When real estate agent Andrew Rose got a call from an overseas client last month looking to make a quick deal for a rental apartment, he never imagined he’d spend the next three days cruising around Manhattan in a chauffeured black Cadillac Escalade with the 50-something London restaurateur and his 20-year-old sugar baby, a bottle hostess that he’d recently met in a Manhattan club.
Welcome to a seamy underbelly of Manhattan real estate, where dealing with philanderers and skirt-chasers — and keeping secret their Ashley Madison lifestyles — is par for the course.
Sure, real estate agents routinely help dirty cheaters and moneyed sugar daddies obscure their identities and quietly find apartments for their mistresses — but unlike popular hookup websites, these brokers are unhackable.
“As a real estate professional, I am not interested or positioned to make judgments about anyone’s personal life or their relationships,” said Michael Graves, a luxury real estate broker who recently helped a client find a Manhattan apartment for his mistress. “My client’s private interpersonal relations are not my business. We must see our clients the same way a doctor sees a patient and do our work with discretion.”
In Manhattan, a metropolis filled with wealthy, egotistical men and the women who date them, real estate agents have to deal with more than their fair share of cheaters.
Approximately 25% of married men in the U.S. have at least one extramarital affair during their marriage, according to a 2004 survey by the University of Chicago. But in New York, where men typically have more money and 24/7 options, the chances are even higher.
Sure, women cheat, too. But brokers said they haven’t seen as many females catering for the real estate needs of their bits on the side.
For Rose, the deal with the philanderer was unlike any he’d done before.
For one, the English entrepreneur kept changing the budget to find bigger and better apartments for his Louboutin-clad fling, whose expensive taste in shoes was matched only by her taste in real estate.
He started with a budget for $3,000 for a studio but, for that kind of money, he couldn’t find a place he’d be willing to spend the night in,” said Rose, of Mirador Real Estate.
“We ended up in a ridiculously cool apartment in Midtown West with a full-time concierge, two pools and a gym.
The budget turned into $5,500 a month.”
The sugar daddy, who likely had a wife and kids at home and routinely switched between cell phones, wanted to pay for the hostess’ apartment with his business account.
He asked Rose to submit an invoice for his commission, claiming that he’d provided real estate consulting services to the sugar daddy’s company.
“It was like he was on vacation,” said Rose.
“They were out every night, so we always had to do afternoon showings. Some morning showings got canceled when they were too hung over.”