Their Client Was Ready to Buy the Home. Then Came the Curveball.
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Their Client Was Ready to Buy the Home. Then Came the Curveball.

How last-minute demands almost derailed these deals

By AMY GAMERMAN
Thu, Jan 19, 2023 9:08amGrey Clock 3 min
Q: Has a buyer ever thrown a curveball at a deal, making a request that almost derailed the sale?

Frances Katzen, broker and head of the Katzen Team, Douglas Elliman Real Estate, New York City

I had a buyer who was adamant about having a very quiet apartment. He was a nice guy, very smart, but he had an issue with noise. He didn’t want to have any kind of impact from the city once he stepped into his home.

I worked with him for nine months. We found an apartment on the East Side, a one-bedroom on a side street that we visited 12 times. He wanted to know what day the garbage trucks came and where the building’s mechanicals were, like for the elevator. He wanted to understand what time of day the street got busiest and what kind of riffraff was there. The apartment wasn’t on a particularly high floor, and he wanted to know how noise carried.

We went back during business hours. Normally, we stop showing at 6 at night, but we went back on a Saturday at 8 p.m. to hang out and see what was going on. After that, he asked if he could come back on a weekend morning. He asked people in the lobby of the building what they thought. The seller’s broker was getting pissed off.

After going back and forth, we struck a deal. We had an accepted offer. Then at the 11th hour, he turned around and said he would like the seller to install soundproof windows.

The seller was like, “You know what? I’ve bent over giving you access, you jackass.” But eventually they decided to do it. We all had to chip in for the windows. I threw in a little bit to show my support. It was like $12,000. We were doing a triple-glaze and my client wanted them to be attractive. It took weeks.

We’re at the closing, and he says, “After further consideration, I just feel like I’m rushing into this.”

I said, “Stop—you’ve been trying to do this with me for nine months.”

He said, “I just feel like maybe I should wait.”

Finally, I said, “Do you really want to be out there paying rent?”

And he said, “OK.” He has been happy since, but it’s always such a bloody process.

Peter Torkan, founder and managing partner, The Agency Toronto, Toronto

It was a 26,000-square-foot home: 10 bedrooms, 16 bathrooms, an indoor swimming pool, indoor spa, a tennis court and a beautiful water fountain in the backyard—you name it. I represented the seller, who was a billionaire.

I showed the house to a billionaire couple. They went through the house and absolutely fell in love with it. They went back for a second visit, and then they went for a third time with a feng shui master. The feng shui master went through the whole house and approved it. The tour took about 1½ hours, at least. While they were in the house, the buyers ran into the housekeeper and started talking to her. She had been there three or four years and was extremely familiar with the house.

They submitted an offer. We went back and forth, and finally an offer of $15.888 million was accepted. There were two hooks. The seller had over $1 million in furniture in the house, and the buyer wanted every piece of furniture to be included—free of charge. The second hook was a nut-job clause: The housekeeper to stay with the house. They made it a contingency of the sale.

I told the agent, “You want over $1 million worth of furniture. If the seller is willing to sell it to you, maybe we can negotiate. But this condition that the
housekeeper stays in the house—I can’t demand that.”

If the seller had signed the offer and the housekeeper refused to stay, the whole deal would have fallen apart because of that stupid contingency. It took 31 days of back and forth and back and forth. The buyer wanted the furniture in the main bedroom, the dining room, the family room.

We decided to give them a few things to make them happy, throw in certain pieces of furniture. But the buyer was adamant: The lady had to stay.

Finally, I lost it. I told the buyer’s agent, “It’s impossible. How can you demand somebody stay? Maybe they don’t like your face. Let’s cancel the deal. You go ahead and buy something else.”

This was just a bluff, but I’m a good poker player. The next day the agent called me and said, “We are going to remove that condition.”

Afterward, I found out that the housekeeper actually did stay. I assume they made a deal. And funny enough, the sellers left behind a $100,000 Bang & Olufsen sound system and TV. It was humongous.



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11 ACRES ROAD, KELLYVILLE, NSW

This stylish family home combines a classic palette and finishes with a flexible floorplan

35 North Street Windsor

Just 55 minutes from Sydney, make this your creative getaway located in the majestic Hawkesbury region.

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The four-storey, lemon-hued villa boasts more than 16,000 square feet of living space and historic character and charm by the bucket load

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A 14th-century villa in the hills overlooking Florence, Italy, has hit the market for €12 million (US$13 million).

Surrounded by cypress trees, vineyards and olive groves, the quintessential Tuscan home was built for the Davanzati family—who were powerful bankers, merchants and patrons during the Italian Renaissance who have a museum named after them in the heart of the city. The villa was one of the family’s multiple country retreats, according to Lionard Luxury Real Estate, which brought the home to the market earlier this month.

Courtesy of Lionard

The four-storey, lemon-hued villa boasts more than 16,000 square feet of living space and historic character and charm by the bucket load.

The ballroom has a giant skylight.
Courtesy of Lionard

On the ground floor there are ​​a number of reception rooms and open-air living areas, with many of them boasting antique paintings, tapestries and stately fireplaces made of marble or carved stone.

The most “magnificent” room, according to Lionard, is the winter garden hall, a ballroom with stuccos, loggias and towering vaulted ceilings, illuminated by an Art Nouveau skylight.

Courtesy of Lionard

On the first floor are multiple double bedrooms and an antique library, and the second floor, while in need of renovation, offers the possibility of creating up to 12 en-suite bedrooms. The villa’s tower has a “delightful sitting room and a rooftop terrace offering a breathtaking view of the city of Florence,” the listing said.

The villa has ivy-covered loggias.
Courtesy of Lionard

The basement, meanwhile, has a cellar with brick vaults that are perfect for wine lovers. An elevator runs between the levels.

Outside, the grounds have well-kept gardens, rolling lawns, a fountain, ancient wells and ivy-covered loggias.

Mansion Global couldn’t determine who is selling the villa, or when they acquired it.

The property is “an oasis of peace,” the listing said, and “one of the most exclusive historical estates on the hills that surround the city of Florence.”

MOST POPULAR
11 ACRES ROAD, KELLYVILLE, NSW

This stylish family home combines a classic palette and finishes with a flexible floorplan

35 North Street Windsor

Just 55 minutes from Sydney, make this your creative getaway located in the majestic Hawkesbury region.

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