7 Things to Look For in a Real Estate Broker

Whether you’re renting or buying in the city, chances are you’re going to be working with a real estate broker. Here are seven things you should look out for to make sure you’re finding the best one for you.

Chances are you’ll work with a real estate broker whether you’re planning to rent or buy in New York City. And obviously you want one who is smart, responsive, and likely to find you the best apartment at the best price. Here’s what to look for:

1. Familiarity with the neighborhood you’re interested in. Check out (or ask them) where else they’ve rented/helped buy apartments to make sure they’re at least somewhat familiar with the area. Quiz them a bit, too. You should be able to tell pretty quickly whether or not they are well-versed in the intricacies of your particular area. (But note: there are some things a real estate broker legally can’t discuss, like the local public schools, or specific demographic information.)

2. Some experience in the field. Rental brokers tend to have less experience than buyers’ brokers, but even if you’re renting, you’ll probably feel more at ease if you’re not your broker’s first client. Check their website and look for past deals.

3. They seem to get you. Though the rental process is usually rather quick, buying an apartment can take a long time. That means you’ll likely be spending quite a bit of time with your broker, and you’ll want to, at the very least, have a good rapport with them. And whether you’re buying or renting, make sure you and your broker click and that he or she understands what’s most important to you — and is on the lookout for the best properties for you.

4. They’re licensed by REBNY. Try to look out for a New York Residential Specialist designation from the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY). That means the broker’s completed an advanced course of study and has a solid professional track record.

5. They don’t use high-pressure tactics. Brokers often get a bad rap for being less-than-honest about interest on an apartment (rushing their clients along in the process). If you feel like your broker is being too pushy, it might be worth it to back out and find someone else. Go with your gut.

6. Professionalism. If your potential broker seems overwhelmed, scattered, or just doesn’t seem to know the answers you’re looking for, look elsewhere. New York City real estate is a complicated game, and you want to make sure the person you have working for you is on the ball.

7. They return your calls or emails in a timely matter. Both rental and sales deals require quick responses, and if your broker seems to be too busy with other clients to give you the attention you need, that’s a bad sign.

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