Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Selling your apartment? How to pick a real estate broker.

I'm always surprised when I see sale listings come on the market with bad photos, no floor plans, no advertising. I think sellers need to be as educated about the market as their buyers are, and should insist on certain services from their listing agents. Here are some of the services you can request from your broker:

-Insist on professional photos and floorplans - they should be part of your listing from day one. 
-Advertising in NYTimes at the very least; ask for a "featured" listing in Streeteasy, Trulia, Property Shark, etc.. 
-If you are going after a high-end buyer, or even just buyers over $1M, the advertising commitment must be long term and inventive; even a well-priced (i.e. 20% off recent comps) apartment over $1M may take a while to sell. Make sure your broker will continue to actively market the place if nothing happens in the first six weeks. 
-Ask what types of buyers they have currently - what are their buyers looking for? Ideally, you'll find a broker who has qualified buyers lined up looking for a place exactly like yours. What have their buyers bought recently? 
-What banks have they dealt with to facilitate loans for properties like yours? See if they can have a bank/mortgage broker draw up a sheet showing loan options for buyers of your actual apartment. It helps buyers and sellers to know that a bank will underwrite the mortgage for your property. 
-Ask for them to provide a stager. They may not want to pay for it, but you can usually get them to (at least) split the cost with you. Staging is KEY. 
-Ask what their co-broke policy is. You want them actively marketing the property to other brokers. Ask them to hold a brokers' open house. See if they'll provide lunch. 
-As always, you'll want a CMA - a comparative market analysis - to support your asking price.

Please know that in this market, your initial asking price needs to be realistic to ensure a timely sale. There is no margin in starting high to see if anyone will bite. They won't. Buyers are looking for value. Find a broker who knows how to maximize your apartment's exposure to the very people who are in the market to purchase it. But don't expect them to find any suckers. They're not out there.

1 comment:

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