Here’s a story from Vanity Fair describing how some real estate agents can be real jerks.
Despite some evidence that there’s an inkling of new activity in the luxury real estate market, Manhattan real estate agents are smarting that making a commission isn’t the cakewalk it used to be—and lashing out at precisely the wrong people.
Consider this story recently recounted to me by a successful entrepreneur and her husband who’d been looking to buy in Tribeca—ground zero for bankers gone boom and bust. About a year ago, a penthouse duplex plus roof deck plus “wine cave” in “prime Tribeca” was on the market at $7.9 million. As the economy fell apart (and with it the desire to collect Cheval blanc) the price was slashed numerous times—to the mid-six million range, to the high fives, to the mid-fives, to just under five. At which point the businesswoman stepped in and made an offer—a cool $4 million. It was their final offer, she told him, because it was all she and her husband could afford.
She was treated to a prompt reaming out by the slick young real estate agent representing the property. “This is an insult! You have no idea what kind of bargain you’re getting!” he said, blaming her for the downturn of both the market and his life. “See, let me tell you how this is done. You come to me with a number, the seller comes back with a higher figure, then you come back with another figure, and so on, until you meet in the middle.”
“Got it,” she told him. “Then see you around, because $4 million was our final offer, because it’s all we can afford.” All right, BE that way, he said grudgingly, you’ve twisted my arm. Lo and behold, the offer was accepted.
The next step for the couple was to bring in their architect, who quickly discovered that what was being advertised as 5000 square feet was in fact 4200 square feet. Then, standing by a wall of windows on the side of the apartment, he noticed horizontal beams sticking out from the adjacent building, ending just inches away from the room he was standing in. “What’s going on THERE?” he asked the realtor. “Oh that? Nothing,” the agent quickly replied, “Say, let’s go check out the wine cave!” Turns out the adjacent building was constructing a balcony so close it’d be like having a barbecue in the bedroom.
Surprise, surprise, that duplex penthouse plus roof deck plus wine cave in prime Tribeca is still available, and another half a million has been slashed from its price. Don’t hesitate to lowball, but be prepared to get dressed down.