It was a studio duplex in NoHo and the owner was a friend. The apartment was on the market for three months because it was so distinctive. It was over the top: marble floors, a bathroom with a frosted-glass wall, custom-designed carved-wood cabinets. My friend, his taste level is very kind of Liberace-ish. Just picture someone walking down the street in floral jeans and a floral shirt and a lot of jewelry—not in Miami, New York City. He had gotten married and the husband hated the space. Every day that studio didn’t sell, I was being hated more and more.

My friend had this gorgeous glassware on open shelves, all antique signed Tiffany pieces: wine glasses, water glasses, champagne glasses, goblets with twisting Florentine stems. They were all his grandmother’s. He had them appraised and they were worth $20,000. Before the open house, I said, “Maybe we should take this glass off the shelves where someone could reach their hand out and pick one up, and put it in this kitchen cabinet where it will be safe.”  

During the open house, this young Wall Street guy comes in with his broker, carrying a Starbucks and he has a real attitude. I have another couple there in their 50s who pull me aside, saying, “We need to talk to you, we want to give you an offer.” Then we all hear this crash. I turn around and see the guy with the coffee cup has ripped the entire cabinet off the wall. My friend’s Tiffany glassware is all crashed on the floor in millions of pieces. The guy is still holding the cup in his hand. He says, “I couldn’t find the door to this cabinet.” He was pulling on the front, trying so hard to open it, he pulled the entire cabinet off the wall.

I wanted to cry. I was the one responsible for putting the glass in this cabinet. As a listing broker, you are responsible for anything that happens at an open house. 

The kid says, “Oh well,” and heads right out the door—bye-bye, see you; typical Wall Streeter earning too much money.

Meanwhile, the older couple gets on the floor and helps me pick up the glass. While they’re on their hands and knees, they make an all-cash offer on the house—full ask.

I called my friend and said, “Do you want the good news or the bad news? I got you an offer, all cash, full ask, ready to close.”

He said, “OK, give me the bad news.”

I said, “You know your grandmother’s Tiffany glassware? It’s gone, shattered.”

He said, “Oh, thank God. I hated that goddamn glass and I didn’t want to have to move it again.” 

AnneMarie Tamis-Nasello

Associate real-estate broker, Triplemint, New York City 

It was a three-bedroom condo with a patio in Long Island City, priced at about $1.8 million. Everything was very high quality and expensive. The sellers were really picky about their home, so obsessive about cleanliness and perfection. You didn’t dare walk in there with shoes on; you had to have construction booties on. And they had these video cameras everywhere, like a nanny cam but all over the apartment. When I handled the open houses, I’m sure they watched.

The apartment wasn’t selling. I decided it would be a good idea to have this wonderful wine-tasting event and use the beautiful patio. I bought all this wine and champagne and snacks and stuff. I had everything elegantly set up. The owner put out her best crystal for the wine tasting—beautiful champagne flutes. She is all about perfection and style and beauty, and God forbid we bring plastic cups into her house.

I was very nervous because I had done a lot of marketing for this event and I wasn’t getting a lot of response. I had a sixth sense it wasn’t going to get a big turnout, and that was making me even more nervous. I went to put some bottles to chill in the refrigerator, moving something over, and the whole shelf fell out. A water-filter pitcher that was in there shattered into hundreds of pieces, spilling water everywhere. 

I was able to put the fridge shelf back in place, but then I’ve got this broken water filter I’ve got to replace before the sellers come home. I’m looking it up online and calling my husband frantically. Meanwhile, people are starting to ring the bell for the open house.

I was absolutely thrilled my husband was able to find that water filter before the sellers came back.  

I told the sellers what happened and apologized profusely. They were lovely and gracious. I was too embarrassed to ask if they had seen me on camera. It wasn’t a great turnout by the way, but all’s well that ends well. The condo ended up selling at a record price for that building.

–Edited from interviews

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