Shithouse rat

I'm a bipolar writer in the Naked City. I'm not playing with a full deck. I don't have all my dots on the dice. My cheese is sliding off my cracker. I don't have both oars in the water. I'm a bubble off plum. In other words, I'm crazier than a shithouse rat. These are my stories. Comments--short or long, nasty or nice--always welcome!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Adventures in real estate, part 1: the broker from hell

"Yonkers, NY. One bedroom, 900 sq. ft, 139 K. Lg. unit in luxury highrise; updated kitchen, 20 foot terrace, doorman, security, pool, parking, express bus. Deli and dry cleaners on site. Near shops, restaurants; 25 minutes from Grand Central."

My ex-boyfriend G and I have co-owned a one bedroom coop in lower Manhattan for the past 15 years. At long last, we put the place up on the market this past fall. Despite all the talk of a bursting "real estate bubble," after a few nail-biting months we found a buyer who came reaasonably close to our asking price, and we're all set to close on March 1st.

Though I've already chosen my new dream home in the Bronx near my current boyfriend and will go into contract this week, G-d willing, G is still searching. Time is of the essence--if he's not secured in a new place pronto, he'll have to hang at his sister's house in New Jersey while he continues looking.

This past year, G was diagnosed with myotonic dystrophy — a rare, congenital form of adult muscular dystrophy. His doctor told him he might not live past 65 and would probably need a wheelchair down the line. His condition is already starting to deteriorate — his manual dexterity is very bad and he has fallen many times because the disease affects his gait. He's now on social security disability, so his income is modest though sufficient to buy a place between 100K and 140K, tops. Maintenance has to be reasonable too, and the apartment must be wheelchair accessible, close to shopping and buses, and at least as roomy as our 800 square foot place in case he has to maneuver with a wheelchair down the line.

One would think that with the potential 5 or 6 percent commission to be made in a now-slower market that real estate brokers would be jumping at the chance to show G places, but some have been bewilderingly slow toeven return calls. So it was a refreshing change of pace when I responded to an ad for a place in Yonkers--just north of the Bronx and the city line--and the broker responded promptly and proactively to my inquiry. The
looked promising, and the photos looked good, so we scheduled an appointment to see the place last Sunday through the broker, Debby Frank of Century 21.

Debby told me that since at least one offer was already in the works, we'd best see the place or another like it ASAP since units, though somewhat plentiful, went fast. But when I explained the wheelchair access requirement, she said it wouldn't be suitable t for G since it was on a hill. (Later, looking again at the ad, I saw no evidence of any stairs, obstructions, or hills --and with a power chair, G would probably be able to maneuver just fine. Plus, the fact that the alternate URL for the ad included the word "teasers" might have meant something fishy was up, though perhaps I'm just being too jaded.)

Nevertheless, she assured me she had lots of other nearby units similar in size and price range to show
us. Although she seemed very proactive and responsive—good signs in a profession where some brokers are deadbeats just sitting back and waiting for the commissions to roll in, which plenty did during the recent real-estate boom — I soon found she was rather condescending and more than a little ditzy.READ MORE HERE


At 7:24 AM, Blogger !ce said...

I would be curious as to whether this might be a good candidate for a "Sociopaths in Business" post. Just an observation.

Have you considered that maybe there might be biases and boards will purposefully choose to not "get it," much like Republicans with climate change?

I would like to point out that I now have two new posts awaiting your wisdom.

At 4:10 AM, Blogger elvira black said...


Sociopaths indeed, my friend--and I have more horror stories where that came from to share here in future.

Coop boards can pretty much pick and choose who they want in their building without repercussions--though I believe that very shortly the law is changing to require them to publicly reveal the reasons behind their choices. At least that's what I think I heard, but perhaps it was just wishful thinking.

Less expensive coops usually just want to make sure you can pay your maintenance on time each month, but the more exclusive and sometimes ultra-quirky Manhattan boards can reject a candidate for the most capricious reasons.

Even superstar celebs have been known to be rejected by the sometimes eccentric--and perhaps even bigoted--boards of ultra-luxury coops. I guess money really doesn't buy you everything..;...

At 4:11 AM, Blogger elvira black said...


PS--I'll try to check out your new posts soon--I'm trying to play catch up with my blogs and my life...

At 9:24 AM, Blogger elvira black said...


Sorry you had to slog through my lengthy original post. I realized it was way too long and rambling, and that some of the stuff I included there would fit better on a post of its own.

This one is shorter, and much better (lol) if I do say so myself!

At 5:35 AM, Blogger Justine said...

Dear Elvira,
I hope you had a sweet valentine's day... not that I believe in that stuff, but you know.

At 10:46 AM, Blogger fara said...

Hi Elvira - I thought this was really nice.

At 11:21 AM, Blogger WizardMan said...

One incredible BLOG. Love your work and your writing style. Finally I found a blog that I actually enjoy reading.

At 12:58 PM, Blogger elvira black said...


Many thanks! I'm having trouble posting the comment I wrote to you, so feel free to e-mail me re: possible link and/or post exchange. Love your blog!

At 7:51 PM, Blogger ascencion rana said...

I wanted to thank you for this good read! I'm definitely enjoying a little 'you have a bookmark to check for new stuff to send.Selling Real Estate Agent Seven hills


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