Last week, we planned to announce the winner of Corcoran’s “Crazy Deal Contest.” But try as we may, the judges — our own Ida Fields; agents Sharon Baum, John Gasdaska, Jonathan Conlon; and me — just couldn’t pick one. So we picked two — Pamela Wolfe from the Chelsea office and Diane Silberstein from the East Side office. Pam’s outlandish deal features a check snatched off the closing table by a wayward husband, and Diane’s deal involved a live-in chicken — yes, a beloved, egg-laying chicken. Crazy deals don’t happen every day, but they sure keep things interesting.
— Pamela Liebman, President and CEO
You Want to Keep a Live Chicken on the Terrace?
Agent: Diane Silberstein, East Side office
The owner says, “absolutely no chicken”. OK, I thought that would be the initial reaction, but I’m going to bat for my client, who is persistent. Being from the Midwest, she grew up with chickens and promises the chicken will stay outside.I call the Crosby Street Hotel, where I read they keep live chickens on the roof for their eggs, and speak to the person who manages the chickens and coops and ask dozens of questions on the caring of urban chickens, which are legally allowed in NYC. My client supplies photos of a custom chicken coop she’s having built and flown to NYC on her family’s private plane. I share info from the Crosby Street Hotel and coop photo (see below) with the owner’s broker, emails flying back and forth, dozens of phone calls, lots of questions needing answers, the owner seems to be softening, and we’re all in this together now.
A significant security deposit is offered and written into the lease along with a separate chicken rider. The deal gets done!
Agent: Pamela Wolfe, Chelsea Office
I was a relatively new agent and had met a young couple at an open house and ended up representing them for their first home purchase, one of my very first sales. We became friendly and in fact lived around the corner from each other. We stayed in touch through their first baby, and they called me one day, pretty suddenly to sell their apartment. They needed more space as they had just had their second child. The Muffin House was a unique property – formerly Thomas’s English Muffins’ second bakery. In fact, while these clients were doing a major renovation, they unearthed the actual oven built into the foundation of the building. We got it covered by the NYT. It wasn’t an easy sell, though, being a small duplex with a sub-level for sleeping and looking out on a shared back courtyard and carriage house – albeit very cute. I managed to get a deal and, the night before the closing, the wife called me to let me know that they were separating and she was afraid the husband would steal the check at closing. She asked me to stay close by at the closing table. I was dumbfounded, I had no idea, and I really didn’t believe he would do it as it made absolutely no sense. At the closing, the room was so small that I would have relegated to an anteroom. Sure enough, as the checks were being handed out, the husband grabbed it and ran. I bounded after him and chased him in the rain through the streets of Tribeca. I was telling him that the check was in both of their names so there was really no point in running with it. He cursed me out and kept running.
A police car stopped beside me wet and bedraggled and I told them what transpired. They invited me into the car and we drove around looking for him. When I told them he was FDNY they laughed and said not to worry, being a civil servant, he wasn’t going anywhere. We never found him that day, but I met the wife and her mother at the police precinct where we spent an hour as she lodged a complaint. The real estate and divorce attorneys ended up working it out, and I stayed in contact with the wife who moved with her children to Marine Park.
My manager urged me to submit for Deal of the Year, but I felt then that it was depraved. Now enough time has gone by that I can look back and chuckle. And, I’ve had many, many just as crazy experiences since then. BTW, I befriended the lovely buyers of the Muffin House, who were represented by a buyers’ broker, and I ended up selling The Muffin House again for them and helping them buy another place uptown.
Good things — and good people — can come out of distasteful situations.