And now, a reading from The Book of Urban Exodus—The Broker Commandments, as brought down from Washington Heights by real estate agent Moses “Mo” Swisher, inscribed on a pair of BlackBerry PlayBooks.
I. Thou shalt have no other gods before Fee, and thou shalt not take the name of the Fee in vain (e.g., “Sonuva Fee!”). Two Commandments for One? I’ve been doing this a long time, and thou won’t find a better deal in thy price range.
II. Thou shalt list the Home in the blasphemous “No Fee” section of sites, though the Fee is Leviathan—for all Hunters know the Fee, though not all embrace it. There must exist a Fee, for didst thou not drop 150 clams on Groupon to acquire thy real estate license? Didst thou not commit four Saturdays to rigorous training? Didst thou not take untold minutes posting that really nice photo thou uses for all thy postings, and untold minutes more showing the actual Home? My Fee, does a Broker not deserve—at minimum—$2,000 a Home for such slavery?
III. Thou shalt christen the laundry “onsite” if Laundromat lies in sight, for is this not semantics, akin to duct-taped cabinets begetting “Great Insulation” (from roaches) and “Utilities Included” denoting (in a broader sense) utility included?
IV. Likewise, thou shalt proclaim a “short walk” to untold subway lines, all of the lines, for is everything in the city not technically walkable, and is “short” not a relative term? For the road to the Fee is not paved with semantics nor specifics or truth: the Fee is Truth, and the Truth will set thou free, and freedom is good, therefore the Fee is good, Truly.
V. Thou shalt proclaim that cement floors both “pack the heat in” in winter and “keep the place cool” in summer, and the same for hardwood and for untold other surfaces, for the Laws of Thermodynamics crumble in the face of the Fee like so many dino bones in light of God. Science is but a theory of Truth, of which, remember what I said before?
VI. Thou shalt not look woman in the eye, nor seek her input, nor engage her in any way, lest she asks thou a direct question, in which case, fine, okay, answer, but do so begrudgingly, and follow thy answer with a tremendous eye-roll in the direction of the Husband, that He may know her ignorance and that you may revel in it Together.
VII. Thou shalt check thy BlackBerry tenfold during the Viewing, and proclaim as if through a horn of sounding that thou hast received untold missives regarding the Home, for this shalt really crank the pressure up on the Hunters, and flood them with fear, for no Hunter wants to miss out on “the One” because He or she hesitated, how spineless. Thou might even have a friend visit the Home during the Viewing, as if competition, as if ready to sign, for this is a nice touch that shalt surely crank the pressure up to heights unseen.
VIII. Thou shalt request First, Last, Security, and the Fee, for what is Last but Security? Thereby thou shalt pocket one or the other and double thy Fee, for double the Fee is doubly good, and surely the envy of thy Neighbor, who is right to covet thy Double Fee, for he is but a single-Fee sucker, a real amateur, and until He ushers the Double Fee into his life through faith, will, wile, and guile, He shalt remain eternally green.
IX. Thou shalt not budge on the Fee—which is Leviathan, which is 15%, which is standard—though the Hunters may ask it, given the whole First-Last-Security-and-Deposit thing, which is admittedly unorthodox and false. Thou shalt not admit the unorthodoxy and falsehood of the arrangement, but instead christen it “standard,” and loft nebulous Judgments like, “New York has always been a Fee town,” for this shalt make the Hunters feel naïve and sheepish, and more prone to sign.
X. Thou shalt stick to thy guns, so to speak, for the Hunters will likely blink first, they will fold, for surely the Hunt has broken them. By the end, every Hunter wants but to write a check and end the Hunt. Thereby the Hunt is over, not owing to the quality of the Home but to the buckling of the Hunter’s will beneath the canny force of the Broker’s.
Let us proclaim the mystery of Fee…
Evan Allgood's work has appeared in McSweeney's, The Millions, LA Review of Books, The Toast, and The Billfold. He lives in Brooklyn and contributes regularly to Paste. Follow and maybe later unfollow him on Twitter @evoooooooooooo.