Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Topics: The Buyer's Broker

The New York Times covered the topic of using a buyer's broker for your housing search and we couldn't help but notice. Their "in a nutshell" summary of why it's worth using a buyer's broker pretty much captures it:

"to protect his or her interests in an expensive, often complex purchase that can become even more complicated by the labyrinthine co-op approval process in New York City.

A buyer who relies on the seller’s agent to handle both sides of the deal may not hear about problems with the apartment or the building, or have a real advocate during contract negotiations."

It's important to distinguish that this isn't like paying a broker's fee for finding an apartment rental, where the renter typically pays the agent. In purchasing, buyer's brokers are usually cost-free for the buyer. And as the article goes on to point out, the seller's paying the commission, but the proceeds to the seller come from the buyer. So since the BUYER is basically paying the commission, why not get someone on their side looking out for their interests for the transaction? As the executive director of the National Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents points out, "You’re paying for it, you might as well hire someone to represent you.”

This topic is on the brain often because we've had such dreary experiences with most buyer's brokers ourselves - and really many brokers in general for that matter. Many readers complain to us about brokers too, and even about their own buyer's brokers.

Does anyone have a positive buyer's broker experience to share? Anyone have a recommendation for some good buyer's brokers? We have a few stand-up brokers in mind if you need some suggestions. Contact us for more info...

1 comment:

  1. I'm convinced that when I went to buy my parlor floor apt in Park Slope in spring of 2008, I won my bid because I used the selling agent's husband as my buyer's broker. Basically I walked in with no broker but knowing the market well having shopped Brooklyn for 2 years. I knew the apt was a winner: the real estate market was already slowing and there were few people at the open houses I went to. This open house, however, was packed and I overheard everyone talking excitedly to their brokers about things like "could I work in this tiny office" and "how would I make this closet better." I asked the agent if there were offers and indeed one was made before the open house. I called 2 hours later and was told there were 8 offers already. Maybe he was lying, but I trusted him nevertheless. I used the husband as my agent knowing he wanted the full 6 percent. It worked. It helped that I was the last bid and he knew what the other bids looked like. I was able to ask, "Would $___ be a competitive price?" and he was able to direct me in a way that would win both of us the bid. I didn't pay much over asking and it turns out it was a great buy. In hindsight, I could have used a seller's agent who could have sussed out problems in the building but really, that's what the lawyer is for. I say, in a competitive market with lots of bids, use the agent! And then get a damn good lawyer to find out potential problems in the building. My lawyer was lazy, but I'm happy.