Essential Qualities What to Look For in a Real Estate Broker

Whether you're buying or selling a condo or co-op, the goal is to engage a real estate broker who will get you the best price or the best apartment in the shortest period of time. Unless you already work in the real estate industry, you likely will not have an ongoing relationship with an individual broker. When engaging a broker—either as a buyer or a seller—there are 10 essential qualities to look for when seeking a superior broker.

Experience: Of all the qualities that a good real estate broker should have, experience is one of the most important. For a buyer, the experienced broker will know the neighborhoods and the quality of buildings where you may want to make a purchase. In addition, a broker should be familiar with each building's requirements to win board approval for a new co-op tenant. In fact, the dedicated broker will first pre-qualify the buyer, then meticulously prepare a complete board-approval package that will ensure acceptance by the board. The seller's broker will then go over the package with a fine-toothed comb to make sure that it will meet with all of the board's criteria."

Knowledge: When representing either a seller or a buyer, a broker should have exhaustive knowledge of pricing in a building and neighborhood. Many brokers are not up-to-date on sales prices.

For example, a broker recently told a prospective client that shares in his building were $600 per share, when—in fact—share prices had reached $900. The broker was off by $300 because he hadn't sold a co-op in that particular building for nearly two years and had failed to investigate current market prices, which can fluctuate from season to season.

A buyer's broker should be expert in not only finding a dream apartment in the right neighborhood based upon a client's needs, tastes and perhaps the school districts, but also in quickly finding a building that fits the client's financial profile. Without that critical factor covered, there will be no board approval, and the deal will evaporate. Once the appropriate building has been found, the broker should endeavor to find the client the most attractive financing in a timely fashion.

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