Cool stuff: New online Michelin-style guide to NYC real estate agents

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When it's time to move, it may also be time to find a new agent.

Ideally, you want someone intimately familiar with your market niche who is also in possession of a deep Rolodex of potential buyers.  You also want an agent who doesn’t pretend to know more than they do.

But how do you separate the showboats from the performers?, launched last week, is the rather brilliant marriage of online matchmaking with the expertise of two respected real estate veterans, Paul Purcell and Kathy Braddock, who’ve been doing this offline for years via their residential real-estate consultancy Braddock + Purcell.

Bottom line: These guys know where the bodies are buried, and you should take their recommendations—right now, numbering around 100 Manhattan and Brooklyn agents—very seriously.   

The service is free for buyers, who browse agent profiles sorted by neighborhood and market segment.

“You’ll find a lot of names you wouldn’t have heard of before,” says Jonas Lee, the venture’s chairman. “For example, the really great people who sell apartments under $500,000 are not going to be famous.  The ones that get famous sell $20 million places.”

The list will eventually be capped at 200 agents, capturing what TopAgentGuide’s founders believe to be the crème de la crème in each category.

Agents are personally interviewed along with their references, and they can’t pay to be listed. The service makes money by collecting a standard industry referral fee of 25 percent of any commission earned by the TopAgent broker.  

Which leads to another winning point:  If something goes awry in your relationship with your broker, TopAgentGuide will use its leverage as repeat-business generators to help smooth things out.