Which is more important, broker or brokerage?

Annette Bening played a real estate broker in this film. Do you remember the name of the film? See the answer and link below.

As readers of this blog well know, there is no shortage of bad brokers–those who are some combination of lazy, incompetent, unprofessional, unethical or nothing more than avaricious.

Of course, there are lots of good brokers in New York City and elsewhere as well.

The question at hand: Is there a clear connection between the quality of the broker and the reputation or size of her/his firm?  The answer: An unqualified yes and no.

If you assume that there is a connection between good brokers and those with a long track record, bear in mind that at least the three biggest firms–the names of which you know–try to hang onto those who produce heavy volume and turn away those who do not.  Of course, some of those brokers may succeed by hook or by crook, as it were.

At the same time, the biggest firms usually have the best training programs, though not exclusively.  So, if you’re dealing with a new broker affiliated with such a firm, you are more likely to deal with one whose training somewhat makes up for limited experience.

It does not follow that a broker unassociated with a firm that is a household name is either a good or a bad agent.

Although some of the boutique firms engage in shoddy supervision, offer little training and accept anyone who has a license, there is no clear connection between the size of a firm and the ability or integrity of an individual broker.

In olden times, within the past few years, some firms sought to distinguish themselves by the number of listings on their Web sites.  The concept was that buyers would find what they wanted there.

In the new age of VOWs, Streeteasy and the New York Times online, however, that advantage is ancient history.

Because you may not often hear of the firm with which I am affiliated, Charles Rutenberg Realty, you may be tempted to think that this post is an exercise in defensiveness.  Not true.  In fact, Charles Rutenberg is a big firm: the Real Deal monthly magazine just ranked us as the seventh biggest.

The point is this: Whether you are buying or selling, don’t choose a broker on the basis of the firm’s name recognition.  Choose on the basis of chemistry, communication skills, level of professionalism, knowledge of the market and the personal references that you are well advised to seek out.

(The film in the photo at the top was American Beauty.)

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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

Web site

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