The High Road: Meet the worst broker ever

This is the first part of a three-part series about my interactions with a listing broker whose level of professionalism astonished me.

Some brokers really tick me off. (Flickr photo by

Communication between me and the listing broker I’ll call Nathaniel began after the buyer I represented e-mailed him directly.

The buyer is someone I’ll call Ben, who is a regular reader of my blog. He spotted the listing on and, contrary to my prior advice about contacting other brokers himself, began an extended correspondence.

About the listing: It indicated that the property below 14th Street was an HDFC (income limited) condop with three bedrooms and two baths. The asking price was between $500,000 and $1 million. (I’m purposely being vague so as to protect the broker’s identity since doing so would be an ethical lapse.)

Ben wanted to know why the listing reported two baths while the floor plan showed only one.  He also asked in the same e-mail whether the board would permit a pied-à-terre.

“Sorry,” the broker responded without explanation for the error, saying that one bath was correct.

He ignored the buyer’s second question, about which Ben reminded Nathaniel in a subsequent e-mail that also asked whether the board would permit construction of a second bathroom.  Came the broker’s reply, quoted verbatim below:

The board will have no problem if you want 2 baths and there is already piping set up for it. The 2nd home is no problem either. I really think you should see it. This street is going through some amazing changes- I would get in now before its too late.

Now, Nathaniel has broken a cardinal rule in which he presumes how the board will react absent any written policy.  As for acting before it’s too late, the broker ignores how long the unit has languished on the market, more than three months. 

Hang on, his lack of professionalism gets even more glaring. 

Ben again lets the broker know that Streeteasy has the apartment as a condop, writing, “Is there a formal board requirement?  I hope it’s not too intrusive.”

I am becoming suspicious about Nathaniel. 

When I go to the Web site of the firm with which he is affiliated, I discover that it is not a member of the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY), the listing appears nowhere on the site (which has but one sale listing and a handful of rentals) and that Nathaniel is nowhere even to be mentioned on the site. 

For the first time in memory, I check the Department of State and learn that he is, in fact, licensed.  Why he is, confounds me.

It is time for me to send my own e-mail to Nathaniel.

Next: The broker shows his true colors

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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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