<p>A few weeks ago we closed on our condo. Today we got a postcard from Julia McHugh at Prudential Douglas Elliman in the mail, reading in part:</p>
<p><blockquote>Announcing a brand new sale<br>Find out how I can do the same for you<br>I am please to announce the sale of [our condo].</blockquote></p>
<p>That doesn't seem quite right to me—we moved into this apartment in August 2011 on a six month lease knowing both that the landlords were interested in selling (hence the short lease) and that we were interested in buying. We even talked price range.</p>
<p>In September, we had a few agents and assessors come, which I believe included Julia McHugh. We then negotiated a price directly with the owners (but presumably based on the assessment!). The owners told us they were retaining Julia to facilitate the sale since they live far away, but not as a full agent.</p>
<p>The card (posted in full below) continues
This [condo] sold so quickly, you may have missed it.
That sounds an awful lot like Julia is taking credit for what was essentially a pre-setup sale negotiated by the owner, and for a sale that was "so fast you might have missed it" but was never actually listed so "missing it" isn't quite right to my read.</p>
<p>Julia did help facilitate the transaction: she pushed hard, and sometimes—in our view—too hard. At one point she said we were near the "drop dead" date for the transaction and I had a conversation (read: freak out) with my attorney and he convinced me all was fine, which it was. Maybe her "encouragement" helped, and maybe it just added stress, I certainly will never know. Interestingly, Julia probably had a perverse incentive: rather than being a light-weight agent, had our sale fallen through she would have been the presumed agent for a full sale.</p>
<p>Real estate in New York is a uniquely ruthless business, and for me our saga towards purchasing a house has been pretty educational, if often depressing. There's a weird period between agreeing on a price and actually signing a contract that in principle lasts a week but in practice seems to take a few weeks. During this time either party can back out. Though it's in bad faith, it happens all the time (and indeed, we did it once. It left me feeling tainted by the scuzziness of the whole business, and I was not very happy with myself after we backed out.)</p>
<p>Our first two attempted purchases fell through because of this ruthlessness. In the first one, we agreed on a price and then got a building inspector and he pointed out major concerns with the brickwork on the building; when we inquired about they suddenly had agreed to a "full price offer". The second one we were also settled on a price, and also had the building inspector who this time was quite happy about the building, and then they took a higher offer. We lost $1,000 in lawyers' fees (which I was actually really happy about: by the signed contract they could have charged about 6 times that) and $1200+ in building inspector fees, plus time and of course Emotional Distress™. </p>
<p>The postcard seemed to top off this entire experience.