So this guy walks into. . . his boss’ office

(Flickr photo by Jetportal)

Picture this:

It’s Friday afternoon and you’re desktop computer has given you eyes that long ago have glazed over, a painful pulsing in your temples and an itch to get on with your weekend.

Your phone rings, and it’s your boss’ sec– er, assistant.  Your supervisor would like you to stop by her office in 15 minutes.

Being human, you are gripped by anxiety:”What did I do now?  Is she going to fire me.” Continue reading

At a closing, what’s a real estate agent to do?

A closing that went smoothly for the buyer I represented.

When I go to a closing here in New York, most of the time I have nothing to do.

While doing nothing is boring, it’s also a good thing.  It generally means that the closing is going well.

But sometimes Continue reading

Weekly Roundup: Charlie’s new angle. More!

Here’s your chance to catch up with news included to inform, enlighten and perhaps even entertain you. To read about The Big Apple, check out the other of today’s posts and look for Out and About early next week.

If you yearn for a Chagall, his onetime apartment is for sale

How do you spell h-i-t for a seller who sticks to asking price in Los Angeles?

Charlie’s angles include a second-home sale

Retired reliever, cultural misfit, radio sidewalk feed appetite for RE gossip

May home construction rises above April but slumps below one year earlier

Data show more homes listed in May, then Continue reading

Accept no offer until your home is on the market

The garden I tended behind my rowhouse in Washington, D.C.

How tempting it is when you get an unsolicited offer to sell your home before you put it on the market.

Maybe you’ll have no, or at least a reduced, brokerage fee. There’ll be no open houses that require your preparation and evacuation. And forget about the anxiety of waiting for a buyer to bite, conducting fruitful negotiations and wondering, “What if?”

Don’t do it.

The situation arises more often that you might imagine. Hell, it happened to me when I moved back to Manhattan from Washington, D.C.

But don’t do it.

There is ample for reason for rejecting an early offer or equivocating  should one surfaces: Continue reading

The High Road: We make too damn much money

There, I said it: Broker compensation is indefensible.

An independent broker who is a friend of mine and I were having — how to put it? — a robust discussion that centered on commissions the other day (without violating anti-trust laws, heaven knows).

I ventured an opinion that I hold strongly and have put on the record previously, that percentage commissions make no sense to me.  So “Bill” asked me what was the origin of my “guilt,” adding that he had to support a family of six.  (Nor should the choices he has made bear on his occupation and income.)

My rejoinder was that guilt had nothing to do with my position.  Instead, said I, Continue reading

When push came to shove, a purported buyer from Singapore shouldered me aside (as I sort of expected)

It’s wise to proceed with caution with inquiries from around the world. (NASA photo)

It began with an e-mail.

The sender said he is a businessman writing from Singapore after reading about a more than $8 million foreclosure in this blog.

This Mr. “X” wanted details and in a subsequent telephone conversation disclosed his plan of buying more such properties in Manhattan to “park” cash with no expectation of an immediate return.

The property he wanted is in foreclosure for more than $8 million.  That wouldn’t be a bad sale for me, even at half that sum.

But my antennae were up.

Having a contact like the e-mail Continue reading

Let us all praise honorable brokers

A casual buyer to whom I’ve sent listings and shown apartments occasionally over the last year or two called me last week to say that he’s found the one he wants to purchase. It is in Fort Green, Brooklyn, and I have yet to see the studio.

But he wanted me to represent him. Terrific, except that he already had visited the condo in a new development called 96 Rockwell Place.  Twice.

Worse, he has had substantive conversations with the sales associates there and even told them he wanted to make an offer.

In such a circumstance, Continue reading

Carlin had 7 dirty words, and brokers have but 1

The broker friend of mine I call Lily recently related an encounter of hers that bears retelling.

She has an old acquaintance who wants to list his two adjoining apartments totaling something like 10 rooms in a building on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.  Naturally, he called Lily to see whether she would be the right broker to market the pre-war condo.

A highly successful broker for the last 27 years who seems to know every apartment in the neighborhood, not just every building, she spent hours analyzing comparable listings and visiting other large apartments that came on the market.  Then she arranged to get together with the seller.

They met, they talked, they considered selling the apartments separately or as a package, and they wrangled about price in the $3 million to $4 million range.  Continue reading