Home News These Real-Estate Pros Took Their Deals to the Grave (Literally)

These Real-Estate Pros Took Their Deals to the Grave (Literally)

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Mary-Jean Gianquinto, Associate Broker, The Corcoran Group, Brooklyn Heights, NY

It was a real estate sale at Carroll Gardens. Selling real estate is usually complicated with family and lawyers, but I have never experienced anything like this. Basically, the title company couldn’t find a death certificate for the owner’s deceased grandparents, so they wouldn’t let us close. and in the situation in Italy, the son inherited the house.When the son and wife died, the children put the house up for sale. There was a death certificate for the seller’s parents, but not in the title.

Clearly the grandparents were either dead or vampires, but the title company didn’t budge. The listing agent actually tried to go to the Department of Health to get a death certificate but due to Covid they couldn’t.

The listing agent and I have put our heads together. The agent said, “Well, maybe we can go to the cemetery and take a picture of their tombstone. When it’s free?”

They were buried in Calvary Cemetery in Queens, which was as huge as the city. We had to go to the office to find them. No one was surprised, they gave me the plot number, like, “Oh, this is where they are.”

It happened to be a dark and boring day, a perfect graveyard day. We ran around the cemetery, found graves and took some pictures of the gravestones. I had never done it before, but the bottom line was that I had to do it.

The worst part of this is that the buyer pulled the deal after everything cleared — four days before closing. It was this title situation. They waited a long time, but when something holds up and people have time to think, it happens. It’s time and a lawyer.

James Keenan, Real Estate Agent, Sotheby’s International Realty, New York City

The owner sold all the contents of a 2 bedroom in downtown Manhattan and had to get rid of it. He had moved to Carolina. His wife died of cancer. His son lived in an apartment, but he was transferred to Japan.

The seller was overwhelmed by the whole process. He gave me the keys and said, “I don’t want anything in this apartment. You can keep it, donate it, do whatever you want.”

There were bicycles, golf clubs and shopping bags full of drugs. I gave it to the hospital. There was a donation center down the block. I dumped a lot of stuff there and gave it to Housing Works and the Salvation Army.


Eric Palma

Some weren’t thrown away. Found his wife’s jewelry buried in the bottom of the linen closet. They also found her wife’s ashes. They were in one of her closets, a box. That’s how they ship them to you, you have to pay extra for the urn.

I FaceTimed him and went through all the things I didn’t want to throw away.

I packed it all up in a box and sent it to him. But he didn’t know what to do with the box containing his wife’s ashes.

i told him about it. I said, “May I take the ashes to the Catholic Cemetery in Brooklyn?” She is Catholic and I was going to visit relatives there. he loved his wife he said yes.

I went to the cemetery. I found a beautiful spot, by a beautiful tree. I made sure no one was watching and scattered the ashes under the tree. I put leaves on it and prayed.

I was fine with that. He is at peace and so is his wife. After showing the apartment, I asked, “What do you think of these people? Do you think they’ll be happy here?”

I was able to purchase it at a very reasonable price.

— Edited from Interview

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