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While there are sellers who go it alone, plenty others opt to work with a broker. If you're considering one, here's what you need to know:
What does a broker do?
- An agent can work exclusively with a seller or represent both the seller and buyer (then they're called a "dual agent"). They're with you every step of the way, so you'll want to find someone experienced in marketing the type of apartment you've got, and who has the time to give it some attention.
How to choose one
- A broker who lives in the building will usually have a lot of knowledge about the property and its board, but you'll still want to make sure they're a good fit for you.
- Ask basic questions like, "How long have you been working as an agent?" and "What happens if you're unavailable and a buyer calls for a showing?"
- Delve deeper with job interview-style questions like, "Why are you in real estate?" and "Give me an example of when you made a mistake and explain how you fixed it." You want a broker who suits your personality, too.
- Also important: their experience selling your particular type of apartment. If a broker mostly works with Tribeca lofts, she may not be the person to sell your Park Slope brownstone.
- Make sure they have experience managing bidding wars and can advise you on how to deal with them.
- Evaluate their staging ideas and other marketing plans.
- And remember that the interview goes two ways; haggle too much on the commission or insist on an unrealistic asking price, and a broker may turn you down.
Signing a listing agreement
- Give the broker's exclusive agreement a thorough read.
- The 6 percent commission is sometimes negotiable, especially if you have a high-end property or have worked with the broker before.
- A good agent will draw up a marketing plan once you sign with them, laying out everything they'll do to sell the property and when. Hold them accountable to this.
Putting your place on the market
- Don't assume your broker is infallible on pricing. Familiarize yourself with the market.
- Insist on high-quality photos and consider adding video to the listing.
Finding a buyer
- Talk to your broker about offering extras at an open house, anything from light refreshments to a mortgage broker on hand.
- That day, expect your broker to show up early, dress appropriately, give buyers space to look around, be available to answer questions, and stay until the every end.
- Your broker need not give away personal details about why you're selling.
***This story was first published in February 2015 and updated in September 2016.