Financier offers $100K to broker who brings him a buyer

Randall Yanker has been trying to sell his penthouse in Battery Park City for years

TRD NEW YORK /
Mar.March 13, 2020 08:30 AM
Randall Yanker, Jessica Weitzman, and Javier Lattanzio, with the apartment (Credit: Corcoran/Compass)

Randall Yanker, Jessica Weitzman, and Javier Lattanzio, with the apartment (Credit: Corcoran/Compass)

Randall Yanker is willing to pay you to get his apartment sold.

The financier is offering $100,000 to the broker who brings him a buyer with a fully-executed contract to purchase his penthouse at the Ritz-Carlton Residences in Battery Park City by the end of March. The 4,293-square-foot condo is asking $8.975 million.

Yanker, who was formerly CEO of Lehman Brothers Alternative Investment Management and a vice president at Salomon Brothers, co-founded a private investment firm that seeds and collaborates with new hedge funds. Yanker and his wife, food stylist Murray Yanker, bought the five-bedroom duplex in 2005 for $4.78 million, property records show.

In a statement provided to The Real Deal, Yanker said the $100,000 incentive is meant to generate foot traffic and the couple feels their apartment comes across best in-person.

His eye-popping offer to brokers has been making the rounds within the industry since at least February via an email circulated by listings agents Javier Lattanzio of Time Equities Brokerage and the Corcoran Group’s Jessica Weitzman. Weitzman declined to comment.

The email also noted that for brokers to qualify for the lofty incentive, they must take a photo of the property during a showing and tag each agents’ firm, Time Equities and Corocan, on social media.

Though Lattanzio joked that if an agent brought a buyer, “I think you would get the bonus anyway.”

The Yankers have been trying to sell the condo since 2014, when it first appeared on StreetEasy asking $23 million. Over the last six years, the property’s been on and off the market, absorbed price cut after price cut, and even landed on a Hong Kong auction block. It was most recently re-listed in November.

Lattanzio said the condo’s history points to a softening market where asking prices fell faster than price reductions.

“This apartment was always catching the market…that’s one of the problems when you’re trying to catch the market, instead of going with the market,” he explained.

Lattanzio said that $100,000 was chosen in order to have an impact — and it was having an effect until fears of coronavirus and plunging financial market slowed down interest. He said that there’s a chance the offer could be extended past March, depending on how ongoing negotiations conclude.

“This owner is all the way,” he said. “At this point, they want to sell. They want to make a deal. If someone comes in with the right amount, they will make a deal.”

In January, celebrity broker Ryan Serhant of Nest Seekers International ruffled feathers when he announced that Magnum Real Estate Group would give $50,000 in cash to the first broker to bring him a deal at 196 Orchard.

Some brokers, including Sotheby’s International Realty’s Nikki Field, called such incentives “unethical,” while others including Compass’ Michael Graves jumped to his defense arguing that, in New York’s soft market, agents are “working much harder for less… They need to be and should be rewarded for their work.”

There is no law that requires brokers to disclose these incentives to their clients, though agents like Field say brokers should inform their clients and pass the bonus onto them.

Despite the debate within the broker community, offering sweetners to draw buyers’ brokers are commonplace. Documents and emails provided to TRD showed that a number of developers dangled perks ranging from extra commission to gift cards to closing bonuses and even a Vespa over the past six months.

“I don’t think it’s unethical at all,” said Lattanzio. “It’s a slow market right now. I think it’s important to give [brokers] a little bit of an incentive.”

Write to Erin Hudson at [email protected]


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