The other shoe lands with an unsettling thud

After literally years of looking for a pied-à-terre on the Upper West Side, a buyer called me on Friday with words that were music to my ears.

Except I knew better than to ice the champagne.

I had taken her husband, son and daughter-in-law to an open house the previous Sunday — she was out of town — after the couple expressed interest in the condo upon looking at the listing I had sent them.

So far so good.  Everyone thought the place was perfect.  With two bedrooms, two baths, nice open exposures from a high floor, the apartment was listed within their price range under $2 million.

Then came e-mailed questions about comparative sold listings and other details from both husband and wife, indicating serious interest.

On Friday, the volume of the music got louder with the woman’s telephone call:

This is what you’ve been waiting for.  We want to make an offer above the asking price.

Promising, yes.  But this uncommonly (but justifiably) particular buyer hadn’t even seen the condo.

When we did so after she returned home last week, the music came to a dead stop.

Upon close inspection of the apartment, this buyer saw and heard details that others did not, at least what didn’t bother them: Portions of marred flooring that she would want to replace, problems with the molding, street noise that few New Yorkers would notice, windows that were impossible to open.

Good for her!

Since the unit had attracted offers in its short time on the market and the seller was demanding the offering price, there was no way this couple would go forward with a transaction.

And that is exactly how it should be.

I have long maintained that no one should ever buy real estate without personally seeing it.  No one — not spouse, adult offspring, trusted friend — can see a property through a prospective owner’s eyes.

Moreover, I also hold to the principle that any buyer is best advised to see a possible new home not just once, but at least twice.  That’s the way to minimize emotional reactions that tend to cloud initial impressions of the ideal home.  There always are warts — or. . . cracked walls, stubborn drawers, unpredictable plumbing, creaky floors — and they demand to be seen.

In the end, the couple went to contract on another, more expensive unit in the same building.  Cue the trumpets!

On a higher floor, the apartment needed work too, but the idea of renovating, rather than repairing, tipped the balance for the couple.

They saw that condo twice, with their own eyes.

Tomorrow: Weekly Roundup

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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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