Saturday, April 4, 2009


Hi all. I am from a wealthy background and this recession marks the first time in my life that I am suffering with (or should I say without) money. In fact, I have lived in my historic apartment building, London Terrace, for almost 20 years in one of the last rent stablized units in NYC and am now in danger of losing my apartment because I am (also for the first time) 3 months behind on my rent. Now let me clarify one thing: this recession caught me by surprise and I loaned some money when I should not have. That is all I have to say, which is not much, in my own defense.

Let me point out that I sell New York City real estate, which will probably make you have even less sympathy for me. We all know what has happened here. Fear rules the streets. Anxiety runs up and down the elevators of residential buildings. Indecision clings to the crenolated stone of the most venerable co-op facades. In other words: people are too damn scared to buy real estate at a time when the bargains are so good they will kick themselves for not having taken action two years down the road. My 60 hour weeks without a sale are proof enough that things are a bit out of kilter. I, however, remain hopeful that the human spirit of consumption will triumph and the general public will get generally bored with sitting on the sidelines. Go, America!

And this, I believe, is how it may play out. Although my debt is probably overall less than most peoples' (around 30-35,000 including the rent I owe), I now have 13 million dollars worth of real estate for sale. The industry commission in New York City is 6%. That can vary to 5% or 4% depending on how the market is or how many deals a seller does with a broker. Usually we get 2 1/2 to 3 % because 90% of all deals in NYC are co-broked. That means one broker has the property and another has the buyer. So let's say, at the very bottom, I sell my 13 million. In fact, let's say I sell half of it - and call it 6 million. Let's say I get the bottom percentage, which is 2 1/2%. 6,000,000 multiplied by 2 1/2 percent comes to $150,000. Let's say I have the lowest split with my company, which is 50% -- that means I stand to bring in at least $75,000 which not only pays my rent but allows me a good bit of wiggle room for paying off everything else and keep going.

And these people want to kick me out. What would you do if you were them? Answer honestly - I can take it.