Chris Toland, Associate Real Estate Broker, Agency in New York City
I was with a buyer at a new development in Brooklyn that was doing an open house. We got there late. The open house ended at 4pm and I think we got there at 3:45. It was a fairly small building with 12 to 15 units. We spoke with a sales agent, took a tour, and saw a model apartment.
The agent said “If you want to see other apartments, go upstairs. They are open.” Pre-Covid open houses weren’t as regulated as they are today.
It was still a construction site. The elevator wasn’t working so I had to climb the stairs to see the higher floor units.
I don’t think we were there long. I went downstairs five or ten minutes after the open house was over and there were no living souls anywhere. As soon as the open house ended, they kind of ran away.
The building was in this yard behind a chain link fence with a huge chain with a big padlock. Not only did the developer’s agents leave, they locked us up. The fence was high, over ten feet. It was there to keep people away from many places.
I called the sales office. I called the listing agent. I’m calling here and there. Agents must still be in the area. But it didn’t reach anyone. It was a little funny, but the buyers were a young couple with a little daughter staying at home with a babysitter. They said, “Look, we have to get out of here.”
In the end, I decided to call the fire department. I needed someone to chop this lock for me. I called her 911 and she said, “This is not an emergency, but can he send two men with an ax?” And of course you hear the sirens. Two trucks have arrived. They chopped off the padlock and freed us.
The couple never purchased the apartment and never heard from the developer’s agent. At least I don’t remember him calling me, “What’s wrong with my lock?”
Mike Fabbri, Realtor at Nest Seekers International in New York City
It was a penthouse in the Flatiron district, a beautiful duplex with a large terrace. I was a buyer’s agent. Our client was a young tech couple who had just moved here from San Francisco. They had technical money. They wanted penthouse prestige, they wanted to be in Flatiron, they wanted outdoor space. They liked the duplex, but their private outdoor terrace didn’t have the view and light they wanted.
That was their only problem. That’s why I said Located just one floor above, it offers 360-degree panoramic views. ‘We were in the elevator and he went up one floor. Normally you need a fob to unlock the door to the rooftop, but it was left open for the show. The door was ajar. The terrace was fully equipped with lounges, chairs and tables. I believe it was an outdoor kitchen. Since it was a boutique condo, the amenities felt more private.
The client had a view and was very happy. They realized that they could use this rooftop to host a party. I said, “You have the best of both worlds!”
Then suddenly a gust of wind blew and the door closed. I approached and tried to open the door. it wasn’t open. I looked up the doorman’s number and came to help. However, I couldn’t find the phone number for the building online.
“Honestly, this is great! This building takes security very seriously and if someone scales the building to the roof, they can’t get inside. This indicates that this is a very discreet private building.” But I was stressed internally.
I ended up texting the listing agent. They met the doorman and we all laughed. Then I went back to the unit and watched it again. They bought it because they realized how much they loved it.
Buyers had a party the summer I went. The party was in their unit, but the guests went up to the roof. Everyone took fobs, and there were three or four hanging next to the door. I joked that I should make my own fobs.
— Edited from Interview