I routinely e-mail the listing broker on a Monday asking whether he can show the $1.3 million condo on Wednesday.
There is no response until I telephone him many hours later.
“Oh,” says he, “I’ve been away from my computer, so didn’t get your e-mail.”
Already, as something of technophile who has depended on a BlackBerry since 2002, I’m worried what this broker will be like when I meet him. At least, he nicely accommodated our schedule.
When I arrive in the lobby, on time, I see that my client whiling away minutes in one of the chairs. She stands up, we greet each other and peer around the space in search of the other broker.
He spots us, rises and doesn’t bother to meet us half way. He seems to be of a generation even older than mine, and his idea of a professional appearance is to wear jeans, black ones. Not the worst thing in the world.
I introduce my client, introduce myself, extend a hand and wait in vain for him to provide his own name, which I had forgotten among the several brokers we were to meet that day.
Up to the apartment, the three of us go. He slouches around, offering a few useful comments, including one about the new windows.
The double-pane windows don’t happen to look new; in fact, one has condensation between the panes and the others have frames that seemed to have undergone aging. My client wanders from window to window, asking more than once whether they’re really new.
“I told you twice that they were new,” he retorts.
My client is shooting me glances that unmistakably telegraph her displeasure with the broker’s attitude, and we beat our retreat, even though she seems to have some serious interest in the space.
It happens that the second apartment we are to see is on the same floor in a different wing and has a nearly identical floor plan as the first one. But the two brokers, though they are affiliated with the same firm, could not have been less similar.
The second broker, who had responded to my e-mail instantly, was warm, funny, helpful, patient, informative and respectful both of me and, most important, my client. She loved the place and is deciding whether to make an offer.
As we left the condo, she turned to me and said, “Now, he’s a mensch!”
Maybe the first broker just was having a bad day. But a mensch he is not. More like a putz, I’d say.
Tomorrow: Don’t put yourself in their place
Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker
Senior Vice President
Charles Rutenberg Realty
127 E. 56th Street
New York, NY 10022