Top producers across NYC share some of their favorite sales stories.
I was with a longtime client viewing a $7 million boutique condo conversion on the Upper East Side. My client, a hedge funder, had come on his lunch break and was in full suit, as was I.
The project was under construction and had plywood and fencing on the front. We went upstairs to view the penthouse, and during the time that we were there the construction crew finished up for the day, locking the fence and plywood gate from the outside with a chain and padlock. We went to leave and found that we were, in fact, locked inside.
The selling broker made frantic attempts to reach the foreman, but with no luck. After about 30 minutes, someone did come by with what they believed was the key, but it wasn’t the right one. Tensions growing higher, with the need for the client and I to return to work, we began to look around for things we could use to get over this eight-foot fence.
Finally, the client and I began assembling a teetering staircase of sorts, composed of bags of concrete, a toolbox, two buckets, and cinderblocks made it to a point that we were able to straddle the fence (again, both in suits) and launch ourselves onto the ground. We both landed feet first, luckily, and took off, leaving the selling broker to figure out what to do on his own.
Needless to say, this property wasn’t the one.
A number of years ago, I was selling a two-bedroom in a Lenox Hill high-rise co-op. The owner was a European avante-garde sculptor who lived in Germany, and the place showed like a dungeon even with bright sunlight coming through. The whole interior was comprised of trendy black spray painted pieces of furniture that looked like they were used for submission and domination play. It was hilarious to see how varied the clients’ reactions were. Some were so polite they pretended the furnishings weren’t there; others laughed and pondered why they were in this apartment at all. In reality, it was an art installation and it achieved its purpose of shocking everyone who saw it. Ironically, the apartment sold for asking price to a very reserved young couple that completely gut renovated it. They saw beyond the unusual décor and pretended it was not there. Talk about a makeover! This apartment totally transformed into a gracious Upper East Side sprawling abode with not a single remnant of what was before.
I worked with a woman who wanted a pied a terre with a view for her dog, a poodle named Puffy. Their price range started at around $4 million. We searched high and low and the dog would literally start barking loudly when it liked the view! We must have looked at 70 apartments and Puffy would bark when a view made her happy. She even signaled to the owner when she was done and wanted to go home. Everyone in the office said I would never close this sale because the poodle–a miniature poodle, no less–would be so fussy and impossible to please. Apparently Puffy had great taste and proved them wrong; they ended up raising their budget from $4m to $9.6m and finally settled on a cool sprawling West Village loft with a stellar view of the Manhattan from the big bay window, including stellar Hudson River views from the floor-to-ceiling windows.
“While I was doing onsite sales for a Brooklyn Heights development, I was walling an apartment that was a $3.5m 3400sf duplex in a beautiful converted garage building with doorman and private resident indoor parking.
A family that was not yet working with a broker owned a condo in a new development in DUMBO and were looking for more space. Apparently their hardwood floors warped shortly after they moved in and it was such a hassle to get the developer to replace them that their main priority was to ensure this did not happen again.
At our open house, the whole family walked over to a corner of the room, took off their shoes and socks, and started to slowly trace the floor with their feet, looking for imperfections. If one of them thought something was off, they would bounce over the spot a few times. It was quite comical. Luckily it was a fairly quiet open house!
In the end, they actually really liked the floors but the layout of the unit did not work for them. ”
“I had a lovely couple from London looking to buy a pied a terre in NYC. The husband was ADAMANT about not buying in Murray Hill. He only wanted to live on the Upper East Side and would not consider anything else. He told me that he just hates everything about Murray Hill. It doesn’t offer the elegance that the Upper East Side offers. The element of people is different as well. I think I remember him saying that it was more of a working neighborhood than a residential neighborhood. What was really ironic about this story, is that we communicated for a few months and he would repeatedly remind me of his thoughts of Murray Hill.
Yes when we visited our last scheduled appointment, while in the cab, a broker called me and asked if I had any customers for a listing she was marketing at 45 Park Avenue. I said that I didn’t at the moment but that I couldn’t talk then because I was with clients. She told me to bring them by. I told my customers that it was worth seeing being that was their first day looking. I also explained that although it is in Murray Hill, and I know he doesn’t want that location, it will give him more insight as to the market. He agreed.
As we’re riding, I heard a gasp from the back seat. His wife said ‘Don’t mind him. He always gets like that when he sees the Chrysler bldg. He loves that bldg!’
He said ‘It lets me know that I’m in NYC, which I love!’
I gave them a bit of information about the apartment: It is a 970 sq. ft. one-bedroom, 1.5 bath condo built in 2006 priced at $1.8m. I explained it is located on the 21st floor of the building.
We arrived at 45 Park and we all gasped! The central view from the living room windows was a panoramic picture of the Chrysler Building!
They bought the apartment!
Every few issues, top producers across NYC share some of their favorite sales stories with us, so we can share them with you.
If you’re an agent and would like to share something, feel free to contact us via our editorial page.