Property Grunt

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Using a broker

If you make the decision to use a broker in your quest for a new apartment you need to be able to qualify them in order ensure that you will be getting the highest quality of service and that they do not waste your time.

How to qualify your broker?

1. Do they have any areas they specialize in? A broker who specializes in one area will have an advantage over a broker who runs around the whole city because they will know the areas backwards and forwards and most likely have very good relationships with landlords and property management companies. A good indication of a broker's expertise is their web ads. If there is a consistency of their descriptions in their ads for instance if all of them are lofts or from the upper east side it is most likely they have some type of expertise in the field. If they have ads that are all over the place that should be a red flag. A specialized broker has the skills to switch gears even if their clients decide to change areas.

2. What are the apartments they show you? Depending on your requirements and the market a good broker should be able to show at least ten a day. However during the rental season that number will definitely dwindle. When you are looking at these apartments see if your broker is listening to you and finding the apartments that are closets that meet your needs. If your broker is showing the same stuff it is because these are the only ones that fit in your budget.

3. Should I use multiple brokers? Some people use multiple brokers which can backfire. When I first started as a rental broker I had many a client who were working with other brokers and I often found this out when I was talking to a colleague who was also working with that person. Brokers are a loquacious bunch and if word gets around that you are using than one broker from the same company they will drop you. Often brokers will share the same listings its counterproductive using multiple brokers. My advice is find a good one and stick with it.

Remember to communicate your needs and desires with your brokers. A good broker will be able to formualte a good game plan and figure out your best options even ones you did not think of.

In my next entry I will discuss what you will need when you have found the perfect place.