New York City
Washington DC Metro
Northern New Jersey
open house planner
manhattan condo market index
submit your listings
Benefits of FREE account
Become an Insider
post your listings
I write to share my experience so that any prospective buyers can benefit from my experience and, most importantly, make their own decisions. If the broker shows you an "offer" dated May 24 or 25 of this year, that was me, and I would not make it again.
As you'll see, the property has been on the market quite a while. I went to see it on May 24. The broker, Anna, intimated to me that if I offered "x," the seller would sign the contract "the next day." I felt "x" was overpriced -- the apartment hasn't been lived in or renovated in decades (the kitchen has, for example, white linoleum counters with gold stars and a "frigidaire" dishwasher with a knob crumbling from age) the three air conditioners that were there were weak and kept us warm/bordering on uncomfortable (they would need to be replaced at about $1,600-$1,900 each, based on my research with Filt-Rite, the building's vendor), the ceilings in the living room are separating from the concrete and potentially years of paint looks ready to collapse (a major skim coat appears needed), the bathtub walls are pressing inward and warped behind the tile, etc.
In addition, the ceilings have numerous beams that appear to reduce height and make the apartment feel smaller than it is, and the "view" is the roof of Bloomingdales, which is painted metal gray and is barren.
I didn't love this place. I nonetheless made the offer because I was willing to spend some $$ on renovations and pay over what I felt was market to be on that block near the N and R which I would take to my office on the west side every day, and near my significant other's home on 64th street where I would be most nights. I also had time pressure to leave my rental at the Ritz Plaza when my lease expires August 31. So I made an offer, figuring we would quickly get it done. Maybe not the next day, but quickly.
Nothing was signed the "next day." In fact the seller, who I was told is a 95 year old foreign national who lives in Florida and Caracas (which raised potential tax issues that we had to examine and deal with with an "escape hatch" for me if he died), took almost two weeks to send me a contract via his lawyer, "Steve." I had my folks turn it around that day and send comments to Steve, but it quickly appeared to me that Steve didn't talk to the seller directly much if at all, that the seller didn't speak English, and before I knew it he had mutiple brokers and lawyers in NY and Fla. involved, speaking Greek and Spanish to him. None of which was good for me, a native New Yorker just looking to buy.
The broker, Anna, was caught shopping the apartment to other folks after the seller accepted my offer and we were negotiating the contract. When I asked her about this, she said "Oh, I was going to tell you, I didn't want to do it but they made me do it!" This was a problem -- but I stayed the course as a committed buyer.
I asked for the 2011 financials and Anna said there were none. She gave me to the 2009-2010 financials, and they were ok. But as part of my due diligence, I had a paralegal from my office independently inquire of the managaing agent (Argo) whether there were 2011 financials -- and there were. I retrieved them at my own cost ($60), and was very unhappy with what I saw. Again, I almost left, because I was very unhappy with my offer of "x" given this new information that I did not have before. (I just sent the broker, Anna, the 2011 financials so that the seller can't claim to the next guy he "doesn't have them.") Once again, I considered walking away but tried to stay the course.
The seller now demanded an "as is clause." I had one of the associates in my real estate department draft it, we sent it to seller's lawyer Steve for review (a standard one, that the apartment at closing would be as it was at contract), Steve wrote at noon that day (reasonably, I thought) "seems fine, send contracts and check," and I did. Hours later (7 pm on a Friday when I was out with my children), Steve wrote in effect "I have not opened the envelope and been instructed not to."
Now, it seems, the 95 year old fellow apparently wanted something else, which Steve called a "true as is" clause -- but none of us knew what that meant, including Anna the broker. You can ask her what happened, if she shows you the apartment.
Now, my side was guessing, the seller purportedly wanted a "special" clause that said once I signed the contract, he would not maintian his property, and if something awful happened after contract, I still needed to close and he would not assign any insurance, etc., to me. I am a lawyer but I didn't feel I needed to be a lawyer to run away at that point.
You don't need to be a lawyer to know when someone is "off the reservation" in bargaining, nor to mention reneging on an email saying it's all fine and to send a check. I felt as if I were swapping old and sick sheep at a Bazaar, not buyuiung a home.
Then the seller's lawyer Steve said the seller would agree to "release you from the contract" if "something happened" before closing, but would not not fix it or adjust the price and proceed to close. My counsel told Steve that was ridiculous, seller would need to fix it anyway (the board would make him), and that by then I would have spent thousands in mortgage and board fees, had my stuff in storage, and lost another couple of months in housing for me and my kids -- only to start my search over again. The response we got was essentially "the seller doesn't care, he's richer than G%d and that's what he wants. Take it or leave it."
I left it. I am always unimpressed when people tell me they are rich; it tells me they have run out of meaningful things to say. That's just my personal view. But regardless, no matter how rich the seller is, that isn't relevant to what was happening.
I reached the opinion that there must be something wrong with the apartment, the seller, or both, and given the condition of the former and the conduct of the latter, the situation was one that needed to be left behind. My lawyer had written that my offer would expire by its own terms on Monday (even befroe the nosnes of last Friday) although it took me until today (the next Friday) to actually get my check back.
I am sharing my experience with this apartment so that the next person goes in with their eyes open. Hope this was useful!
It is, and well-put too.
Measures at 1250 s.f. (a wee bit shy of their 1550 quote), so the maintenance per true sf is over 2.0.
No deal at 800 per s.f. current ask especially considering the work needed and likely elongated negotiation process.
Looking past the detail here, it seems like you bid on an apartment that needed a comprehensive renovation. You ultimately bid too high, because you felt you needed to buy something now and because you liked the location. Then you got buyer's remorse and repeatedly attempted to, in a passive-aggressive way, ask for a price adjustment, which the seller did not offer. Then you didn't sign the contract out of pique and they said goodbye, and you stayed mad. End of story.
Who cares what languages the seller speaks or where he lives or how much money he has. The only issue that matters there is whether he can close, which it sounds like he could and would. The place was apparently estate condition, and the seller obviously wanted you to buy it on an as-is basis so you wouldn't sue him later for the broken air conditioners or whatever. Can't say I blame him given your behavior, nor do I blame them for shopping the place with a contract out, which is permitted. Bad building financials are a legit reason to bail but you don't explain what they were.
Next time, you need to step out of the process. Hire a proper lawyer and use them - did you use this unqualified coworker for the due-dilligence to try to save some money on legal fees or something? And have the brokers deal with the seller, that is what they do. Or just keep renting.
What on earth do you mean about the board forcing the seller to fix things that break before closing? The board couldn't care less if the icemaker in your fridge stops working the day before closing, last thing they'd want to involve themselves in.
Mucuk, how are you related to this? you clearly have skin in the game.
RE brokers always shop offers. No told her to do it!
I'm sorry you had such a negative experience. Unfortunately, it appears much of it was your own doing (agreeing that the apartment was overpriced, you didn't love it, and it needed significant renovations). This alone should have encouraged you to find a different place near the N and R lines, as that seemed to be the only criteria in your needs. Your surprised reaction to the fact that the seller's agent continued to show it, even though you didn't have a signed contract, indicates to me that your agent and/or attorney didn't inform you that this is not only legal, it's smart.
Both Anna and Steve did what they had to do, which is represent the seller. Nevertheless, I'm glad you shared your experience, because it has the title "Don't Let This Happen To You" written all over it.
Again, I'm sorry this happened to you, and I'm sure it will help new prospective buyers in the NYC market.
This is the second horror story here, meaning the other with closing and people leaving filth. In both cases this is why I tell my friends to get a good attorney and buyer broker. It saves all the drama that we saw in both posts and then some.
I kind of agree with mucuk. The seller and his advisers know he's selling an old dump and are doing a little upfront work drafting a clause to avoid having to renegotiate the deal in the future. If the seller lives in Florida and Caracas, how much damage could reasonably happen between signing and closing? Not to mention, you planned on renovating the place anyhow... Additionally, if I were a seller, I would want my broker to shop for alternative offers in case the buyer became difficult. This doesn't seem surprising and is a smart way to create some time pressure to sign the contract.
I'm not sure why you are so upset if you didn't love the place and thought it was overpriced... Be happy you are free to find a better place.
So what was your offer? And how much do you think it is really worth?
>>The broker, Anna, was caught shopping the apartment to other folks after the seller accepted my offer and we were negotiating the contract. When I asked her about this, she said "Oh, I was going to tell you, I didn't want to do it but they made me do it!" This was a problem -- but I stayed the course as a committed buyer.<<
It's not uncommon at all for brokers to show for backup after an offer has been accepted. There is no 'deal' until both parties have signed the contract.
The hassles of this particular deal sound very vexing, but in truth this was never a good fit in the first place.
The purchase was a poor solution for OP's needs -- even if the May 24 offer had proceeded seamlessly to a fast-track closing, who was going to come in and bring the apartment up to his/her standards during August? The gut-renovation fairies?
The OP's atty, as the only team member on the OP's side, should have talked him/her out of this on Day One. A good buyer's broker would have done it before then.
And no, I don't work the UES, so this is not a commercial -- just an observation.
DG Neary Realty
you passed on a view of Bloomies roof?
it's a game of individuals including 95 year old whackadoodles.
if you wanted it at the bid you would have had to play out the crazy part.
(there's always a crazy part)
This posting fairs poorly for grandpa's future prospects.
Might I recommend a name change....#H19
No buyer's remorse. I'm a big boy. After my lawyer and his lawyer finally agreed on a contract (remember, I turned it around in a day and then all these new lawyers showed up), Steve said the "as is" clause looked right and told my counsel I should send a check, and I did. After my check was received, seller wanted to retrade on the as-is we had agreed to. Not cool. After weeks of playing games, I didn't want to retrade and the image of the ceilings coming undone got too string and so I asked for my money back. You can ask Anna or Steve, whether I was the one pushing forward until that last event. I assume they will be truthful.
As far as showing the apartment, I should add that in order to get me to make an offer, Anna -- who has been showing the apartment for a long time and really wants to get rid of it, she said -- promised she wouldn't show the apartment again. When she was caught, I said to her very simply "Anna, you didn't have to make that promise and I didn't ask for it, but you did. So then why break it?" Her only excuse is that her boss made her show it. I know that brokers do that, but then they shouldn't promise they won't do that. Or at least it is my view. I know how the world works. In my world, my word is my word. Period.
I had a good lawyer, I work at a big firm and we have someone who only does this. She and Steve agreed on the riders, and then she showed me (a) Steve's email approving the agreement and requesting a check; and (b) Steve's email a few hours later rejecting the check. Maybe in your experience this is common. In mine, it is bad news.
Finally, you misunderstand the "as is." I didn't care about any of the appliances, because i was going to replace them and do a new kitchen. I was going to replace the air conditioners, which is why I called Filt-Rite. But what about a fire? What about a flood? Of course the board would have the seller address that. I don't know of any board that would ignore that, I think they would be breaching their fiduciary duty, no?
Buster -- ok, but then he should not have accepted my clause, asked for a check, and then retraded once he had my check. The solution there is to say up front (not a month in) that you need an atypical "as is" clause, and if the buyer agrees, all the better for everyone. Why wait until he literally had negotiated for a month and then, after requesting my check, start that new negotiation? Why not be, as you say, up front? I agree with your philosophy.
Front Porch -- I actually lined up a moving company to store my stuff for 2-3 months and was going to live with my S.O. in her large 3 br -- that was all factored in (you correctly saw that issue).
Of course I'm upset, as anyone would be -- I wasted a month, didn't feel I was treated with respect, and ended up with an "as is" clause that I don't think any buyer should accept. But that is up to you to judge -- if you like the apartment, you should buy it regardless of my experience. And for all I know, the seller won't pull the same stunts.
Good luck to all!
I'm new to the Manhattan real estate game, but what kind of moron would pay $999K with a maintenance of almost $3,000 per month for this DUMP with no view?? Who would be this desperate with all that is available out there?????? I don't get it at all. I'll just stick with my prewar studios.....................
"what kind of moron would pay $999K with a maintenance of almost $3,000 per month for this DUMP with no view??"
I'm sure the offer was substantially less than the asking price. Will probably sell for $800k based on the condition, the high maintenance and the real sqft of about 1100sqft.
HLG, my bad. You sound like a good client, and I'm really sorry that you had to go through this.
No offense, but is this your first apt purchase?
Broker's multiple showing even after the contract had been signed (buyer's sig at least) is norm. Especially if you were int he negotiating stage.
They may not have had 2011 financials available at the time, or possibly they had something to hide. They all play this game to make the contract go through.
"As is" clause is commonly used in RE contract. This covers the seller from any further renegotiation during the process of closing. For instance, you could come back 1-2months into contract and say, I want 30k off since the bathroom walls are collapsing in.
What difference does it make if you are gut renovating anyways? Especially if he gave you a way out if something were to happen before closing.
I understand you were jerked around for a month, but everyone looks out only for themselves.
I am glad you walked away from this deal. Not because I think the seller was a jerk, but it was a terrible deal. 1550 is a sqf based on measured plus common areas. All RE in NY (allows) lists this inflated sqf and even based on this sqf, it wasn't worth the money. Assuming 900k, gut reno would cost you another 200k, totaling 1.1m+. 2500/month CC is not terrible for this size and location but not favorable.
So my advice to you on the contract negotiation is, next time, to treat it like any other reasonably high stakes business negotiation. It is totally understandable that the guy would have wanted to not have long-tail risk where you come back at him or his estate about a broken a/c or concealed damage to plumbing, particularly if it is a dump and if it was unoccupied for an extended period. The entire transaction may have been motivated by near death estate planning and tidying things up for heirs. If you didn't like the language he proposed did you try countering? If you are worried about a pre closing casualty like fire or flood, that can be clearly delineated from a toilet handle breaking or the fridge compressor giving out.
The board is not going to involve themselves in a dispute over money between seller and buyer in most cases so relying on them isn't prudent.
The fact that he was otherwise treating you like crap may suggest he thought you were getting a steal, although I agree I am not sure you were myself.
If you don't love it, it's probably for the best you didn't get it. I think you needed better representation as you do not seem well advised.
ahhh the beauty of SE. Next person who goes in will be going with a list of demands based on this thread to which the broker will deny everything said and say 'what's streeteasy?'
This site is awesome.
Seller fuked up he could have gotten away with selling the apartment 30% higher that what it's worth
Also, " in my world, my word is my word".
That is true in my world too.
You must never forget whose world you are in. You are in the RE brokers world. They don't comprehend words like, "promise", "honest", "my word", honor....
This is the reason why people of your profession exists. To some how try to make a unethical, dishonest, unreliable .....,
Scu^*%ags liable for their bs they bring to the civilized world.
I'm not here to defend brokers, but you are an idiot.
Laws are clear.
1) New York is a buyer beware state.
2) You don't have a deal until you have a mutually signed contract.
Very clear. Everyone knows this. In advance. Level playing field.
"Honor"? "My word"?
How about, "give me a break, stop being an idiot."
My word is my word. But for the really important things in the world I get it in writing.
We use those words in a life spent selling something... You use those words as a punch line. We it comes time to sell something, who's going to sell it! Who? You Huntersberg! You can't handle the lead
Give me a break, we've already had a few posters in the past month use the tired Glengarry quotation.
All your tired Glengarry quotation are belong to us.
Well glad I used "A Few Good Men" if that's the case.
Op, condition of the apt is reflected in the price. Showing after accepted offer is not uncommon. After all deal is not signed. You could have backed out as well. The only real issue is seller not wanting to take responsibility between contract and closing. You could have easily negotiated taking the keys from them till closing. Small risk - granted unusual. If you wanted the apt, you would have worked with it. The problem with top law firm lawyers like you is that you start to treat a home purchase as a hundred million commercial transaction and expect similar professional standards. Some times you may get lucky but at the end of the day, you are dealing with small timers at this price point and an apt in this condition.
Congratulations then Brooks.
300 Mercer, I think you're right, to a point. In my experience, when the lawyers agree and one side sends another a check, it is rare indeed that the recipient says "whoa, wait, I want to change something," and that's because the principals are sophisticated and the lawyers are all over things. Plainly, my lawyer was on top of things but "Steve" said "yes" when the seller was still consulting others. That's ok, I got my money back and life goes on.
The epilogue, for those reading, is that I saw two great places yesterday, and made an offer on one -- it is turnkey. I'm a lot more comfortable with it than I ever was with 19F, and I feel lucky in retrospect.
And so to you all, happy hunting!
HLG42 Do you know the number of shares for this apartment?