Yuval Vidal had done his job.
A buyer for the apartment on Central Park West that he was selling had contacted him through Barak Realty’s Web site. Vidal, a sales associate at Barak and a broker for more than two years, showed the apartment on a Monday in July to the prospective buyer, a young woman who told him she would be buying a place with her parents’ help. Her parents, she said, lived in China, but she would consult with them nonetheless.
Vidal sent her more information on the apartment, a junior one-bedroom on the seventh floor. She requested a second showing. He did that later the same week. This showing, she spent more time in the apartment, checking the layout.
“She was very interested,” Vidal told The Real Deal. “We started negotiating the deal, the purchase price, and all the terms.”
By Friday of that week, barely a few days after the first showing, the deal was all set to close, Vidal said. The seller’s lawyer planned to send the contract to the young woman’s lawyer first thing next Monday morning.
Vidal commenced his weekend a happy broker.
Until he checked his email Sunday.
“Dear Yuval,” the message read, “I just received an urgent notification from my parents to withdraw the offer and to discontinue the purchase. They have studied the floor plan in detail and found the feng shui (Chinese mythical theories about room layout and arrangement) to be against our birth charts. Therefore, though the apartment is perfectly fine and charming (I had really liked it), it is not suitable for my family.”
Vidal, admittedly not a feng shui expert, dusted himself off and, shortly after the email, ended up selling the apartment to another buyer for $5,000 more than the young woman was going to pay. Two weeks later, though, he saw an ad in the Village Voice touting a feng shui master who offers help to people searching for apartments with that certain… something.
“I think,” Vidal said, laughing. “I should give that customer this feng shui master’s telephone number.”