What year is this?

From the NYT:

The ‘Shift the Goalpost’ Home Sale

It’s a deal. Or is it?

After apartment-hunting in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, for months this spring, Dr. Ronald Nath finally lucked out with a two-bedroom duplex at the top of a condominium, listed at $800,000.

A day after a crowded open house, Dr. Nath, a Massachusetts surgeon, offered $803,000 for the unit, which was to be a home for his son David, a television news producer. But because of its location and the outdoor spaces on both floors, the unit attracted more than a dozen offers, which prompted the seller to request higher bids.

For his “best and final” offer, which usually signals the end of the haggling process, Dr. Nath promised $912,000, which seemed to do the trick. The seller congratulated Dr. Nath and told him the unit was his; a contract was drawn up.

Not so fast. A few days later, like a kite in a gust of wind, the price soared again, to $995,000. Insulted by what he described as being “played,” Dr. Nath refused to raise his offer and ultimately lost the unit to a buyer who plunked down $1.1 million. “I was absolutely outraged,” he said. “When you give your word that a deal is done, you’re supposed to fulfill your agreement.”

A real estate deal, like any other business transaction, isn’t ironclad until signatures wind up on a contract, said Tom Le of the Corcoran Group, the seller’s broker, who defended his clients’ right to get the highest possible price for their unit, even if it left some raw feelings.

“Of course Dr. Nath is going to be upset, because his heart was set on the apartment,” Mr. Le said. “But the truth is, Dr. Nath was given every single opportunity to match the price.” He added that after watching home values plummet over the last few years, sellers finally have relief. “They’ve been scraping by for years just to get to this point.” Both the seller and the buyer declined to comment, said Mr. Le, who added that even he had been taken aback by the intensity of interest in the home.

Whether caused by economics, or the unseemly equivalent of moving the goalposts to prevent touchdowns, experiences like Dr. Nath’s are becoming more common in a market with a huge pool of buyers chasing a limited number of homes.

Not too long ago, an accepted offer marked the home stretch of the deal: the expectation was that the two sides would sign a contract and a deposit check would be cashed a few days later. Now, as sellers go back on their word and repeatedly increase their asking prices, “best and final” often seems to mean “O.K. and almost there,” according to real estate industry sources.

Buoyed by a new confidence in the market, some sellers seem intent on keeping the bidding alive even after there appears to be a winner, with some demanding sharply higher prices, as in Dr. Nath’s case, and others coming back with gradual $15,000 bumps every week or so. Are these sellers merely reacting to a fast-moving market — or are they, as unlucky buyers might suggest, just being greedy?

“It’s surprising how ugly it’s getting.” said Robert Frankel, a real estate lawyer who has handled closings for two decades. Years ago, goalpost-shifting was virtually nonexistent, he said. Recently, he has been seeing one a week, while other lawyers have complained about having to draft multiple contracts for some properties.

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56 Responses to What year is this?

  1. chicagofinance says:


  2. chicagofinance says:

    Memo to the outside world: NYC has degraded to an amusement park for the trust fund set. Idiot Doctor bellyaching at the need to drop 7 figures for his son’s apartment? Give me a break. If parents weren’t fronting this kind of coin, there wouldn’t be these kind of issues in the first place.

  3. Fast Eddie says:

    Not so fast. A few days later, like a kite in a gust of wind, the price soared again, to $995,000. Insulted by what he described as being “played,” Dr. Nath refused to raise his offer and ultimately lost the unit to a buyer who plunked down $1.1 million. “I was absolutely outraged,” he said. “When you give your word that a deal is done, you’re supposed to fulfill your agreement.”

    Don’t lose sleep over it, Dr. Nath. You think you got played? Some guy just spent over a million dollars for an apartment in Brooklyn. In Brooklyn!! That other guy didn’t get played, he got gang r.aped with a plunger.

  4. Essex says:

    3. Brooklyn is the new residential nirvana.

  5. Surely, this will end differently than the first boom.

  6. Ben says:

    Brooklyn’s top 311 complaint this year was vermin according to a map I saw on the news last night. You too, can live amongst rats and mice for 1.1 million. I’ll stick to the deer and rabbits.

  7. Wait until Dr. Nath is being chased by a meth-crazed gang bearing knives and torches.

  8. We need to perpetuate ways in which idiots can be swiftly separated from their money.

  9. NJCoast says:

    At my nieces wedding at the Brooklyn Winery last night. Hipster heaven.

  10. joyce says:


    Can you please tell me which MLS is used the most for Ocean County? (I usually just go to gsmls and there’s nothing on there really)

  11. Fast Eddie says:

    We need to perpetuate ways in which idiots can be swiftly separated from their money.

    That’s easy. Change the name of Irvington to East Millburn and watch the m0rons dive like epileptic penguins.

  12. joyce says:

    Thank you

  13. grim says:

    From Newsday:

    New York house flipping nets $40,000 average profit

    Looking for a quick $40,000? Consider joining the rapidly growing legion of New York-area home flippers. The average gross profit on a home owned for less than six months and sold in the first half of 2013 in the New York City, Long Island and Northern New Jersey area was $39,458, according to a report released July 19 by real estate analytics firm RealtyTrac.

    Based on gross profit percentage (10 percent), RealtyTrac found the local market to be the nation’s 14th best for profitable home flipping.

    The practice is on the rise across the country. The 136,184 flips in the first half of 2013 is a 19 percent increase on the same period in 2012 and a 74 percent uptick compared to the first half of 2011. Investors using this strategy enjoyed an average gross profit of $18,391, which marks a 9 percent gross return.

    Keep in mind, the return investors actually realize is likely far less lucrative. The analysis was based purely on recorded sales prices, and doesn’t take other expenses into account, such as taxes, broker fees and home improvement expenses.

    Still, 5,485 incidences of house-flipping were recorded in the local market, up 437 percent from the same period a year ago. That’s likely because the area is still experiencing a lot of foreclosure activity, which RealtyTrac said correlated closely to home flipping as it indicates a greater number of distressed bargains available to investors. As previously noted, New York — and Long Island in particular — remains beset by a large number of foreclosures largely due to the state’s extremely slow judicial process. Meanwhile, areas that have already cleared through most of their distressed inventory, including Las Vegas, Phoenix and Southern California, are seeing declines in house-flipping.

  14. Can’t wait until the new season of “Girls”. Fat, bucktoothed, tattooed and self-absorbed: that’s the way I like my women.

  15. 1 mm + to live with a bunch of hipsters, wannabes and fat OCD chicks. It is the end of days.

  16. Ragnar says:

    “Girls” is gross. I saw it for 10 minutes. Some ugly chick got rear ended by some jerk. Then there was some boring chick talk. They should all just exterminate themselves if they cannot find something more useful to do and that would make it more interesting.

  17. ragnar (17)-

    Funny how one of the running memes of the show is un- and under-employment.

  18. chicagofinance says:

    I need to move some furniture from New Providence to Colts Neck on Monday, are there any opinions on the way to go? At this point, I am going to choose U-Haul for a truck, and the best deal seems to be a one-way from Scotch Plains and drop off in Old Bridge (they throw in $30). Take insurance for $15 and buy some supplies…..I think I walk away spending about $120 plus refill the gas and maybe get nicked slightly on mileage…..is this a good way to go? I tried Penske and Budget, but the price does not even come close…..any bad experiences?

  19. Ccb223 says:


    “Meth crazed gang bearing knives and torches” … when was the last time you went to Brooklyn? More like artsy hipster who works for ad agency chewing your ear off about how wall st is evil. You gotta get out of the boon docks man…time to try venturing outside of wawa.

  20. ccb (20)-

    Dolt, I’m talking post-apocalypse. At that point, the meth-crazed gangs will have killed and eaten all the hipsters.

  21. Grim says:

    You can eat all the hipsters you want, they are probably pretty stringy.

    Me? I’ll be chowing on the bbq at fette sau (or mabel’s).

  22. This ain’t no Mudd Club, no CBGB…

  23. AG says:

    Its all turning to sh_t. Its only a matter of time.

    Hope you have some warm gloves. The trash can fires are only good for so long.

  24. AG says:

    Go ahead. Pay off your mortgage sucker. When you are paying 50% more for your big mac and fries your mortgage will look like a bargain.

  25. AG says:

    America the beautiful. One big _ss f_ckin shopping mall filled with useless garbage from China that we don’t need.

    I recommend Harrington Delaware down on Rt 13. 1 Hardy’s, 1 Gas station, and 1 Burger King.

    You want to see the real America? Try a drive down 95. Just over the DE/MD border there is a rest stop with a Roy Rogers in it. Just do it. Then you will know the situation is hopeless.

  26. Anon E. Moose says:

    ChiFi [2];

    Booya. +1

  27. Anon E. Moose says:

    ChiFi [19];

    You have a hitch on whatever you drive? I picked up a room full of kids furniture from family in VA a few years ago — the cost of a 1-way box truck + gas was well more than the cost of buying/installing a Class I trailer hitch and renting a 5 x 8 for the furniture on my crossover — and I keep the hitch at the end of the deal. Since then the hitch has come in handy a couple of times, and is available to accept a bike rack, etc.

    Most cars I saw running around Germany a few years ago were small and had light duty trailer hitches on them. They were build (body & engine) for economy, and the back seat/trunk was an either/or, not both. If you needed to take passengers AND bags, you just hitched up something that looked like a motorcycle trailer.

  28. Statler Waldorf says:

    Verbal agreement? Why is doc surprised? If the paper isn’t signed, the deal isn’t done.

  29. grim says:

    Lots of deals get scuttled with signed papers, in attorney review, by better offers coming in after the first papers are signed, in NJ anyway, I don’t know what the NY rules are.

    The NJ BAR thought they’d won a big step towards protecting consumers (or protecting their business) when the decision was made to require the 3 day attorney review period (really more like 5-7 day attorney review period). In reality, the decision opened up the door to allowing agents to shop offers long after the ink has dried. Even worse, most agents don’t even need to shop those offers, since once the MLS status goes into A* (Pending Attorney Review) – new buyers come out of the woodwork with new offers.

    While Attorney Review has some clear benefits (I’d certainly not want to operate without it in place), it’s got negatives as well, the extended window to solicit offers being one of them.

    The deal isn’t done until you take possession with a free and clear title.

  30. Comrade Nom Deplume, Halfwit dumbass says:

    PA doesn’t provide for attorney review. We presented offer Friday and at their request allowed the weekend for sellers to consult with their lawyer over a leaseback, but they had to change the listing to “A/N” for no showings.

    Still, I know they will try to shop the offer and I’ll be going over to see if the agent tries to hold a scheduled open house today. I wouldn’t view losing this house as the end of the world but it does waste my time.

  31. Nom, transacting in real estate is generally a waste of time.

  32. I think the natural state of man is roaming in packs and sleeping in the open.

  33. You don’t own real estate until you make the last mortgage payment.

  34. I used to be suggested this blog via my cousin. I’m not sure whether this submit is written by way of him as nobody else recognize such particular about my problem. You are amazing! Thank you!

  35. Fabius Maximus says:

    #27 Anon

    If you can, also get the extra transmission cooler. That will save your transmission in the long run.

  36. Ragnar says:

    Even after the last mortgage payment, NJ property tax payers are really just renting from their town governments. Its like an HOA run by a mob that also insists on indoctrinating (aka educating) your children to think their way.

  37. Not Ragnar says:

    Ragnar – If you don’t like Jersey, then please move out to a “GOP” state, and stop bitching.

    I know with a name like Ragnar, you will not feel very comfortable in MS or GA or AL at the onset. I know Billy Joe or Zeke might not like you right off the bat. But once they learn you have some good math skills you learn in those Yankees schools and you can help them cook a mean batch of Crystal Meth or Moonshine with that Yankee math. They’ll love you. Poor Billy Joe and Zeke can only count up their toes and fingers together. Zeke was home schooled and Billy Joe went to a christian school. Since Billy Joe had lost that toe at 17 yrs old because of diabetes. They keep blowing up their Crystal Meth batches, because when they count their fingers and toes – Billy Joe keeps coming to 19, so he’s always putting in the wrong amount of ingredients.

    Hey, you might even meet your hero Limbaugh. I heard since he put away the oxys, he has gained weight and started doing crystal meth to lose weight. That is why in his radio show, he constantly sound like he’s having a seizure.

  38. cobbler says:

    Ragnar (actually, his real name is perfectly American) will be as unhappy in the Bible country as he is here, but for a different set of reasons. Probably, the best places for an all-around Randian libertarian are states like WY, etc. – but not many well paying jobs around there.

  39. Fast Eddie says:

    Got to agree with Ragnar. NJ has perfected the art of legalized theft; no one else does it better. The property taxes are basically just the government’s version of money laundering. It’s an infinite cycle because anyone that can stop it or do anything about it already has a hand in the till. It’s the ultimate scam and the plebs have no idea they’re being swindled.

  40. Anon E. Moose says:

    Re: [38];

    Well done. You managed to hit each and every one of the Daily Kos/DU laugh lines. You must be the life of the NPR whine and cheese listening parties.

    Lord knows you can’t find any uneducated types populating the great metropolis like New York.

  41. I grew up in Memphis, but by far the dumbest people I’ve met in my life went to either Dickinson or Ferris HS in Jersey City.

  42. Just complete illiterate dunces.

  43. Ben says:

    What I want to know is where all these hipsters in Brooklyn came from.

  44. chicagofinance says:

    Kids of SoCal idiots that are rebelling….or else they grew up in Southwest CT…..

    Ben says:
    July 21, 2013 at 4:07 pm
    What I want to know is where all these hipsters in Brooklyn came from.

  45. chicagofinance says:

    Finally found a policeman worthy of Bergen County……

  46. chicagofinance says:

    Finally found a policeman worthy of Bergen County……

  47. chicagofinance says:

    Let’s try that again….

    Finally found a policeman worthy of Bergen County……

  48. Ragnar says:

    I grew up in GA and FL and still have family in both states. It is much easier to live as an atheist in either of those states than to disagree with the liberal/NYTimes statist/environmental dogmas. I went to school with mostly rednecks and they didn’t stifle my education. Anyone anywhere can read books if they make an effort. Last I checked they use pretty much the same schoolbooks there as here, and the books cost the same there too. I think in NJ it costs a lot more to fail the illiterate li’l criminals in Newark and Camden than it does in the south. Of course they don’t have the culture of the Jersey Shore. And the state didn’t demand 10% to 20% of a family’s income for the privilege of earning a living and owning a home.
    Last one out renames NJ “Detroit East”

  49. Comrade Nom Deplume, Bostonian says:

    Well, you knew it wasn’t going to be easy, and today, the sellers and the agents tried to throw the slider. We got back our agreement, signed by the sellers, but they added radon info to the version they returned. They “discovered” old radon documents and advised in the agreement that they had 4.8 picocuries in the basement when they purchased. Then the agents sent them along with the “oh, just initial these”.

    We went off on our agent and advised her that the addition is a material change to the document so we don’t have an agreement. Further, we told her we are “distressed” by the false and misleading statements in the disclosure, statements we relied upon in making our offer.

    Interestingly, they gave us the documents that disclosed the radon and an undisclosed mold remediation. So I appreciate their inexperience in being deceptive.

    I still like the house but radon remediation isn’t going to cut it. I’m going to want a price reduction, and I will make it clear to my agent and whoever listens that going forward, they will have to report what they didn’t report to us. And that the licensing board for realtors may just hear about this because it was the agent that had and sent us the documents that disclosed the issues.

    I’m almost hoping that they try to insist they have a deal. My reaction will be a chuckle and “you really want to go in front of a judge on these facts?”

    Stay tuned.

  50. Grim says:

    Isn’t most of PA considered high radon risk?

  51. grim says:

    Could be Jerusalem, or it could be Cairo
    Could be Berlin, or it could be Prague
    Could be Moscow, could be New York
    Could be Llanelli, and it could be Warrington
    Could be Warsaw, and it could be Moose Jaw
    Could be Rome
    Everybody got somewhere they call home
    When they overrun the defences
    A minor invasion put down to expenses
    Will you go down to the airport lounge
    Will you accept your second class status
    A nation of waitresses and waiters
    Will you mix their martinis
    Will you stand still for it
    Or will you take to the hills

    It could be clay and it could be sand
    Could be desert
    Could be a tract of arable land
    Could be a house, could be a corner shop
    Could be a cabin by a bend in the river
    Could be something your old man handed down
    Could be something you built on your own
    Everybody got something he calls home

    When the cowboys and Arabs draw down
    On each other at noon
    In the cool dusty air of the city boardroom
    Will you stand by a passive spectator
    Of the market dictators
    Will you discreetly withdraw
    With your ear pressed to the boardroom door
    Will you hear when the lion within you roars
    Will you take to the hills

    Will you stand, will you stand for it
    Will you hear, ohhhh! ohhh! when the lion within you roars

    Could be your father and it could be your mother
    Could be your sister, could be your brother
    Could be a foreigner, could be a Turk
    Could be a cyclist out looking for work. Norman
    Could be a king, could be the Aga khan
    Could be a Vietnam vet with no arms and no legs
    Could be a saint, could be a sinner
    Could be a loser or it could be a winner
    Could be a banker, could be a baker
    Could be a Laker, could be Kareem Abdul Jabar
    Could be a male voice choir
    Could be a lover, could be a fighter
    Could be a super heavyweight, or it could be something lighter
    Could be a cripple, could be a freak
    Could be a wop, gook, geek
    Could be a cop, could be a thief
    Could be a family of ten living in one room on relief
    Could be our leaders in their concrete tombs
    With their tinned food and their silver spoons
    Could be the pilot with God on his side
    Could be the kid in the middle of the bomb sight
    Could be a fanatic, could be a terrorist
    Could be a dentist, could be a psychiatrist
    Could be humble, could be proud
    Could be a face in the crowd
    Could be the soldier in the white cravat
    Who turns the key in spite of the fact
    That this is the end of the cat and mouse
    Who dwelt in the house
    Where the laughter rang and the tears were spilt
    The house that Jack built
    Where the laughter rang and the tears were spilt
    The house that Jack built
    Bang, bang, shoot, shoot
    White gloved thumb, Lord thy will be done
    He was always a good boy his mother said
    He’ll do his duty when he’s grown, yeah
    Everybody’s got someone they call home

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  53. Comrade Nom Deplume, Halfwit dumbass says:

    [51] grim

    Some areas are. The state averages are higher but the averages in this area are well under the state average. 4.8 in a basement is borderline but the undisclosed mold work that was done in conjunction with basement waterproofing is more of a concern because we don’t know the extent of it. Sounded minor but I cannot say.

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