Brooklyn Secret Agent: What’s Love Got to Do With It?

Today we bring you the 14th of an anonymous weekly column about real estate by one of the most experienced agents in Brooklyn:
On Valentine’s Day my thoughts turn to the way in which relationships affect real estate transactions. It is no surprise that buying property is a lot like falling in love; a new home is like a new lover. You can’t help but imagine that you will be a different and better person with this place (person).

A starry-eyed young couple came to me looking for a place to buy together. Their likes and dislikes could not have been more different. I was relieved when they decided to rent instead. Unwinding a failed relationship is hard enough. Add owned real estate into the deal and you’ve got a full-fledged divorce on your hands.

Then there was the married couple. She would look at any and all house listings in Brooklyn Heights. She liked them all. Master of the Universe husband would then visit and reject every one. One day, in the garden of the 14th house, the wife burst into tears and told me they were seeing a counselor to determine why he wouldn’t agree to buy a house. TMI, for sure.

And there was the 22 year old from South America whose Daddy was paying. He didn’t care what it cost – only that it was a “safe” neighborhood and had a doorman. All she wanted was a loft in Bushwick. I gave that buyer to someone else because I could not navigate the complicated love relationship between father and daughter.

My favorite love story is the young man who made his considerable fortune as a computer geek on Wall Street. He met a woman and fell hard. Neither was young but for once the love seemed mutual. He bought them a great house, paying more than the market at that time. They moved in and she shortly had a baby. Then they held a fabulous wedding in the house. The good vibes continue to emanate from the house —  lots of love there.

Continuing the oldies theme, let’s all try a little tenderness on Valentine’s Day 2013.

8 Comment

  • Buying a house can really bring up a lot of emotional issues. Im sure many brokers sometimes feel more like a therapist. I just hope you see more “happy endings” and joy in your dealings with clients than unpleasant over-sharing.

  • The other kind of love is falling head over heels in love with a house. You dream about it at night, decorate it mentally from top to bottom, picture yourself living there, mentally renovate and fix everything that needs it, and put your toothbrush in the cup. If you really have it bad, you’ve taken photographs, and visited it several times. You know this house, it is YOUR house.

    Then, for whatever reason, you don’t get it. It’s as bad as breaking up. I still remember (and still have photos) of many a dream house that never came through. The agony! If possible, don’t fall in love with a house until you own it, you might get your heart broken.

    • I had the immediate fall-in-love-with-house experience, except I got it. I wasn’t even looking, but saw it advertised in a real estate window when the friend I was with stopped to look for two-bedrooms. There was an open house the next week, and I spent half an hour with my jaw hanging open going OMG, OMG, OMG, I love this and there’s so much I could do with it (it needed a new facade, among other things). By the time I walked out and up 2/3 of a block to the next avenue, I’d decided it was my house. It took a while to go to contract and five months to close, but it was worth it. (And, a week after closing, I went on my first date with my wife, and 18 months after that, our son arrived in the world — a pretty good two-year run after deciding I didn’t have to wait any longer to live in a beautiful space that I loved.)

  • MM, I know exactly what you mean. We fell, hard, for a beautiful house, and came within 50K of getting it, but just could not make that final stretch. Funny thing is, we did finally get a house, which we like very much – but on the block behind the dream house. Every morning, I look out of the kitchen window, and see the back of the lost beloved. Kind of like marrying the sister of your true love… or something.

  • For me, buying our place turned out to be just like my past dating life. Kept going from one to another, falling hard for some that were out of reach, trying to make others work out from shear stubbornness when really I should have let it end because it wasn’t a right fit, thinking I knew exactly what I wanted, but only from trial and error and going through a bunch, did I accidentally and unexpectedly stumble on what turned out to be the perfect one for me. I’d have missed her if I didn’t stay open minded.

    Same turned out to be true for our place. Was probably pretty low on our initial list (didnt have the location or amenities we though we coveted), and now we’re beyond happy that we didn’t end up with any of the places we originally made offers on and thought we loved. They were all wrong in retrospect, just had to go through a bunch to get to this gem.

  • “dang man, look at the lintels on Queen Anne over there.”

  • This may be the best-received “secret agent” column to date!