Finding a new apartment in New York can be a challenge. Right now, there are a lot of options so it pays to have someone on your team who knows the landscape, and understands how to navigate the ins and outs of real estate. Working with a broker can make your search a whole lot easier. But with so many brokers out there, how do you choose? If you are on the hunt, here is how to choose a real estate broker and find your next home in NYC.
Start with referrals from friends and family.
The best kinds of reviews come from people you know and trust. If you know anyone who has had great success working with a real estate broker in New York, talk to them first! Find out who they worked with, what their experience was like, and if they have any helpful tips. Make a list of broker names, including who referred you, for the next stage of research.
Do a background and professionalism check.
Look up each prospective broker’s website to find out some important answers before you reach out. Do they specialize in working with buyers or sellers? What part of the city are they working in, and are they familiar with the area you’re looking at? If they have a social media presence, what types of properties do you see the listing? What are the price ranges?
You can also look up a prospective agent with your state’s Department of Real Estate to find out how long they’ve been in business and whether their license is current. This agency can also tell you if there have been any punitive actions taken against an agent or an agency, which would certainly be a red flag.
There are plenty of younger agents who are hungry for the sale, so don’t write them off. Ask about their track record, including recent successes and their experience with their real estate agency. Each brokerage has a company culture, and this can have a big impact on how each agent does business. So do your diligence on both the broker and their agency.
Start calling the real estate brokers that seem like a good fit.
Keep in mind, that real estate brokers in New York are like many other New Yorkers: busy. But that first chat on the phone can offer a lot of information to tell you if they are suited for your needs. Do they work in the area that you are looking at? Are they kind and helpful on the phone? Do they seem open, trustworthy, and communicative? Do they express interest in talking further to find out what you’re looking for?
Steer clear of anyone who makes promises that seem unrealistic, and go with the broker is someone you’d actually want to spend time with. It’s best to choose someone that you like from the get-go since you are hiring them to represent your interests. What’s more, you may be spending a lot of time with them — so choose someone whose personality meshes well with yours.
Discuss fees and fine print before you start working together.
As you shop for a broker that meets your needs, you might hear differences in pricing structures and fees. As of August 2020, the state of broker fees is a bit up in the air with the city attempting to ban them — and they may go away completely sometime in September. But for now, anticipate fees. Just remember, you are under no obligation to sign anything until you decide who you want to work with! Get a sense of pricing from a few brokers before you decide who to work with, and see what each broker offers in a package. A broker’s fee should be no more than 15% of a year’s rent, and in some boroughs, it’s lower.
Make sure everything is written on paper, and keep a copy of everything. Receipts for deposits, broker fees, and all agreements should have a paper trail. A good real estate broker in NYC should have the paperwork done efficiently, and all terms should be clearly outlined. This keeps you organized and safe as you find your next home in NYC.
Hire the best one.
When it comes time to choose a real estate broker, there may be two or three who all seem equally qualified. In that case, go with the personality you like best. You are hiring someone to represent you in a tight New York real estate market after all. You want them to bring their best to the job and find just the right place!
Once you find your new home in NYC, let us help make your move stress free and easy. Our professional movers will have you packed and relocated in no time!