How not to be a real estate agent - The Sequel

By Margot Slade  | April 21, 2011 - 12:45PM

A dormant StreetEasy discussion on good/bad NYC brokering has sprung back to life with more unsolicited and sometimes acid advice for the city's real estate are the highlights:

  • Tell the seller and family to take a hike during the showing. 
  • Knowledge and due diligence earn repeat business and referrals more than being nice and waxing poetic about Bosch (whose models vary in quality).
  • Find out if the building allows pets and what kind so that you don't drag buyers with a 50 lbs dog to a no-pets building. 
  • Know what the pied-a-terre policy is, and what recent history of the board has and has not allowed; what the renovation policy is and how it is implemented; the specifics of any assessment.
  • Take responsibility -- I have grown tired of hearing this at open houses: "I'm sitting in for the agent; sorry, I cannot answer all your questions. Write your mail address clearly and I am sure he/she will get back to you." 
  • Know the number of units in contract in the building. (Don't lie about that number, especially when a mortgage approval depends on it.)
  • Find out what the sublet policy is.


  • Use photos of an entirely different building to advertise your listing.
  • Stand over me at an open house like a salivating hound making sure I sign in. Don't follow me around step for step -- I want to be able to speak freely with my husband without you hanging onto every word.
  • Tell me "There's nothing like that in your price range" when I am on the other end of the phone with a printout from StreetEasy that shows plenty of those in my price range. The MLS is not a closed system anymore. If you are too lazy to even take a look on the MLS for me, then you don't deserve my business. 
  • Show listings that are 20% over the buyer's limit. (Do return e-mails after the buyer says they can't spend that much.) 
  • Give me a picture of yourself as the congrats gift at closing. Seriously? (And when you're visiting to drop off paperwork, don't ask me why you don't see the picture of yourself anywhere.)
  • Tell a buyer that their offer is an insult, then try to extract an offer that is 10% higher but the buyer refuses. When the apt sells a few months later for the price you considered "insulting" (at) least a mea culpa call would be nice. 
  • Say everyone in NYC sells after 5 years, so it is crazy to plan beyond that.
  • Tell a seller that nobody can predict taxes after the abatement runs out. There is an estimate in the Offering Plan; that is the number a buyer wants to know. 
  • Continue to have open houses after the contract has been signed by both sides. 
  • Tell a client that after the company takes 1/3 your boss takes 1/3 then you are left with what amounts to a minimum wage, so you don't have to address my questions. 



Related posts:

How not to be a real estate agent

How not to be an obnoxious buyer

Inside Story: What I saw at your open house

The myth of the 'inside' broker who sits on the board too

Hiring an insider to sell your apartment

The real (scary) numbers behind those tax abatements

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