It was a rainy Wednesday in May when…
…after 359 days on the market, the terraced apartment that Mr. and Mrs. X had signed a contract for received another offer and without any opportunity to plead our case, the seller had judged the other buyer to be better. I dreaded delivering the disappointing verdict particularly since Mr. and Mrs. X had sold their apartment and had proudly showed their new home to both sets of parents, their three kids, and Athens, their baby bulldog. I reminded them that “rejection is God’s protection” and that things happen for a reason although I felt like a talking Hallmark cliché as I tried to trust the universe and my belief in Karma.
While hoping the aggressive buyer who had outbid us wouldn’t sign the contract, an almost identical terraced penthouse in the adjacent building appeared out of the blue. I was at the 92nd Street Y in a screening of “The Wizard of Lies” (starring Robert De Niro as Bernie Madoff) when I saw the listing pop-up and unable to contain my excitement, I snuck a text to Mrs. X and she immediately responded asking if she could see the apartment in the morning before SoulCycle. Later that night when I called to tell her we were confirmed for the morning, I happened to mention that I’d been at a De Niro screening and she giggled since his daughter and her daughter were both starting kindergarten at Spence in the Fall. I was convinced the “stars” had finally aligned and this was a sign that our real estate luck had turned the corner.
The apartment was even better than the one we’d lost as the view was more open, the ceilings higher and the price lower. We immediately put in an offer and I assured the listing broker that we’d sign a contract right away as we had just lost an apartment and didn’t have the stomach for another real estate roller coaster ride. Our offer was accepted but paranoia set in when the seller’s attorney didn’t send out the contract. I tried to remain optimistic, as I believed things were going to work out even though a tense cycle of investigating whether the washer/dryer had board approval to be grandfathered in and remain in the apartment.
I couldn’t fathom why the seller’s attorney was taking so long to send out the contract however the broker assured me that the issue was one she couldn’t disclose but that the delay had nothing to do with our deal. The good news is we have a signed contract and when I saw the seller’s name on it, I laughed at the full circle of synchronicity. In addition to the DeNiro-Spence “coincidence,” it turns out the seller is the former Director of Operations for Bernie Madoff’s $17.5 billion dollar fraud and thus moved out of the Penthouse in 2014 to reside elsewhere for a minimum of ten years.