Nobody said finding property in New York was gonna be easy, but one surefire way to ease the pain is to choose the right agent for you. If you’ve ever jumped into the New York real estate game you know that not every agent is out for your best interests and many seem to focus so much on their commission that they don’t take the time to understand your wants and needs.
A good real estate agent is one that understands your taste (modern or traditional, roughed-up or clean-as-a-whistle), listens to what you’re looking for (when you say you want a window in your bedroom, you mean it!) and, most importantly, sticks to your budget. If you are looking for a two-bedroom apartment for $1.2 million, many agents will email you listings for places $1.5 million and above. Crazy, isn’t it? Don’t settle on a broker until you find one that takes the time to listen to you and then shows you places you actually like that are within your budget.
Your agent also needs to know the market like the back of her hand. Insider info like how much more a place goes for when it’s on a coveted street or what demands you can make without breaking a deal is what you’re paying them for, so make sure they have it. An agent of mine took over an apartment that was on the market for more than six months and hadn’t sold; the new agent sold the apartment in less than two days with multiple bids and back-ups. How? She understood the market and knew how to fix the apartment listing in order to make it sell.
But none of this means anything unless your agent answers calls and emails within minutes. It shows you’re an important client, and in New York time is money and you don’t want to let that apartment you have your eye on slip through your fingers because your agent wasn’t responsive.
Nowadays, everybody has a real estate license but you’re not just looking for any agent, you’re looking for the best agent for you. So how do you find the perfect agent? The answer is simple: networking.
A lot of great agents are discovered by referrals from friends and family. Don’t let a social event go by without asking for real estate agent recommendations. When you find that “perfect” agent, you will build a relationship together and find yourself using them continuously. You and your agent will become so close that they will not only know your needs, but also your wants.
Not every agent is right for every buyer, seller or renter. Take the time to find an agent who best suits you as a person. And when you do find that right fit, work hard and be loyal.
Vanessa Gad is the CEO and a broker at Gad Realty NYC, which handles residential real estate sales, purchases and rentals and caters to an international clientele. She speaks five languages fluently.