Today, there are more than 28,000 residential real estate agents and brokers doing business in Manhattan.  Because of the record breaking run-up in sales prices over the last several years, the field has attracted an increasing number of newcomers.  Many will not stay the distance.


If you’re a buyer, a seller, or a developer, how do you choose from among the vast numbers of professionals?  What makes a good broker?  And why hire a broker at all when the Internet provides access to a global marketplace for available inventory?  


Certainly, the Internet is a powerful information tool that saves time for principals and brokers alike.  Providing detailed photographs, floor plans and virtual tours, the web allows us to scan the competitive landscape and preview properties from our desks.  


Good brokers serve to interpret and disseminate information.  Acting as advisors, they share more than their knowledge of a particular building, neighborhood or co-op board.  Adding perspective, they are able to explain current market trends in a broader context.  They not only educate buyers and sellers about recent sales, but they offer intuitive insights into choices and always consider resale possibilities.  By helping to evaluate opportunities, they enable all to make informed decisions.


Effective communicators and negotiators, good brokers know how to listen.  They are skilled at positioning and packaging.  They know how to champion your cause logically and persuasively to put together the best possible bid, counter offer or board package.  There are precious few among us who are able to negotiate effectively on our own behalf.  Nearly always, ego gets in the way of our intentions.  Whenever, I’ve negotiated to buy or sell a property for myself, I’ve asked an associate to act as negotiating spokesperson for me.  In that way, I could save face if I ever offended with a low offer, inadequate counter, or disparaging comment.     


Part Diplomat, Part Shrink


Good brokers are well-versed in the psychology of buying.  They lend emotional support to every transaction, and are adept at hand-holding and easing stress.  More often than not, they are confidantes for their clients and customers.  Because they are privy to personal information and sensitive details, good brokers are armed with discretion and diplomacy.      


Additionally, they have a wealth of resources at their fingertips, and can put you in touch with the right mortgage broker, attorney, designer, architect, contractor, supplier and mover.  They have strong working relationships with other professionals in the community, especially co-brokers and mortgage brokers.  Their judgments are respected, and they cooperate effectively with all players involved in a transaction.  


Good brokers are creative thinkers and problem solvers.  They know how to prioritize needs and identify areas for flexibility and compromise.  They can predict future requirements and advise on resale probabilities.  Vigilant during every step of the process leading up to a successful closing, they know how to anticipate and overcome obstacles.  


Buying and selling a home is a major financial commitment.  For many, the transaction represents a significant portion of net worth.  For most, it’s also a pivotal life event.  Though it’s not nearly as high on the stress meter as marriage or divorce, the process is fraught with emotion and anxiety.  To ensure a smooth transaction from beginning to end, both buyers and sellers are faced with the challenge of selecting the right broker.  The recommendation is to get referrals from friends or other professionals, and interview your prospects.  For the best outcome possible, hire an experienced broker with sensitivity and integrity who demonstrates a willingness to provide personal attention and service to achieve your specific goals.  Today, in fact, there are less than 28,000 of us around.