Ms. Demeanor's Vertical Etiquette

Dear Ms. Demeanor: Do I have to use the building broker to sell my place??

By Jamie Lauren Sutton  | May 11, 2011 - 12:25PM

Dear Ms. D., 

We are about to sell our apartment in a condop where one broker, who lives in the building, has most if not all of the listings. We do not think she is a good fit for us - she is very abrasive and pushy - and want to try with a broker we know well and trust. Friends and neighbors have advised us this is not a wise course of action.

What do you think, Ms. D?


I want a broker not a choker

Dear Broker-Not-Choker,

I certainly understand and empathize with your concerns.  You end up spending a lot of time, and eventually a lot of money, with your broker, and you want the relationship to at least start on good footing.  It is not uncommon for certain brokers to have a monopoly on a particular building; I bought my apartment from one such broker (who was both classy and ethical) and I would be sure to use her if we ever sell.

These 'building brokers' know all the ins and outs and know where all the metaphorical, or literal, bodies are buried. (For more info, see Hiring an insider to sell your apartment.)  The power of the building broker's combined experience, knowledge, and insider information is not to be taken lightly and can be used for good--and, in theory, evil.  (That is why monopolies are generally a bad thing.....) 

In your case, I think you can certainly give another broker a try but aim for a shorter exclusivity contract than the usual six months in case you want to switch horses mid-race.  If the broker/neighbor confronts you, a little white lie may be worth the bad karma ("He is a friend of the family."  "We've worked with her before." etc...), leaving the door open and bad feelings to a minimum.  

May your sale be swift and overask,

Ms. Demeanor

Ms. Demeanor is channeled by a longtime Manhattan vertical dweller and real-estate voyeur who writes under the pen name Jamie Lauren Sutton. She is here to commiserate, calm and correct. Please email your quandaries to [email protected] and put "Dear Ms. Demeanor" in the subject line.

See all of Ms. Demeanor's advice here.


Related posts:

Ask an Expert: Carving a neighbor out of a listing agreement

Ask an Expert: Hiring an insider to sell your apartment

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




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