5 Essential Questions to Ask Any Broker Before Listing
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if you have any questions or would like to discuss.
if you have any questions or would like to discuss.
For anyone selling, it’s important to find a broker who can get you top dollar, not just get your listing. Yet there are many ploys some brokers use that not even the most sophisticated sellers are aware of. Here are 5 questions to be sure to ask any broker before listing:
1) Who will actually be showing my property?
For many of the sharp, experienced brokers who a seller will invite to make their listing presentation to them, that is their foremost and, really, only job – getting the listing. It’s what they focus on, what they do all day. Actually showing the apartment is left to their “team” of younger, junior agents. (Often, different ones for each showing).
But really selling a home involves telling it’s story, and to learn that story you have to actually be in the home and show it, not only learn the facts about it – square feet, ceiling height -- but also see how buyers react to different aspects of it, and highlight the right ones. A broker learns that by showing the apartment, him or herself.
2) Why is your proposed sale price so high?
The easiest way for some brokers to get a listing is to propose an extremely high listing price. Sellers naturally are very attracted to that. Once the broker gets the listing, they rely on the market to actually “educate” the seller what the real price is. The seller eventually agrees to sell for the real market price (or, often, less, because the property has been on the market too long, waiting, and buyers then have doubts).
The seller loses, in wasted time and energy, and often in an eventually lower price, but the broker still gets the commission. Sometimes it’s the seller who is driving the high initial price. It doesn’t matter, the result is the same.
Always ask a broker who tells you your price is too low, or too readily agrees to your very high price, to clearly demonstrate the validity of the price proposed with all the current sales and comparables in your market. Guiding you to a proper initial price is one of the most important things a broker can do for you.
3) Why is your commission so low?
New York City has the “co-brokerage” system, in which almost all brokers put their listings on the REBNY (Real Estate Board of NY) central database and tell every other broker in the city “bring me your appropriate buyer and do a deal and I'll split the commission with you.” It’s the way to reach out into the marketplace and latch on to those select buyers -- out of all the buyers in the city -- who are looking for a property like yours. Anyone anywhere in the world who contacts any broker in the city gets brought to your property, if it’s what they are looking for.
But those buyers’ brokers are often driven to bring their buyers to your property by the commission offered. A broker who seeks your listing and offers you a “discount” commission, of 5%, or even 4%, is doing so only because that’s the only way they can get listings. But is it really a discount if it means you will have fewer buyers brought to you, and therefore fewer offers?
In this market, if you have one offer you negotiate, if you have two or more, you have a bidding war. The difference is much more significant than the 1% or even 2% “discount” some brokers use to get listings.
4) Do you focus your marketing efforts on your own agency’s buyers, or everyone’s?
Everyone is human, and everyone is subject to the appeal of vanity, to some degree.
There are some agencies with very old, prestigious names, that have been around for 80 or a hundred years, or agencies that have an art auction house affiliate, or agencies that have European divisions, or cater to the very wealthy. Unfortunately, there are many instances where brokers from these agencies have approached sellers asking for their listings with an appeal to their vanity: “Your property would be perfect for our very special, very prestigious, very elite clients.” Everyone loves their home, and everyone loves to hear that sort of approach.
In fact, though, the brand-name of the agency that is selling your property is not that important, because any brokerage that is primarily approaching their own buyers is short-changing the seller. Because the true power of the NYC real estate marketplace is reaching out to every appropriate buyer, from every agency, through the co-brokerage system described in question 3 above. Most of those brokerages that tell sellers their buyers are perfect for that property will also co-broke, but to whatever extent they are concentrating on and focusing on their own buyers, in an attempt to keep the entire commission without splitting it, they are undermining and short-changing the marketing efforts they should be putting in on the seller’s behalf.
5) How can you guarantee you will do all the wonderful things you are telling me you and your agency will do to sell my property?
Every broker a seller invites to give a listing presentation will tell the seller all the wonderful things they and their agency will do to sell the property, and all about the sophisticated, extensive marketing resources their agency provides them to accomplish that.
I certainly would also.
But how does the seller know that, once the listing agreement is signed that I, or any other broker, would actually carry through and fulfill all those pledges?
CitiHabitats, my agency, is the only brokerage that can guarantee that, very simply and very effectively. Because we are the only agency in the city I am aware of that includes in the listing agreement a direct statement that you, the seller, have the right to terminate the agreement at any time, for any reason, or no reason.
We do ask for a commitment to a six month period to market your property, because we do invest considerable resources into marketing it. But within that period, you the seller will have the right to terminate the agreement at any time (on 10 days notice). That means that you are guaranteed I will make every effort, and specifically you are guaranteed that I and Citi Habitats will do everything I tell you we will do in the listing presentation, or you can simply end the agreement.
I would be very happy to discuss any of these issues – or any issues relating to securing your future through real estate -- with you.
917 538 4516