My dear friend Cora recently called to tell me that someone she had just met was looking for a large co-op or condo near Riverside Boulevard. Cora was understandably excited.
Representing a buyer such as her acquaintance would be good for me, but I’ve learned to ask questions before getting my hopes up.
The key question is this: Is the woman working with anyone else?
You guessed it. She is working with another broker. In fact, she is working with five other brokers. Now having that information, I sent the woman a copy of the free biweekly e-newsletter that I write every two weeks, except during holiday periods. With it, I emailed the following message:
As you doubtless know, Cora suggested that I be in touch with you with regard to finding a new apartment. However, she told me that you currently are working with five other brokers. And although I would like nothing more than to help with your search, I have to say that I represent only those buyers who promise to work only with me.
There are a couple of reasons for my approach. For one thing, all brokers have access to virtually all listings, so working with more hardly is an advantage. Anyone can find you appropriate listings (including the nine out of 10 buyers who begin their search on the Internet), but not anyone can guide you, advise you and negotiate for you with equal skill, convenience, determination and convenience.
Second, everyone likes to receive compensation for her/his work. If you are dealing with six brokers, including me, the likelihood of any financial benefit to me is, at best, slightly more than 16 percent. When I put it this way, I’m sure you understand my position.
She responded with a four-word reply. “No problem,” she wrote. “Thanks anyway.”
I suppose I do regret that the quality of my reasoning didn’t sway her. But I know she’s making a mistake not to work with a single broker dedicated to her needs, rather than five brokers who can do the same calculation that I have done.
And I’m absolutely certain that I, for one, have made no mistake in passing up an opportunity with such a slim possibility of a reward. Like you, I am sure, I don’t relish working for nothing.
Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker
Senior Vice President
Charles Rutenberg Realty
127 E. 56th Street
New York, NY 10022