted elsewhere.
So I wrote them a one line e-mail: “Say it ain’t so.” They responded as follows:
“Sorry we haven’t been in touch…’Jill’ was away on business, returned on Sunday and in the meantime we decided to revisit an apartment we had previously looked at weeks ago; an estate sale at [deleted]. We put the offer on the other apt you were helping us with and decided against [deleted]. It did have a contract in the process but apparently the finances were iffy, so we went back on Sunday with friends from the building who bought there 5 years ago; husband is an architect and gave us a few ideas of what could be done…long story short, we put in an offer and the sellers accepted it. So yes, it is so! 😉
“We want to thank you for assisting us on the last apt…and of course, if this falls through, we’ll be happy to have you help us in the search for another apartment. We felt that since we had initially spoke to the seller’s agent and got a feel from him about the selling price, apparently a very low bid, probably in the 350s, and sellers were anxious to get rid of it, we decided to give it a shot and they went for it. We offered $370K and that was it. It’s 750 sf, very spacious but the kitchen needs updating and the bath needs fixture changes, but all in all, we think a pretty decent apt. Our friends bought there about 5 years ago and love the building and location.
“We hope you’re not upset at us although we would understand if you are and hopefully we can somehow make it up to you. We’ll stay in touch.”
I wrote back saying that I was at a loss for words and wishing them the best of luck in their transaction.
Both Jane and Jill have very nice jobs. They have a weekend home, a dog and car, so the New York place just a place to hang their hats during the work week. Having worked on their financial statement, I know they are in a strong position.
One reason is that they get paid for their work.
I guess I won’t be going to their Academy Award party after all.
Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker
Senior Vice President
Charles Rutenberg Realty
127 E. 56th Street
New York, NY 10022