The High Road: Flee if broker says, ‘I guarantee’

Scale model of Fordham University’s new law school and residence hall. (Fordham photo by Jon Roemer)

Several months ago, I took buyers of mine to an open house in a building in the low 60s overlooking Lincoln Center.  In the foreground was a superblock owned by Fordham university.

The university had proposed massive development of the block.  And by massive, I mean skyscrapers that would block the view west toward the Hudson River and beyond from the apartment under consideration along with hundreds of other units.  Community opposition was strong, vocal and, until then, successful in seeming to block the project.

“I guarantee you the building will never be constructed,” the broker said, or words to that effect. 

However, I do recall the word “guarantee” because I challenged him on the assertion.

On a clear day, you can see. . . but not for long.

But he repeated the word and insisted that the city had officially turned down Fordham’s plans.  At the time, he was correct about the city but he obviously couldn’t have been less prescient or more wrong about the future.  My clients and I left shaking our heads.

Any time a broker guarantees anything — for example, that a co-op board will approve alterations or a pied-à-terre, that the cost of a particular renovation won’t exceed a certain amount or that no one would object to drums practice within an apartment — my advice is to run in the opposite direction.

If a broker is dumb, rash or unprofessional enough to make such a guarantee, you can be sure that the transaction will run into trouble or that there will be hell to pay after, and if, it closes.

I know that I think of that broker every time I pass the building or check out an apartment in it, as I did last weekend.  I’m outraged enough by him to hope that the new owners sue him and that he has to learn his lesson the hard way.

After all, Fordham is moving ahead with the development at full speed.

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Malcolm Carter
Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker
Senior Vice President
Charles Rutenberg Realty
127 E. 56th Street
New York, NY 10022

M: 347-886-0248
F: 347-438-3201
Web site


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