The past couple of weeks have been so exciting, with a buyer, a seller and a renter. It looks like I’ve gone from zero deals to possibly two. But let’s not jinx things just yet by focusing on outcome. Let’s take a look at process:
6/23, Friday, note in Filofax: “Do everything from Thursday.”
7/5, Wednesday, I head to a listing appointment where I know two competing brokers have pitched the seller to list at $700K. I am convinced the property should be listed at $675K, at best. This is a tough pitch to make, made worse by the fact that I can’t get my laptop to work in front of the seller.
I would safely call this my technological low point of the month.
7/9, Sunday: I run around with a buyer I had found outside my building. We see eight apartments in four hours. I can only keep everything straight because of the detailed notes I have made in my Filofax; whoever came up with the “notes for alternating days in alternating colors” should get a Nobel Prize.
It’s a useful day for my buyer, though one of the agents I meet indicates that he got the 7/5 listing at $700K.
7/11, Tuesday: my seller, one of my best friends, is traveling to Central Asia, and I think we’re near a deal, so I hand-carry a Power of Attorney to her. Sneaker technology, my favorite.
Also 7/11, Tuesday, I have a long conversation with my cell phone company about how if I had spent $10 more a month on my plan starting in March, I would have saved about $500 in overage fees.
7/14, Friday: I run database searches for a friend who is moving to New York. Everything sucks. I feel so badly that I can’t help my friends, but everything is so overpriced and expensive.
Also, I run database searches for a celeb client and girlfriend who are moving to N.Y. This lead is a gift from my sponsoring broker, since the girl came in through a connection from her mom to one of his tenants. I decide that I can’t fawn over their fame, but that they are worthy of the same level of service as my relocating friend. It doesn’t matter; everything sucks. I page through around 200 apartments and make 20 calls. I pull four showings. I fear the apartments will be small, but hopefully not charmless.
E-mail to renters: “See you on Sunday. Wear your track shoes. Cabs are on me but they’re never there when you want them.”
7/16, Sunday: text message from seller. “I’m in Dushanbe, hoping for good news about contract.” I have nothing to tell her — the buyers are still waiting for some financials I can’t seem to conjure — so I counter by asking where Dushanbe is.
Also, I meet my renters and we have a perfect day. Perhaps I have suitably dampened their expectations — it helps that the first rental I wanted to show them has gone between Friday p.m. when I mentioned it and Sunday a.m. when I went to pick up keys. But they’re nice people, they like everything, are grateful that I’m bearing homemade lemonade (temp’s in the nineties) and we have reasonable luck with cabs. We see one place they particularly like; someone has shoehorned a washer/dryer and some cuteness into 500 square feet.
P.S.: Dushanbe is in Tashkent. Near Iran somewhere.
7/17, Monday: My sponsoring broker tells me the way to get the rental is to hand over an application check to hold our place in line. I walk it over (more sneaker technology). I spend the day working on the board package (this is just a sublease, but it is a co-op and it is New York). Celeb client is difficult in that his money and records are in L.A., and his normal point person’s in Maui. Also, I am freaked out that the board might exercise reverse snobbery against an actor, so I go out of my way to make the financials and the character references perfect.
At the end of the day, after massive faxing, e-mail and Xeroxing, I have most of a board package. It’s about 2 inches high, and I take a photo of it on my phone, and e-mail it to the renters. This creates a bonding moment; frankly the technological high point of my month.
7/18, Tuesday: We need rent and a security deposit to get this apartment. I don’t understand why I ask L.A. for money at noon and still don’t have it by five; don’t they know how to wire stuff?
Our fax breaks. It’s hot, probably 95, and everybody’s testy. The listing broker points out she has two other applicants ready to go; where’s our money?
Finally, renter’s mom calls. The girl’s mom, not the celeb’s, but it turns out she’s a broker; can she do anything? Yes, on the strength of her word alone my sponsoring broker writes a firm check and I walk it over. Points for professional courtesy and class.
I’m not sure whether to write out the check to the tenant/lessor or to the listing broker’s firm, so I walk it over blank, in my bra.
7/19, Wednesday: Magical, magical day. Our renter’s board package is updated, his credit is good, and I think we got points for showmanship for ferrying checks around in 95-degree heat. Provisionally, we’re in. All this is done via cell phone text, because of course the heat blew a router and our computers and half our phones are out. The leases get Fed Ex’d to the renter, who is, of course, traveling.
I call the woman we’d pitched the listing of, to say we’re sorry we didn’t get it, but we may have buyers; where is it, I don’t see it in the database? Her response is that she hasn’t given the listing to anybody, even with my inability to work my laptop we are one of two firms still in the running. She notes with fervor that the guy who claimed he had her listing is a “dirt bag.”
I make a mental note to tease him when I see him at Real Estate Connect.
Also, the financials on the apartment I’m selling come in. I send a celebratory cell phone text to my seller.
Sponsoring broker has picked up a new listing: I go over and eyeball it, even managing to get my cell phone pix up into the NYC central listing database. This is another technology high point, balanced by the fact that I nearly break the Murphy bed when I open it to see if it’s a full or a queen.
7/20, Thursday, cell phone text from renter @ 4:20: “Do I need a witness to sign lease?”
Cell phone text from renter @ 4:23: “I had someone sign. You can white it out if need be.”
E-mail from seller: “My phone has no signal if you hear about the contract, send e-mail. xox from bishkek.”
What a great couple of weeks. So where’s Bishkek?