If you’re sick of endless online listings that are never what they seem, maybe it’s time to get a real-estate agent. We hit up experts for tips on finding the right person.
View the individual
“It’s really all about the individual agent [not the company he or she works for],” says David Schlamm, founder and CEO of real-estate firm City Connections and someone who Donald Trump described as the “second-best deal maker in the city.” Schlamm encourages clients to pick an experienced agent who works within a REBNY (Real Estate Board of New York) firm and is very informative on all things real estate. Like a doctor, if an agent can’t answer a question, it’s a warning sign.
Get referrals — make sure the agent is motivated
“Word of mouth is the most important way to pick a broker,” says Michele Kleier, president of Gumley Haft Kleier. “Just because a broker has a good website or a press agent doesn’t mean that they’re a good broker. Above all, you want somebody who is honest, who is going to pay attention to you, who’s not too busy to respond to your calls and e-mails — and who is really going to take care of you.” Kleier, who has over 25 years in the business, is also a star of HGTV’s hit reality TV show, “Selling New York.” “Real estate is a 24/7 job,” she says. “You want somebody that really wants to succeed. You don’t want somebody going into this because they’re bored or they want to say at a dinner party, ‘I’m not just a stay-at-home mom.’ Not that there’s anything wrong with being a stay-at-home mom. You want somebody who is motivated.”
It’s a lot like dating
Finding a good agent is a lot like finding a potential partner. “Let’s pretend you go on Match.com. If I put [a misleading photo] on the site and you came in and saw me 40 pounds heavier with some of my hair gone, that’s like a bait-and-switch scam,” explains Schlamm. He says to watch out for agents who post photos of apartments from other listings and tell potential tenants that the listed apartment is gone but they could show another.
We all want a partner who listens — same goes for an agent. “Both buyers and sellers want agents that will communicate with them,” explains Dolly Lenz, vice chairman at Prudential Douglas Elliman. She also advises you pick an agent with a track record with properties that are similar to your liking.