Should You Ever Really Trust a Real Estate Broker?

Should you ever really trust a real estate broker?

Those of us in the real estate industry are well aware that the public doesn’t hold our profession in the highest regard. Even the most talented, accomplished and honest brokers out there have all faced situations when clients just didn’t want to trust them. Perhaps more than any other profession, there is a perception that brokers are guilty until proven innocent. Throughout my career, I have had overwhelmingly positive experiences with clients, usually building a mutual understanding that allows me to help them achieve their goals. But like any agent, I’ve also dealt with clients who seemed to think from day one that I was just no good. The truth is that if you adopt that mentality from the first step of the process, you’re destined to have a bad experience.

Let me first say that I completely understand why people feel this way. Real estate is a stressful endeavor, and nowhere more so than in New York. When you are renting, apartments are hard to find, harder to secure, and always eat up the biggest part of your  monthly budget. When you move on to buying, you’re looking at the biggest purchase of your life by a long shot. This kind of pressure weighs on you before you even start, and the stress is exacerbated by the fact that many people don’t think they can trust agents.

For a lot of people, that belief is based on real-life experience. For almost every New Yorker, our first encounter with real estate unfortunately is dealing with agents who have the least amount of skills and experiences—the brokers you find via a Craigslist rental ad, hawking an apartment listed as no-fee that turns out to actually have a huge fee, or even not exist at all. This experience sets the stage for that lack of trust so many people feel.

It is true that there are a lot of people out there on the low end of the market who are just looking to make a quick buck. But an important thing to keep in mind is that, like in any industry, as the quality of your investment goes up, the level of service and professionalism you can expect also goes up. Writing off the entire real estate industry after a bad experience with a Craigslist-sourced rental broker is like having a bad experience at a fast food drive-in and then swearing off all restaurants for life. The frustration many people have with their first broker experience is real, but the truth is most brokers are honest professionals who maintain a level of shared respect with their customers—and as a result, those are the brokers who get business over and over again.

It’s crucial that you find a professional you can place your faith in. If you don’t, you need to find a way to let those negative perceptions wash away, or you need to find yourself a new broker. My clients who trust me get the best Jay Glazer money can buy. Of course I work hard for every client, but when we both know we respect each other’s opinions, it allows me to advise and collaborate in the most effective way possible. When something isn’t working, rather than doubt each other, we put our minds together and find a solution.

That’s why, like in any business, you should do your homework before hiring a broker. Educate yourself by reading reviews, talking to friends, and interviewing several brokers before committing. We live in a very transparent age of reviews. I don’t ever go to a restaurant without looking it up on Yelp; you should look prospective brokers up too. Do they have reviews online? Are they quoted in news articles? Do they sound articulate?

I also encourage every customer I work with to come meet me, because there’s nothing more revealing than seeing how a person operates. Ask a few questions of the broker and decide if they’re a good fit for you. What neighborhoods do you specialize in? How many transactions have you done this year?  How do they like to work with clients?

Most importantly, hit up your trusted friends and colleagues. Everybody in New York City knows brokers, and odds are you know someone who’s had a good experience with one. By doing this research from the outset, you’ll set yourself up with the trust and confidence you need in order to have a great experience and find the home you want.