Monday, November 1, 2010

When Money Alone Doesn’t Qualify a Buyer


Who should buy this town house? Its owners want not
 just $8.35 million, but also some say in its future.



When we sell or pass down beloved possessions, out of necessity or just desire, we often hope that the new owners will treasure them as much as we did. We want the buyer of that used car we had in college, the one we can’t afford the insurance for, to take as good care of it as we did. Maybe better. We want the friend who gets our old party dresses to party in them, too.
This week’s installment of my column, The Appraisal, visits one owner trying to sell his family’s Greenwich Village town house. But he has some requirements that others may find unusual. The man, a writer who, with his wife, raised their children there, wants the buyers to be artistic, spend time with their children and make this a home for many years. (They also need to be able to afford $8.35 million.) He already turned down some developers and multimillionaires who wanted to renovate the house and flip it for profit. He is still holding out for the right buyer.
Should sellers add personal opinion about the buyer to their list of considerations? In this still sluggish real estate market, shouldn’t sellers take whatever buyers they can get, especially if the price is high? Are they really in a position to be picky? Should money be the only arbitrator? Have you had any experience selling or buying a property in which personal opinion, or, say, a special rapport or kinship with the other party, had an effect on your decision?


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