Buyer's (and Seller's) Best Friend Working With Real Estate Brokers

Ever try to sell — or buy — an apartment in Manhattan without using a real estate broker? It’s sort of like that joke about lawyers who try to defend themselves: They have a fool for a client.

When dealing in the real estate jungle that is New York City, it’s pretty much essential that you have an experienced broker on your side — whether you are the seller or a prospective buyer. Many times, people in the housing market will even utilize more than one broker at a time, to maximize their chances of getting the best deal.

If you are new to all of this, then the wheeling and dealing of the city’s real estate brokers may be a little overwhelming at first, but here are some of the ins and outs that everyone who is buying or selling in New York should know.

A Broker by Any Other Name

In order to become a broker in New York State, you first have to work as what’s called a salesperson for two years and accumulate a certain number of points. After the two-year apprenticeship is over, you can take a course and an exam to get your broker’s license.

According to Richard Levine, president of the New York Real Estate Institute, “Most people in New York City incorrectly think that people are real estate agents or brokers when most are actually salespeople. If you’re a broker, you could basically have your own company – you could work for yourself or have other people work for you. Only a broker is allowed to collect the commission [from an apartment sale.] People become salespeople first, and then they have to work for a brokerage firm.”


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