Wednesday, March 5, 2014

ONE MONTH ANNIVERSARY IN NORFOLK! Part Two

Hello Cool Cats! When last we spoke, I had just endured holy hell as I was preparing to exit my apartment in Brooklyn Heights... Four days before closing, a radiator pipe in the apartment above mine burst and poured down into my kitchen for nearly 4 hours, pretty much turning the drywall into Play-Doh.

As previously reported, I hustled like a madman—tossing money into the air—to rebuild the walls and ceiling of my kitchen in three days, fearing that my buyers might come in during Tuesday’s walk-through, balk and say “So long, no thanks!” Thankfully, the work done by my contractor was 100% solid and by the time he finished Monday, my kitchen truly looked better than new.

But of course when one lives in a New York City coop, you can pretty much count on drama (which is among my Top 5 reasons for making a new start and exiting NYC). For 13 years, I had to ask permission from my building's Board (and often pay a shitload of money for the privilege of taking their time) if I so much as wanted to paint my door.
A houseplant on the fire escape: NO, it's a fire hazard! Host a party: We need to know when and how many! Scratch my butt: Not after 11 p.m.! My coop President was a doll, but the building’s Managing Agent... Hmm, let's put it this way... I am quite fond of her personally—and worked with her amiably when I was a member of the Board for 8 years—but there were times when she could be relentlessly "by the book"… and apparently it's one she has written herself. Yeah, that's good...

More than once I was treated like a Catholic School kid being whacked on the hand with a ruler… only with FINES added to my smackdown. 

Here's a timely and relevant example: When she got a copy of my typical sales contract to sell my apartment, it stated that I had 10 days upon closing to move out of my apartment. (Unlike most areas of the country where you move and then close, things are more complicated in NYC.)

Nope: She mandated that the contract be amended so that I had to move out all belongings before closing and get out pronto. 

That meant that the night before I left the Heights, hey, I slept on the bare floor! In fact, at closing, everyone at the table—brokers, attorneys and mortgage lenders—said they had never heard of such a thing in New York. At the least, it was unorthodox. At the most... As one stated, “That’s just MEAN.”

On to the real drama of the day… The Tuesday I am CLOSING on my Brooklyn apartment, my buyers are scheduled for walk-through with their Corcoran realtor and my beloved Douglas Elliman brokers (Marty Ellman & Myrel Glick, true pro goddesses). They told me this is a mere formality: 15 minutes. Obviously, I was nervous as hell after the kitchen flood (all were informed from the moment it happened).

So it’s raining that day. Pouring rain. I take my doggies Abby & Spencer out, figuring on an uncomfortable 20 minutes standing under the scaffolding next door to my building.

Should have known better with the way things were going, huh?

Turns out that the Corcoran agent representing my buyers came in with some sort of electrical outlet tester—thinking that she is a professional electrician? (Read: We’re sniffing for money back, baby!)

After TWO HOURS in the rain, I am informed there are “major concerns about the electrical in your living room,” because of something who the hell has ever heard of: reverse polarity.

To streamline the tale, that afternoon, the Corcoran agent insisted on sending an electrician to my apartment to inspect this horror!! And here’s the electrician's take: “Reverse polarity basically means that there’s potential for certain electrical appliances to run in reverse… like a blender.”

Got it! Because everybody knows we all tend to use a blender… every day… in the living room. Mind you, I had the room renovated in Fall 2012 by a licensed contractor, and I can state for the record that nothing I ever plugged in operated in reverse. Now I must admit, I did not make daiquiris in the living room during that time…

By this point Tuesday afternoon, the cloud was hanging so heavy over my hopes for closing that I took a meeting with my (kickass) attorney “Z”. Her advice: Let me talk, don’t get angry at closing… because they’re looking for money…"

After the electrician completed his inspection, I high tale it to closing in Manhattan, 45+ minutes late. And it just gets worse…

The attorney representing the buyers (who, BTW, were a sweet young couple with no agenda) is smarmy, arrogant, way too talkative, and personifies everything that gives the profession its deserved reputation. Let’s call him “Dick.”

Over the course of a two-and-a-half hour closing—populated by my attorney, buyers’ attorney, the buyers, their mortage broker, the coop’s attorney, my agent and their agent (the would-be electrician)—I have been informed that I need to put money in a pot because of the “serious” electrical issues. 

Dick had the audacity to ask me, “Did you do the electrical work yourself?” With steam rolling out of my ears—trying to keep in mind what Z had told me—I responded as calmly as I could that he was a fucking asshole… No, wait, that’s not what I said… That’s what I was THINKING. Um, I believe I said "No."

And there’s MORE!!!! Just when I thought it couldn’t get any more frustrating, my building's Managing Agent blindsides everyone at the table by sending an addendum to closing... STAND BY FOR PART 3...