Magazine lists seven ways to pick the right agent

Even before I read the piece in U.S. News, I was ready to lampoon harpoon it.  So in this odd way to write a post, I’ll comment as I go through the article with low expectations that I’ll find nothing to fault.  But I could be wrong.  Here goes:

  1. Locate candidates. I can’t argue with that or the notion of asking others for references.  But the concept of asking those individuals who conduct the closing and sell insurance to buyers is a bizarre one in New York, where they have no way of knowing how brokers conduct themselves, except at the closing–where we sit like jurors during a trial waiting for our checks.  Nor can title insurance companies or settlement lawyers have any idea in other jurisdictions how competently and honestly brokers work with their clients.
  2. Run background checks. If you think a broker’s Internet presence proves his or her professionalism, you’re only half right–and that from someone who strives to maintain a high profile. Some brokers who have been working for decades and depend, with great success, on referral business don’t want to learn or take the time to write blogs and develop Web sites. It doesn’t necessarily follow that they aren’t exceptional brokers.
  3. Conduct interviews. Not a bad idea, but if the amount of commission ends up being your sole criterion, don’t waste everyone’s time. Just ask on the telephone or in your e-mail.
  4. Establish experience. Fair enough. Just as you would avoid a physician doing his first appendectomy, you may want to shun a broker who has yet to prove herself or himself. But if you’re looking or selling in an area where the agent grew up and if that person knows a great deal about the housing market, consider the advantages of hiring someone who demonstrates enormous motivation and a willingness to call in a sales manager for advice.
  5. Consider communication. Is your prospective broker responsive when you want to reach him or her and in the way you wish–for example, by e-mail or phone? The magazine’s good advice is to find out by checking response times and manner before making a commitment.
  6. Know resources, commitment. Avoiding part-timers makes sense, as the magazine says, but I have written before that going with a team for its own sake can be a mistake.
  7. Call references. Not a bad idea to go to the trouble, though, of course, that practice always may produce only predictable results. Still, it’s worth a shot as is looking for testimonials on the broker’s Web site, if any.

So, there you are, truly off the top of my head.  Indeed, the foregoing advice amounts to nothing more than using your own head.

When you pick a broker, what you are doing is hiring someone to do a job.  Just go through the same process in which you would engage to choose any mid-level employee if you were trying to fill a position as employer.

Most of all, as is true in the job market, trust your instincts.  Good chemistry is everything.

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Malcolm Carter
Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker
Senior Vice President
Charles Rutenberg Realty
127 E. 56th Street
New York, NY 10022

M: 347-886-0248
F: 347-438-3201
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