How to Choose a Top Real Estate Professional in New York
A Google search of the term, “real estate agent NYC” can be a little overwhelming. All the top brokerages in New York appear on the search engine’s first page with their list of smiling, impeccably dressed, and highly credentialed agents. How do you go about choosing? After all, it may well be the biggest financial transaction of your life. There’s a methodology. It starts with analyzing exactly what you want and cross-referencing it with an agent’s strengths. Below, we’ll help you ascertain what these strengths are, so you’re better informed to make your decision.
A real estate agent in NYC
has a fiduciary responsibility to represent you, the buyer or seller, to the best of their ability. Some people tend to get a little overawed if they are represented by a well-known agent with a viral social media feed and a string of big deals under their belts, thinking that they must be in good hand. While experience is important, unless the agent is willing to roll up their sleeves and do whatever it takes to secure the best possible outcome in your transaction, they are not the best agent for you. Their responsibilities include:
- total loyalty
- full disclosure
- and reasonable care
- 1. The Importance of working with a real estate agent in NYC in your next transaction
- Aside from helping their client decide on a listing price or what offer to make and facilitate showings, a good agent should be adept in various roles. These include:
- Having a database of service providers
- An agent should be able to provide their client with the names of reputable service providers (contractors, stagers, etc),
- Bargaining skill
- A good real estate agent in NYC should be able to bargain to achieve the best possible outcome for their client. They need to be cool under pressure when negotiating. They should understand the many financial components to work to make the best deal for their client. For instance, the actual sales or purchase price is sometimes not the only thing to be taken into consideration when repairs, commissions, time to close, mortgage contingency, closing costs, and tenants are also involved in the equation. If the home needs repairs, or there is work completed without a permit or an appraisal comes in low, a skilled buyer’s agent should know how to negotiate a lower offer based on these factors and current market conditions. A seller’s agent should know how much is reasonable to bend on these occasions.
- Conversely, there might be occasions when it would behoove an agent to accept a lower offer for a faster sale, knowing that the holding costs of a home would equate to more expenses for the seller in the long run. Equally, an agent representing a commercial buyer in a 1031 Exchange on an investment property might recommend a higher-priced offer to offset capital gains taxes.
- Knowledge of the local market
- This is essential and why it’s never a good idea to use a family member or friend as an agent that doesn’t fully know the local market. In a city like New York, where, values and demand can change from block to block, you need to hire an agent that is intimately familiar with the local market. Other factors such as the proximity to the subway and commute time are also big factors. For parents with children, parking could also be a concern along with accessibility to child-friendly activities, parks, museums, and supermarkets.
- Access to listings (esp. off-market ones)
- All agents have access to officially listed properties through the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY), which means as a buyer your agent competes with every other real estate agent in NYC. However, if your agent can curate “off-market” listings, their clients might be at a competitive advantage. How does an agent do this? Using the following techniques:
- Using technology
- Technology can mine publicly available records to make predictive guesses as to who might be interested in selling their homes (retirees, out-of-state owners, probate, pre-foreclosed homes etc). An agent can then approach a homeowner to get the listing before their competition
- Postcard campaigns
- Using data from technology or list service companies in conjunction with mailing postcards
- Previous investor/developer clients who have an established relationship with the agent or other fellow agents to who they present their deals first.
- Assistance in decision making
- There is a multitude of decisions to be made when buying or selling a home aside from knowing what to offer or list a home for. A good agent should be able to offer clear, concise well-informed assistance in your decision-making process that always has your best interests at heart.
- Experience matters
- While newer agents are hungry to be successful it’s good that they have the backing of an experienced team behind them, particularly where negotiations are concerned.
- Constant availability
- If you are choosing a well-known real estate agent in NYC, chances are that agent will have a team that works with them and a junior agent that will conduct many of the showings. It’s vital that when a buyer wants to see your house, your agent can show it.
- Buying guidance
- If you are a buyer, your agent should be willing to walk you through the buying process seamlessly, and tirelessly commit themselves to find you your dream home. While many buyers might assume they can just show up at the open house and use a seller’s agent, it’s best to have your own agent advocate and negotiate on your behalf.
- Familiarity with co-ops and condos
- New York City is largely comprised of condos and co-ops. These have unique laws, rules, and regulations and your agents should be intimately familiar with the machinations of each.
- 2. Choosing the right real estate agent
- Check referrals
- In your rush to choose an agent, looking at their social media feeds, blogs, podcasts, and list of homes they have sold, it’s often easy to overlook checking their referrals. An agent should be willing to offer you a list of past clients you can call to discuss their experience with working with them.
- Check the internet for information
- The internet should also be a tremendous trove of information. Not only will an agent have testimonials on their websites but independent sites such as zillow.com and yelp.com offer agent reviews. If an agent is pro-active they should also have insightful and well-trafficked social media feeds, blogs, and listings information as well as being featured in well-known real estate publications. Of course, they don’t have to be all over the internet but in the modern age, it’s a fact that this is how many homes in high prestige cities like New York, that attract buyers from all over the world, are bought and sold.
- Proven track record
- This almost goes without saying but any agent you choose should have a proven track record. It’s especially handy to remember this if you’re thinking of hiring a friend or family member. While dedication to the cause is important having the experience of working in a high-stakes market like New York City is essential.
- A list of interview questions to ask before hiring a selling agent
- How long have you been selling real estate?
- How many homes have you sold in the area over the last 12 months?
- Can you give me the contact information of some of your past clients?
- What’s the best price you think I can get for my house and why?
- Do you work full-time or part-time?
- How long do you think it will take to sell my home?
- How often will you be available to show my home?
- Do you have any current listings in this area? If so, how many?
- What do you think are the positive and negative aspects of my home?
- What is your marketing strategy for selling my house?
- What makes you different compared to other agents interested in selling my house?
- Do you think my home needs any updates before it is sold? If so, what? Do you know a reputable contractor that can do them?
- Will you help stage my home or work with a stager who can stage it? Who pays for this service?
- What is your fee?
- How long is our listing agreement for?
- How often can I contact you?
- What is the best way to contact you?
- Can you give me a breakdown of my closing costs at the price you have recommended I list it at and can you tell me what my net proceeds will be on the day of closing?
- Can you walk me through the sales process?
- What is your website?
- Will you be showing my house or another agent? If another agent is conducting showings, who should I contact?
is renowned throughout the real estate industry as one of the most dynamic and successful real estate brokers and real estate agents in NYC. He has sold billions of dollars worth of real estate. He brings that experience to his energetic team within the Corcoran family. If you are interested in buying, selling or renting a home in New York City, consider booking a private real estate consultation
with Ilan Bracha today. You may reach out by phone at 212.355.3148
or send an email to ib(at)corcoran(dotted)com
. We look forward to hearing from you and addressing your real estate needs in NYC.