It’s no mystery that real estate brokers like cars: Roger Erickson drives a Ferrari F430, and Sharon Baum is known for her Rolls-Royce plate “SOLD 1.” The phenomenon of listing agents offering up freebies to lure other brokers and their buyers isn’t new either.
So as the real estate market gets less and less bubbly, it was only a matter of time before brokers started adding sentences like this to their $2.2 million condo listings: “Purchasing real estate broker will receive a Mercedes 500SL AMG with an accepted full price offer after your client closes on the property. Call for details.”
The Observer called for details. For starters, the Mercedes in question turns out to be pewter, the noblest of all luxury automobile colors. But why are Prudential Douglas Elliman brokers Dylan Hildreth-Hoffman and Brian Meier offering it up? “Because it’s a hot car and people want it,” Mr. Hildreth-Hoffman said. “It’s a great small car for around the city.”
But! It’s not new. “It’s a 2004, I believe. 2003!” he then said, “with 20,000 miles on it.” (The same car with a tad more miles is being offered online for $50,000).
But it’s still a slightly brilliant marketing tool. The car goes to any broker who brings in a buyer–and the buyer’s $2.2 million check–for a seven-room apartment at the American Thread Building on West Broadway in Tribeca. A few years ago, Mr. Hildreth-Hoffman offered up an even fatter gift: a three-day cruise. “But we didn’t end up giving it away, because we got offers, but not for the full price.”
The Mercedes comes from the apartment owner–who, it should be noted, paid just $1.6 million for the apartment last year, city records show. “He has a family now,” the broker said, “so he doesn’t have a use for it. It just sits there. I said, ‘Well we could offer it with the apartment.’ He said, ‘Would it help?’ I said, ‘Yeah absolutely!’