Tips to Know Before Meeting Your Broker in 2014: Commit to the Process

Posted on November 13, 2013 9:29 am

This post is the third entry in our series on Tips to Know Before Meeting Your Broker in 2014.  The series is based on our experiences shadowing several rental brokers in New York in late 2013.  We learned a lot about the best – and worst – ways to work with brokers. 

Tip #3: Commit to the Process

It may sound obvious, but if you decide to use a broker, use the broker. Let them do the work. If you keep hunting on your own, you’re defeating the purpose. You’re also undermining your relationship with your broker, giving them less incentive to invest time in your search. The same goes for playing the field with multiple brokers. Less incentive = inferior results. Don’t feel comfortable trusting your broker like this? You may need to spend some more time with Tip #2.

Letting a broker help you means having some faith in their way of doing things. Many clients we observed were hesitant to loosen their grip on the reins, and this was the #1 way in which potentially productive relationships went awry. For instance, about half of the brokers we followed prefer to meet potential clients at their office for an initial consultation, rather than at the apartment a client has expressed interest in. But many clients refuse to do this. Refusing to meet at an office might seem logical on the surface. If you’ve identified the apartment you want to see, why waste time with a consultation? While it might seem counterintuitive, we observed that meeting a broker at the office usually saves time. Take Jane, who reached out to Steve Druth of Bond NY about a studio on the Upper West Side she’d seen listed on RentHop. Jane met Druth at his office, where he coordinated a tour of a dozen Upper West Side studios. It turned out that the apartment Jane initially called about received a strong application a few hours before Jane viewed it, so meeting at that building would have been a waste of time. Because she came into the office, she still got to view several solid apartments in less than two hours.

If you’ve identified a broker you trust, you should also feel comfortable letting them do the searching for you. While we know it’s tempting, try to limit the time you spend on Craigslist, StreetEasy, Naked (and yes, even RentHop). One client we spoke to confessed she was still spending hours every day scouring these sites for new listings. Chris Plummer of Link chalks this kind of behavior up not just to a lack of trust, but also to “addiction…It’s like being in a casino.” Restrain yourself.

Our next tip: remember that not everything that goes wrong in your search is your broker’s fault.   Or maybe you want to take a sneak peek at the whole list?

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