Finding A Realtor To Sell Your NYC Home – The Complete Guide
At the last estimate, there were over 27,000 real estate agents and brokers in New York City. Given that the population of NYC is more than 8.5 million within the city limits alone, this is probably no surprise.
But it does make things a bit more complicated when it comes to selling your NYC home. Selling a home in most cities is quite simple – and it’s not too hard to find the right real estate agent. This is not the case in New York. With so many real estate agents, it’s tough to know who can sell your brownstone for 10% more than asking price – or who can help you get rid of the condominium that you haven’t used for months.
Living in NYC and trying to sell a home as its own unique challenges. So in this article, we’ll discuss the basics about how you can find the right realtor to sell your NYC home – without hassle, headaches, or other common issues.
1. Start with Chemistry – Personality Is Everything
It may seem strange to simply start with the personality of a prospective real estate agent, but this is actually very important. You will be working hand-in-glove with this person until your property is sold, so it’s critical that you actually like them – and that you get along.
As a rule, you should be looking for real estate agents who have a personality that’s similar to yours. If you have a bold and loud personality, for example, an agent who is aggressive and straight-to-the-point may be right for you.
On the other hand, if you’re a more quiet and reserved person, that same real estate agent could feel overbearing or rude – and that won’t be an ideal working relationship.
How can you tell if you’re a good fit with a real estate agent? Well, some of it is the “luck of the draw” – but another great way to determine whether your personality meshes with a prospective agent is a coffee meeting!
When you’re in the preliminary stages of selecting a real estate agent, you can contact a broker or agent, and tell them that you’re interested in meeting with them for an informal interview. Pick one of your favorite local coffee shops, and ask them to meet there!
At the interview, you can discuss the basics about your listing and your property, but you’re not limited to those topics. You can talk about whatever you want – and get a feel for your prospective agent. You can even ask them questions about how they do business directly, to see if you agree with their methods.
Again, it’s not like you’re marrying this person – but personality is really important when working with a real estate agent, because you’ll be working together closely for a few weeks or months.
2. Look For A Track Record Of Results – But Beware Of Hiring The Best Agents Around!
There’s an interesting “Goldilocks Problem” when it comes to hiring real estate agents in New York City. A brand-new, totally “green” real estate agent probably won’t have the skills to sell your home quickly, or for a great price, so they should be avoided, in most cases.
However, the opposite is also true. If you decide to go with an experienced real estate brokerage, and you hire a veteran real estate agent with decades of experience selling homes in New York City, chances are that they are going to be extremely busy, and have their work cut out with them selling multi-million dollar properties. That means that, unless you’re selling an incredibly valuable piece of property, your needs may fall by the wayside – and you might not get the best service.
But somewhere in the middle, you’ll probably get the best service for your needs! If you can find a real estate agent who has a good amount experience in the field, but is still rising in their company, this is the ideal person to sell your property, in most cases.
This is because they’re passionate and hungry, and looking to prove themselves to the rest of the firm – but they are not so overloaded with valuable properties that they will ignore you. Take a look at midsize brokers and real estate firms, and see if you can find any employees or realtors who fit this bill.
If you’re really not sure where to start, the internet is a great place. With just a few quick Google searches, you can quickly gather a few different prospects, and start the process of interviewing and vetting them.
3. Work With Someone Who Can (And Will) Answer Your Questions
You’re not a professional realtor. That means that you don’t know all of the intricacies of selling and buying property in New York City. From taxes to building codes, the escrow process and other regulations that often have federal, state, and city-specific elements, you can’t be expected to be an expert on everything related to selling your home.
That’s why you should be working with someone who is a professional – and who is willing to share their knowledge with you. There is no shame in asking basic questions about your property, the sales process, and other such things.
If you notice that a real estate agent is cagey or unwilling to take the time to answer your simple questions, you will probably be better off with another agent. You can even test this by asking some basic questions about things you already know about – you could research the escrow process, then ask them for an explanation about escrow in New York City during your initial interview.
4. Always Ask For Client Reviews And Recommendations
If you ever encounter a real estate agent who won’t give you reviews and recommendations from past clients, or set up an interview with a past client, what should you do?
Any real estate agent who is worth the money you pay will be more than willing to offer the testimonials and reviews of past clients, or even try to set up quick interviews with a past client. If they provide great service, they’ll know it – and their clients will say the same thing!
It may seem a bit awkward to ask a real estate agent or broker about their services and how they’ve performed for a past client, but it’s expected – and never seen as an insult.
Just as you would vet a home contractor, a doctor, or an attorney, you should vet your potential real estate agents – particularly when working in an area such as New York City, where property values are high, and the risk of choosing a wrong agent is correspondingly elevated.
So don’t shy away from asking for reviews and recommendations. Chances are, your prospective agent is already in touch with a few past clients who will give you their honest opinion about the agent’s services and value.
5. Ask About Communication Style, Preferences, And Expectations
Pop quiz – what’s the single biggest complaint among unsatisfied home sellers and buyers when it comes to real estate agents? If you guessed “communication”, you get an A+!
Real estate customers, when asked about their #1 issue with the entire process, almost always said “communication”. And that makes sense – you never want to feel like you’re in the world of real estate alone, particularly if your property is taking a long time to sell.
So, when interviewing a real estate agent, you should ask about their preferences for communication – and how often you can expect to hear from them. Do they send periodic emails? Will they be sending you text message updates? Voicemails? Phone calls? Will there be a weekly check-in to discuss the status of your property?
During this time, you should make your expectations for communication quite clear.
6. Look For A Specialist Working In Your Neighborhood – Or With Your Type Of Property
Would you hire a plumber to rewire your house, or a general contractor to build custom cabinets? Probably not – that’s just not their specialization.
The more local and specialized your real estate agent is, the more likely they’ll know how to sell your property quickly – and at a great price. You don’t want to be too picky, but as a rule, your selected agent should have experience either selling in your neighborhood, or working with similar properties in a comparable price range – ideally, both.
7. Make Sure You Get Inside Their Offices At Least Once – Before Signing A Contract
This may seem like an unnecessary step – but it’s actually a great way to vet the real estate agent’s office and their company as a whole, and get a better understanding of what you should expect during the process of selling your NYC home.
For example, a large and spacious office located in an expensive area of town indicates that the agency is likely doing quite well, and you can expect to get reasonably good service. A smaller office with a more start-up feel in an up-and-coming neighborhood may indicate that the company is newer – which means they’re more likely to offer more personalized service to their clients.
It may seem a bit strange to analyze an office like this, but the office in which a person works is a reflection of their personality – and the quality of their service. Again, you’re going to be paying this person a steep commission, so there is nothing wrong with taking a few extra steps to ensure that they can deliver on their promises.
Follow These 7 Steps To Success!
Still with us? Good! It may seem like a lot of work to pick the right NYC real estate agent, but it’s worth spending the time to find the right person for your needs. If you pick the right real estate agent, it will feel like your property is selling itself – and you can be as involved (or uninvolved) in the process as you want.
But if you pick the wrong real estate agent, chances are that you’ll go through communication problems, have trouble showing and selling the property, and could even end up having to fire the agent – which means you’ll start again from square one.
So follow our tips to find the right realtor in NYC to sell your home, and you’re sure to succeed. Don’t make the mistake of settling for the first agent recommended by a friend, family member, or colleague.