The apartment: A two-bedroom co-op on a high floor overlooking Fordham University and Lincoln Center with wonderful views toward the Hudson.
The price: Nearly $2 million.
The problem: An aggressive and reckless broker who doesn’t know how to shut up. (I didn’t catch his name and don’t know whether he was covering the open house for the listing broker or was that individual himself.)
It wasn’t so much that this broker–call him Dick–insisted on a hard sell as he pursued us throughout the unit, though that was pretty offensive. It was that he made a promise for which he could be sued.
Dick insisted that there was no way a planned high-rise across the street would be built before 2032, thereby protecting the view west until my clients and I will be long past caring (though affecting appreciation). His evidence:
- An economy and housing market that have stifled new development in Manhattan since the fall of 2008.
- A lengthy report on the Fordham Web site that chronicles obstacles to construction any time soon.
- The permitting process, which restarts every time a developer fails to break ground.
- A change in approvals that forbids construction of the high-rise closest to the post-war apartment building.
I haven’t checked his claims, in part because my clients didn’t want to purchase the place. But his account surprised me, and I follow this stuff pretty closely. Perhaps my memory fails me, perhaps there have been no new reports about the hotly protested project or perhaps his interpretation differs from reality.
What if he’s wrong and construction starts, say, by 2020? If so, he leaves himself wide open to having to pay serious damages in a lawsuit. As you probably well know, even so relatively minor a failure to report without qualification the number of square feet in the unit would end up costing him money.
I take issue with Dick on another point. Only after we arrived did he disclose that the unit was no longer available by itself but had to be sold with an adjoining one or two because of offers already received.
Finally, I recalled having seen and written about the unit in my newsletter last year, so I asked when it was originally listed.
“Oh, December,” he replied.
Well, it was so long ago that the apartment history didn’t show up beyond last month in OLR, the broker database. So I looked up the place on StreetEasy.com, which can be wrong, and saw that another broker had listed the apartment Sept. 13 for. . . $780,000 before losing the listing in January, when the asking price was $760,000.
Even if the numbers are in error, would you trust this guy?
But the foregoing concerns, common enough, are small potatoes compared with the absolute certainty he expressed about the future construction. My own certainty is the hope that Dick is, in fact, wrong.
Right or not, he lives up to his name.
Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker
Senior Vice President
Charles Rutenberg Realty
127 E. 56th Street
New York, NY 10022