Hire a real estate agent in Manhattan, New York

Posted by Wei Min Tan on July 20, 2021

Engage a real estate agent when researching a purchase Manhattan, New York is an essential part of the buying process.

Indeed, in the United States, there is a buyer’s agent and a seller’s agent. The buyer’s agent represents the interests of the buyer while the seller’s agent represents the interests of the seller. This is why all agents are required to provide their client with a agency declaration form at the first meeting who clearly explains what interest he represents in the business relationship. Our transparent system wants to avoid the case where an agent who represents the interests of the seller wrongly makes the buyer believe that the agent is really watching over him.

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Check out Wei Min’s style in Manhattan’s Best Realtors and Role of a buyer’s broker.

Hiring a buyer’s estate agent is not common in many countries

In many countries, there are only seller’s agents. So buyers will ask multiple real estate agents to send them what they have. Each of the seller’s agents will then send a list of 5-10 properties where they represent the sellers and explain why these properties are the best.

The buyer obtains a wide source of properties from these different agents and then evaluates the merits of each property. But then, who advises the buyer? Making a decision based on brochures or fancy websites is not the best way. The buyer will have a business to run or a full-time job. He will not be able to visit the property full time, which is necessary to assess the options. Alas, the buyer decides based on what presents the best.

In the United States, the buyer engages a buyer’s agent to act as the buyer’s advisor. The property inventory is public information for everyone and can be viewed from websites such as streeteasy.com. The role of the buyer’s agent is to screen properties and advise the buyer based on the agent’s knowledge of the overall market, buyer’s objectives, price, etc.

Read Weimin’s article, Is it a good time to invest in real estate in Manhattan?

Agent commissions paid by the seller

In the United States, the buyer’s and seller’s agent commission is paid by the seller. This is despite the buyer’s agent actually representing the interests of the buyer. Before a seller engages a seller’s agent, there will be a listing agreement that specifies the commission, usually the standard market rate. The seller’s agent then distributes the listing through the broker network, known as multiple listing service in many cities. In Manhattan, this sharing system is known as EPIRB and supervised by the New York Real Estate Board (REBNY). This is how the goods for sale are shared between all the agents of the city. From the RLS, it is introduced in the various mainstream websites like streeteasy.com.

When a buyer presents himself represented by an agent, the commission will be shared between the seller’s and the buyer’s agents. If the buyer comes without a buyer’s agent, the seller’s agent keeps the entire commission. That’s why almost every buyer in the United States knows to use a buyer’s agent when researching.

Find a real estate agency in New York

I always tell buyers to interview a few real estate agents before hiring someone and select the right agent based on their suitability.

The first way is for the buyer to search online for potential agents in the target area. For example, search for “real estate agents in new york,” Where “real estate agents in Tribeca,” Where “real estate agents focusing on luxury condos.” Agent credentials will be displayed and the buyer can select a few to interview from the search. This is a more objective way as the agent’s credentials and penetration are all displayed. The downside is that the buyer won’t be able to get first-hand feedback on the overall experience with the shortlisted agent. One solution is to ask the end agent for a referral from an existing client or check the agent’s reviews.

The second way is referral from friends. With referrals, the advantage is that it is easier and the opinion of the referrer is often trustworthy. The referrer can share all his experience with the buyer. The downside is that the referred agent may not be the best in the target market/segment. Often the referral got the initial business because of a relationship, friend, or acquaintance. The decision to work together is based on “kindness” and being in the right place at the right time. The solution is to review the agent’s credentials (everything is available online these days) and make sure the agent’s target niche is what the buyer is looking for.

Waiting for Manhattan Buyer’s Agents

After interviews, buyers will find that good buyer’s agents in New York ask for exclusivity from the buyer. This means that the buyer only works with one buyer’s agent. Sometimes there is a contract and sometimes it is a verbal agreement. There are two reasons for this: (i) the inventory of goods is public information and the agent wants to avoid duplicity in the goods displayed, (ii) a good buyer’s agent wants to ensure that the relationship is with a loyal customer who does not run with several brokers. From a broker’s point of view, if there is a good deal, the priority will be to recommend it to a loyal client and not to a client who works with several brokers.

We agents understand that from a buyer’s perspective, the buyer may want to work with multiple agents to ‘cover’ the exposure. This refers to exposure to more opinions and recommendations. In Manhattan, all good wanted agents will ask for exclusivity as a condition of establishing the relationship. In my experience, clients who work with multiple agents and agents who accept this end up serving each other half-heartedly. The agent’s goal becomes to close a deal as quickly as possible and not wait for the right deal to be presented to the buyer.

Committed – the purchase process begins

The buying process begins after the buyer and agent agree to proceed. The agent provides the buyer with an agency disclosure form that explains that the agent is representing the best interests of the buyer. The agent then informs the buyer in the market, provides the necessary contacts such as the mortgage bank and the lawyer, sends the shortlisted properties and consults the properties with the buyer. When I represent investor buyers, the visits can be done in person, or if the buyer is abroad, it can be done online.

Once the target property has been identified, the buyer’s agent will negotiate the price and terms with the seller (through the seller’s agent), coordinate the signing of the contract, prepare the advisory file and possibly prepare fence. For investors wishing to rent the property, the agent will take the necessary steps to list the property for rent, select the tenants and possibly coordinate the move-in. In our process with investor clients, it is after the tenant moves in and the first rent checks are deposited that we consider the process complete.

Read Weimin’s article, Buying a property in Manhattan to rent out

What we do

We focus on global investors who are buying condos in Manhattan for portfolio diversification and long-term return on investment.
1) Identify the right purchase according to the objectives
2) Manage the buying process
3) Rent the property
4) Manage tenants
5) Market the property during the eventual sale

Wei Min’s media interviews by CNBC, CNN, New York Times about investing in Manhattan real estate

Examples of transactions

1) The Sutton, Turtle Bay, Midtown East. This Toll Brothers development only required a 10% reservation deposit. Represented several purchasers at a price of $2 million. The location, the classic style windows and the luxury finishes make it a good investment. Close to United Nations, Citigroup Center, Blackstone, Blackrock. Rented at premium rents from the start.

Real Estate Investment Performance in Manhattan

2) 200 Chambers St., Tribeca. Top quality building in Tribeca. Convenient location next to Whole Foods. The building is at full price but the rents are also at full price. This corner unit has a double exposure, maximizing sunshine. Bought at around $1 million and has appreciated considerably since then.

property in new york

3) Vendome Park, Midtown West. Bought at a bargain price and renovated the whole apartment. Buying factors were southern exposure with lots of sun and proximity to Central Park. The photos below are the Before/After. Rented immediately after the end of the renovation.

pre-war property in new york

pre-war condo in new york before renovation

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