Agents sweat over the many things that threaten a sale



  • Deals sometimes involve unwanted tenants, complex Manhattan financial demands and personal must-haves

What was the most complicated transaction you have ever worked on?

Sylvia Dimova

Associate broker, the Corcoran Group, Brooklyn, N.Y.

I had a client who owned a two-family home in Brooklyn. He became disabled after a stroke and was planning to sell his home to move in with his girlfriend in Massachusetts. His daughter, her boyfriend and their toddler lived in the upper duplex.

When my team and I showed up to take photos of the property, the daughter was wearing a robe, and it was obvious she was naked underneath. Her baby boy, who was about 3, was running buck-naked around the house. It was uncomfortable for us and the photographer, to say the least.

A few months later, after we found a buyer, the daughter was given many months’ notice that she needed to vacate the premises. They were still there when we went to the walk-through, and the boyfriend was even hostile. Still, they said they would leave so the buyer went ahead with the closing.

I thought that was the end of it. Not so. A few days later, I got a call from the new owner, distraught because they were still in the house when she went to move in. We called the police, who gave them 30 minutes to pack up and leave. But that still wasn’t the end of it. A few days later, we got another call from the buyer saying they had moved back in. Apparently, the daughter called a locksmith, showed him a document with their name and address on it, and he cut the lock. The police came again and got them out.

It was by far the most complicated, and craziest, deal ever—and very upsetting at the time. But ultimately, my client was relieved.

Danielle Sevier

Associate broker, Compass Real Estate, New York City

This occurred during my first year in real estate. I was representing the buyer of a two-bedroom co-op on the Upper East Side just off Park Avenue that was listed for about $1.5 million. The building had very strict requirements—you had to have substantial assets.

My client was a very well-respected dermatologist, and all of his money was tied up in irrevocable trusts, which cooperative boards don’t like because they can’t collect money easily if you stop making maintenance payments. That already complicated the deal.

After my client’s offer was accepted, we went through the board application process. A process that should have taken a month or two ended up taking six months because the board kept asking for more and more financial information. So there was a lot of stress leading up to the interview with the board, which finally was scheduled.

The high level of stress caused my client to get transient global amnesia during the interview. He ended up in the hospital and didn’t remember the year or so that he was buying an apartment. His memory ultimately came back, the board re-interviewed him and he closed on the apartment. But he still doesn’t remember that hour interviewing with the board.

Ann Henry

Agent, Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty, Dallas

Years ago, I was representing a client from Asia I had never met. She lived in Hong Kong but wanted to buy a four-bedroom condominium in a luxury high-rise building in Dallas, sight-unseen.

I told her I would be happy to find something for her, and I did. It was over $1 million, which in those days was a really expensive purchase. We wrote an offer, but before we could submit it she broke it to me that the unit had to be feng shui compliant.

She asked me to make sure the front door of her unit was facing exactly the right direction. She told me that I needed to get a compass and that if it checked out we would have a quick closing and then, later, her feng shui master would fly in from Hong Kong to verify everything before she moved in.

I began to sweat. I worried that the compass would be faulty or that I would make a mistake and get a wrong reading, and then she would be left with a condominium she couldn’t live in. I took the measurements about 15 times by standing in the hallway with my back to the unit’s door to determine the direction it pointed. They were the same every time. So, I crossed my fingers and sent her the measurements.

We made the offer and closed. Then her consultant came to verify everything. Thankfully, it checked out, and she was so grateful that she brought me a beautiful gift from Asia.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text

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