Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Who do you trust to handle what may be the largest financial investment of your life?

Part 1:  Whether you’re buying or selling:

Your broker is going to help you make some very, very important financial and emotional decisions.  And you're going to spend a lot of time with him or her.  

Be careful whom you choose.

There are a number of ways to choose a broker.  Use all of them. And talk to at least three brokers before you decide on one to work with. 

First, ask your friends.  

Remember, as Frederick Peters, president of Warburg Realty and among the most highly respected people in residential real estate, says, "The fact that your cousin's mother-in-law recently obtained her brokerage license is NOT a personal recommendation."

But if anyone you know has had a really good experience with a particular broker, talk to that broker and tell him who made the recommendation.

Check your mailbox.  Like everyone else, you probably get frequent mailings from real estate brokers.  Do they offer you valuable information about the market, or do they just talk about themselves?

Check the web.  Look at the listings for properties similar to yours, or to what you want to buy.  Go to open houses. 

Do you find any of the brokers helpful?  Do any show a superior knowledge of the kind of property they're representing?  Don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions.

Walk into a firm's office off the street.  Do you get a favorable impression of the office?  Are you greeted promptly and given a place to sit, maybe even offered a glass of water or a coffee? 

Does a broker come to help you within a minute or two?  Does the broker listen to you carefully and take notes? 

Maybe most important of all, is the broker a member of the Real Estate Board of New York? 

REBNY members must adhere to the highest ethical standards and are severely penalized if these standards are not upheld. 

Check the firm's website.  Is it attractive and easy to navigate?  Does the firm have national and international affiliations?  

Also, be sure to choose a broker you like and feel comfortable with.  This can be more important than you realize in a stressful situation.

NEXT:  How to choose a broker if you’re planning to sell.

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