Property Grunt

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Broker Etiquette

Recently somone asked about Broker Etiquette on Curbed which I find quite amusing because usually etiquette is the last thing people think about is etiquette when it comes to brokers. If you have read my previous entry you will know where I stand but the questions that were asked were too delicious to ignore.

Can I work with as many brokers as I like regardless of overlap in properties, agencies, neighborhoods?

You can work with as many agents as you want. Here's the catch. If you sign a fee form agreement, which you will be required to do, look at an apartment, then look at the same apartment with another agent from another company then rent that apartment through that other agent then you might have a problem. If the prior agent hears that then they have legal grounds to demand a fee since they showed it to you first. I have never heard being in enforced but if you look at the fee agreement it is set up that way.

· Breaking up with my broker. After a couple of months, I'm not impressed with his efforts to date. I met another broker within his/her agency that I'd prefer to work with. Can I switch brokers without starting WWIII?

Yes you can. And yes you will start WWIII whether you like it or not. Here's a fun story about this agent who spent a couple of weeks showing a bunch of apartments. He was completely professional throughout the whole process and they eventually landed on one apartment but the couple was still unsure of the apartment and wanted to think about it. One day while that agent was out that same couple came in to put an application in the apartment. A hungry agent fresh from training immediately pounced on the couple. Clutching them in her jaws she carried to the apartment then carried them back to the office to do the deal.

The original agent went ballastic and demanded that the fee go to him. For several weeks the office was as hostile as the House vote on the pullout of troops. The manager of the office acceded to the original agent's demands. He promised the other agent he would make it up to her with a better client. She began to cry and the manager, who has soft for the ladies, couldn't go through with it decided to just put in a 50/50 split. The original broker was as livid as Martin Sheen at a GOP barbecue. He appealed the decision but it remained unchanged.

I can guaruntee that soon to be ex-broker will want to beat your new broker with a chair and will demand a piece of the action.

· I've been looking downtown with a large agency broker based in the area. We have an understanding that he's the broker I'm officially "working with." However, I'm now expanding my search to Inwood and Jackson Heights. Other brokers, both inside and outside his agency, are more knowledgable about those areas. I'd prefer to work directly with them as opposed to having him filter the listings. How to handle?

As I have stated before you can do whatever you want. But if you choose to use another agent in that same office you are going to be encountering the same trauma that I have previously described. It would be best to use an agencies out side the one you are using now. And do not inform anyone of your intentions.

· Brooklyn. My impression is that the larger agencies co-broke but some of the smaller neighborhood specialists do not. True? Is this also the case in other boroughs, neighborhhods?

Each area is different. In Queens they charge one month. Manhattan it is 15%. As for co-broking in Brooklyn I am assuming it depends on the agency.