Apartment Guru: The Dirty Broker

AgentDear Apartment Guru,

I had something disgusting happen the other day -- while being shown the world's best apartment (a gorgeous one bedroom with phenomenal lighting and a modicum of outdoor-space in my price range) my broker came onto me. There are about 100 reasons I don't want to ever call him again -- let's just say he wears calf length shorts with a tie and you can see his hair plugs. I can barely see myself using his unctuous pen with which to sign a lease.

So what do I do? Do I have to go through not-so-studly or can I reroute this whole process and still make this place with the amazing bathroom lighting and backyard garden mine?

--Feeling Dirty in Dallas

Dear Dirty,

I am so sorry about the hair-plugs, but mostly for your broker's sake. The short-suit on the other hand, is a little too hipster for me to generously make fun of. Meanwhile, I think you need to take a few deep breaths here before you pull a Paula Jones (see Bill Clinton, pre-Monica Lewinsky) and consider how traumatizing the experience was and whether or not it outweighs just how cute your antique sofa in your new lighting. I do not condone sexual harassment from anyone, even the hair-follicly challenged, but I will warn you that this type of allegation is tough to prove. So if the guy told you he liked your sweater, you might have a hard time proving the obscene hand-gestures that accompanied it. (I feel I should point out a recent study that declared real estate agents as one of the top adulterous professions out there...so if this dude is married and court proceedings find unscientific findings admissible, this is your lucky day.)

Unfortunately, when you are shown an apartment by one broker (douchebags and non-douchebags alike), unless you can somehow prove someone else showed you the same place first, you don't have a choice but to use that individual's unctuous pen for signing purposes.

I checked in with my friend Brian, a New York City broker. He points out, "The first agent to show you a place is entitled to get paid."

Brian is right. It's this guy's job. And just because he asked you to a Parrothead party (the shorts made me think of Bermuda shorts which led immediately to "Margaritaville") doesn't mean he didn't do his job. After all, from the sound of things, he showed you the world's greatest listing.

Another thing to consider - the law is on your broker's side. "He can sue you," Brian warns. Instead he suggests limiting your time together. "A lot of the final details can be handled with faxes and emails. You only have to stand him for the few seconds it takes to sign the lease."

At which point, might I suggest you consider bringing your own, cootie-free pen.

The Aparment Guru is Joselin Linder, co-writer of
The Good Girls Guide to Living in Sin and Have Sex Like You Just Met. Having rented apartments and houses in Boston, Seattle, San Francisco, Brooklyn, Columbus, OH and abroad in Prague, CZ, she knows what it means to live in home you don't own and still make it homey. Anything she doesn't know, she isn't afraid to ask.
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