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Does the Apartment Come with You?

Uncategorized // Sep 22, 2008

In real estate, how true is it that one shouldn’t mix business with pleasure?

Who’s to say business shouldn’t be fun? Since we were little kids, weren’t we taught that you need to have fun doing what you do, that you should follow what makes you happy?

Shortly after a recent closing, I was told by the buyer, “To be honest Harsha, I don’t think I would have bought an apartment had I not had so much fun viewing with you.”

The whole “does the apartment come with you?” line has been laughed about for a long time, but how much truth is there in it? Do buyers really buy an apartment and commit to a mortgage to impress a sales agent, who to be brutally honest, they may never see again after the closing?

A couple of apartments I’ve sold in London and New York have been to younger men, in their thirties, single and wealthy, both bachelor pads. Do I feel guilty? No. Both times I’ve believed in the investment, both times they’ve been undervalued, and in this recent case, bought for marginally less than the seller paid for it.

But there is an etiquette that needs to be confirmed between the broker and the buyer.  Who pays for the cabs to viewings? For the brunches and coffees on weekend viewings? And who pays for the celebration dinners? And if you are friendly through the buying process, do you stay friends after? Had you not been so friendly during the process of buying would you not have had their loyalty? How friendly do we need to be? Does that change with the markets?

For the few years I’ve been in real estate I’ve come across two friends of mine in the business who have both married their buyers. Both buyers bought apartments purely to marry their brokers.  One of which sold the apartment shortly after winning their bride, for a profit nonetheless.  These days in some cases, is buying real estate securing both a spouse and a home in one?

Establishing a relationship with your buyer as a broker is important.  Gaining their loyalty is even more important.  As a young, cute British broker in New York City, I’d love some advice. What are the rules? Are buyers considering viewings “dates” and if we are initiating these dates, are we in fact “leading them on”?

To me, business is pleasure, and pleasure is business. Is that wrong?



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