There are two–make that three–kinds of brokers

The broker community extends to the ends of the earth — and the Internet. (Flickr photo by Ravi Karandeekar)

There are brokers who prefer to represent sellers and those who are inclined to help out buyers.

It is folly to generalize, of course, but I’ll give it a shot.

Those who lean toward sellers seem to ally themselves with party hosts, and I mean that in a nice way.  They enjoy open houses — getting the place in order, welcoming visitors and developing appealing marketing materials.

Translated, they are like homeowners who like to clean and straighten, envelop their dinner guests in a warm smile, set a pretty table and perhaps even print tempting menus.

Listing brokers also are much more.  The best pride themselves on finely analyzing the housing market by building and neighborhood.  They view themselves as pros who bring in the most potential buyers.  They like nothing more than effectively staging the places they are trying to unload.

In negotiations, it is my experience that more listing brokers than not also tend to try to show who’s boss, treating the process as an adversarial one rather than trying to achieve a fair meeting of the minds.

The worst brokers love confrontation and presume their clients’ response to offers before checking with them.  The most professional listing brokers seek compromise, refusing to see the situation as a power play.

I’d say that all predominantly listing brokers subscribe to the notion of working for their client just a few months until a well-priced property is sold, rather than having to search sometimes for years with a buyer for the right apartment or townhouse.

Those years will involve endlessly checking out properties at open houses alone, making appointments for their buyers with often reluctant listing brokers and dragging the buyer from one to the other month after month after month.  Sometimes the search goes on literally for years.

Many listing brokers are repelled by the idea of that kind of work.  (I’d like to say so much work, but that wouldn’t be fair.)

As for buyers’ representatives, the good ones also know how to measure the market and judge a property’s true worth.

Such brokers generally enjoy prolonged interaction with their buyers to the extent that time commitments don’t become unreasonable.  Although clients may not become best friends for life, the brokers at least take pleasure in being best friends for now.

To them, the opportunity to help someone find a home far outweighs the chance to sell a chunk of real estate.

To promote themselves, listing brokers will paper buildings with their triumphs, advertise them even in movie houses and develop refined pitch packages.  Some will haunt FSBOs and sellers whose listings have expired.

Buyer representatives are perhaps more likely to concentrate on networking in person or via social media, though, of course, postcards from them can have a way of clogging mail boxes too.

It really is an oversimplification to say that one kind of broker or another has grossly different approaches to self-promotion, but there are, in my view, subtle differences.

Nor do all brokers — probably not even a majority — fall under either the lister or buyer umbrella.  They are a third category in which the types are blended.

Most brokers will represent whoever comes their way and market themselves much as the other sort does.

Hey, anything for a buck, no?

Tomorrow: Weekly Roundup

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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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