We arrive at the Upper East Side building around 3:30 p.m., 10 or 15 minutes early for our showing appointment, and the concierge calls up to the agent.
He descends soon thereafter, and the first words out of his mouth are that we were expected 15 minutes earlier. The buyers I am representing and I introduce ourselves. The broker — call him “Sam” — does not.
I note that we changed the appointment from 3:15 to 3:45 in a series of e-mails trying to fix a mutually convenient time and apologize for any misunderstanding.
“Violet never told me,” he replies.
“Violet?” I wonder, assuming she is an assistant in his office. We follow him to the door of the studio apartment upstairs, Unit 6E, a number that I didn’t bother checking on my list since it was a size we expected to see.
He can give us two minutes inside, the broker adds, making us uncomfortable and thereby potentially disposing buyers such as mine to dislike the studio before they even see it.
My buyers like the apartment anyway, and we hustle down to the lobby with the broker in the lead.
As he heads to the front desk, a second broker intercepts our exit. Let’s dub him “Dan.”
“Are you looking for a studio apartment?” Dan eagerly asks, all but thrusting marketing materials in our faces. My buyers appear to be nothing if not disconcerted, yet they confess later to having been appalled.
“I guess so,” one of them stammers. “Why not? We’re here.”
These are not first-timers, and they realize that the second broker has crossed an ethical boundary. You don’t try to steal buyers from another broker, certainly not while they are in the building and, even worse, when the competing broker is within earshot.
Needing to return to his own listing, the first broker finds himself in the same elevator with the four of us. As we leave, Sam lets me know how angry he is at Dan. I respond that I had to agree with him wholeheartedly.
I am steaming, but we tag after the second broker to Unit 5E, the same footprint just one floor below the apartment that we had just seen. The view is not so good, each of us had strongly negative feelings about our new “best friend,” and we therefore hustled back downstairs.
On our way home at the end of the day, I dial the first broker’s number to apologize again for the time mix-up and to say how offensive all of us considered Dan’s behavior. I get voicemail, and it doesn’t sound like Sam at all, so I hang up.
My cell phone rings a few minutes later. It is Dan, who asks when we would arrive for our 3:30 appointment. We were, in his mind, late.
After a confused minute or two, we realize that Dan was the broker we were supposed to meet in the first place.
Since neither he nor Sam, the first broker, had offered their names, each of them contributed to what for my buyers and me was a comedy of errors. (Sam figured out the problem and apologized for his brusqueness in an e-mail the next day.)
To think that I was already composing in my head one of my High Road rants about bad brokers.
Oh, but wait, I just did: Even though Dan happened to end up with us as the correct appointment, his behavior was unacceptable to the extreme.
Tomorrow: The last word
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Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker
Senior Vice President
Charles Rutenberg Realty
127 E. 56th Street
New York, NY 10022