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What to look for in a Manhattan real estate agent

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Manhattan is arguably the most defining borough in New York City. So if you’re buying or selling a home in this fast-paced urban icon, you have to be at the top of your game.

You’ll need a seasoned Manhattan real estate agent to help you reach your desired goal. Having the right agent in this highly competitive real estate market is necessary. Moreover, a skilled agent will ensure you succeed in buying or selling your home.

This article will help you learn the essentials in selecting an outstanding agent. We will discuss important agents’ qualities necessary to successfully navigate this enormous and complex New York City real estate maze. An exceptional agent will smooth out all the nitty-gritty details, and most importantly, negotiate the best possible terms.

What separates the exceptional agents from the inexperienced? Below you will see the traits you should look for in a Manhattan real estate agent. We will also explain vital steps you should know to ensure you’re hiring the right one.


Essential traits of Manhattan real estate agents

  • Clear communicator
  • Charismatic
  • Well-connected
  • Style-conscious
  • Honest
  • Thoughtful listener
  • Negotiating chops
  • Learning oriented

How to find the best real estate agent for you

  • Start with referrals
  • Sit down and talk to an agent
  • Find an agent who can make themselves available to you
  • Check their capacity and availability
  • Ask the right questions

Book a consultation with Manhattan real estate agent, Angel Recalde

Essential traits of Manhattan real estate agents

Clear communicator
It’s impossible to make it anywhere in the real estate industry without solid communication skills. This is because so much of the job involves meeting and doing business with different people. Suffice to say, when you’re in a place like Manhattan, which is essentially a melting pot of people from all over the world, communication is vital. Bonus points if they can speak any significant language other than English — a crucial aspect to consider for NYC’s international clientele. So first, you need to make sure your agent can communicate well. The best way to determine this is to contact the agent directly. Please keep in mind that communication occurs on the phone, through virtual video meetings, and optimally in person in this global world.

The best agents have a knack for getting people’s attention and nudging them to action. You’ll want an agent who can command respect and is simply a pleasure to be around. It’s no secret that almost everything moves fast in New York. If you want to get noticed and find the best deals fairly quickly, having a charismatic agent certainly helps you get things moving along quickly.

Connections and relationships are crucial, especially in NYC real estate. Agents usually make it a point to know each other. In many instances, having the proper connection can help complete great deals.

If you’re a home buyer, you can ask your agent to reach out to their counterpart on the other end of the bargaining table and understand the seller’s exact preferences. On the other hand, as a seller, your agent’s connections can help expand your pool of potential buyers and weed out the flippant ones.

In stylish Manhattan, agents must avoid looking sloppy or unflattering when representing their real estate interests. Style can be evident in how professionals present themselves. When making deals around multi-million dollar properties in Manhattan, real estate agents have to look the part and immediately make a great impression right from the first meeting.

It’s also imperative for an effective NYC agent to have an excellent grasp of home styles and designs. They must know the latest “in” trends in the luxury market and those on the way out. Even if you’re well-versed in the world of home design, having a real estate agent you can rely on for style guidance can prove invaluable.

As you engage in one of the most significant financial transactions you’ll ever make, your agent must always be honest with you. The best Manhattan real estate agents have painstakingly built their reputations through the years with honesty and integrity as the foundation.

Even when it may seem like they’re going against your preferences, keep in mind, real estate agents are fiduciary professionals. Therefore, they should always act with your best interests in mind. For example, you may fall a bit too quickly for a home with underlying issues. Nevertheless, a reputable agent’s honest opinion could be the key to avoiding a disastrous purchase.

Moreover, they will also make sure that they do everything in their power to strike a fair deal. Honest and experienced agents know that representing you in a real estate transaction means protecting your reputation as well as theirs. Therefore, their guidance can help you avoid making too low offers, being labeled a lowballer, and eliminating you from being considered a serious buyer. But most importantly, losing the chance to buy your dream home.

Thoughtful listener
As much as agents talk and tout their credentials, they should be all ears throughout their engagement with clients. Seasoned agents know that for any strategy to succeed, they have to listen carefully to their clients’ stories and thoroughly understand their preferences and motivations. So, instead of readily talking up their achievements in the first meeting, a thoughtful and attentive agent will first hear your inputs before explaining their strategy.

If your agent has genuinely listened to your needs, vetting home listings or buyer offers will be easier. They can give you sound and immediate advice on whether an offer or home for sale is worth your time.

Master Negotiator
The Manhattan real estate agent you eventually hire must be a master negotiator. There’s little or nothing that these seasoned dealmakers haven’t gone through or know. With their experience, agents will have a good feel on how far you can go in the negotiation process while ensuring your interests remain protected at all times.

Negotiating chops is particularly indispensable in a consistently competitive market like NYC. So if you want to succeed in finding or selling a home here, make sure your agent is equipped with the skills and determination to secure a great deal.

Even agents at the pinnacle of their careers know the importance of consistent learning and continuous professional development. Therefore, the best agents consider themselves lifelong learners. They attend continuing education courses in real estate, prioritize tracking market trends and disruptions, and stay updated on digital platforms, including social media advertisements.

Additionally, these professionals are constantly honing their skills. Some will go out of their way to see what’s happening on the ground in their local market. They will attend other agents’ open houses to check pricing, inventory, and other changes in the surrounding neighborhoods. Finally, exceptional agents will continuously check in with their network and relevant professional real estate associations to stay abreast of the latest development.

How to find the best real estate agent for you

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  1. Start with referrals.
  2. You don’t have to start from scratch and make hard inquiries. An agent referred to you by a family member, or a friend will most likely be a good fit. Also, ask people you know who’ve made real estate transactions in NYC recently or in the past. Chances are they still have that agent’s contact details. Depending on whether you’re buying or selling, they may recommend hiring that agent.

  3. Sit down and talk to them.
  4. Like a manager interviewing a job candidate, you should carve out time to sit down and talk to potential agents. However, with today’s digital platforms that can instantly connect you to agents, some clients prefer to forego the interview phase (often called the “buyer consultation” in the industry). Platforms like Zillow and Redfin can even display an agent’s transaction history and list of reviews.

    So what can you achieve with an interview? First, you can better spot the traits and soft skills you’re looking for and get a feel if you can have a good relationship with them. These intangibles will become apparent when conversing with an agent — remotely or in person.

  5. Check their capacity and availability.
  6. It’s usual for agents to handle more than a handful of clients at any given time. Some deal with ten or more. Depending on their capacity, it may impact your real estate experience for better or for worse. While agents aim to do everything they can for their clients, limited time and attention may beg to differ. Good agents are punctual and always keep set appointments.

    When you start working with an agent, make it a point to assess just how responsive they are when you need to get in touch. The world of NYC real estate moves blazingly fast, and agents must be accessible to you when you need to make clutch decisions.

  7. Know where their specialties lie.
  8. Real estate agents usually earn additional certifications to help them become more specialized and ultimately stand out among their peers. Depending on your real estate goals, you may need an agent focused on targeted locations or specific facets of real estate.

    Some professional real estate designations

    Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR) – Specializes in assisting home buyers. If your transaction involves residential real estate, consider looking for agents who have earned this designation.

    Accredited Seller’s Representative (ASR) – A highly trained agent works directly with home sellers.

    Certified Commercial Real Estate Advisor (CCREA) is ideal for clients looking for more information and valuable insights on buying income-generating properties. For example, suppose you’re looking to invest in office spaces, shopping centers, retail stores, or apartments. In that case, these agents are in the best position to provide support.

    Certified Property Manager (CPM) – Agents with the CPM designation are particularly hands-on in overseeing maintenance and repair work for various properties. If you need someone to keep an eye on your vacation home or rental properties, a CPM may be just what you need.

    Counselor Real Estate (CRE) – Certified real estate counselors weigh in on the profitability of several properties. An agent who has earned a CRE can help you find residential or commercial properties that have high potential to appreciate over time.

  9. Ask the right questions
  10. Lastly, when engaging with a potential real estate agent, it helps to have sharp questions ready beforehand. Consider the following queries.

    Key questions to ask a real estate agent

    Q1: “Can you provide references?”

    Find out what others think about a particular agent. Input from past clients and former or current colleagues is particularly insightful. Also, don’t neglect to look up an agent’s online reviews to see if everything matches up nicely.

    Q2: “What separates you from the competition?”

    The real estate business is highly competitive. Every professional will consistently market themselves as knowledgeable, reliable, or highly accomplished. So the goal of this question isn’t to find the unique agent, but rather to see if their skills and experience are an excellent match to your particular needs and goals.

    Moreover, this is also an opportunity to observe how agents sell themselves to you. They should make a persuasive case for their services and back it up with client testimonials, market insights, and notable achievements.

    Q3: “Can you show me your real estate license?”

    This question may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at the number of people who unwittingly hire unlicensed agents. Ask an agent if they are members of the Real Estate Board of New York.

    In addition, if an agent claims to specialize in residential or commercial real estate, it would be good to know if they’re a member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR). An affiliation or active membership with NAR must abide by a strict code of ethics.

    Q4: “Can you connect me to other professionals and service providers?”

    Purchasing property involves myriad other tasks that require the services of professionals other than your agent. For instance, you’ll need to contact a home inspector, title company, and attorney to close the sale. In addition, if you’re moving to a new and unfamiliar state or city, your agent should be ready to refer you to trusted professionals.

    Q5: “How much will you get paid?”

    It is essential to know how your agent gets paid for their services and how much. Commissions for NYC agents usually range between 5-6% of the sales price.

    Home sellers in NYC always shoulder the cost of real estate commissions, including the fees for the buyer’s agent. But even though you’re the buyer in a home purchase, it’s always a good idea to understand your agent’s incentive for assisting you with a transaction.

    Q6: “Are you a full-time or part-time agent?”

    Working with a full-time agent is usually the best course of action. It all boils down to the amount of time and attention they can commit to you. In addition, you’ll benefit from carefully crafted strategies based on your real estate needs with a full-time agent.

    That’s not to say that working with a part-time agent is not a good move. On the contrary, several part-timers in the industry are just as capable and attentive. However, it’s wiser to hire a full-time agent if you need a professional to reach out to 24/7.

    Q7: “How long do you usually work with buyers or sellers?”

    How an agent responds to this question will give you how long it takes to produce results. Although other factors can affect your buying or selling timeline, the agent you hire can be the deciding factor in completing a transaction on time.

    Be wary of agents who have a frequent history of working on a deal for much longer than the average time in New York City. On the other hand, a proactive and strategic-minded agent wastes no time achieving your real estate goals.

    Q8: “How does your list-price-to-sales-price ratio compare with other agents?”

    Always keep in mind that market conditions greatly influence list-to-sale price ratios. However, an agent’s track record in this area may indicate their skills and abilities.

    There are two ways to approach this question. If you’re looking for a buyer’s agent, they should ideally have a track record of securing a sales price that’s below the listing price. If you’re aiming to buy in a red hot seller’s market, though, you’d need to adjust your requirements – in this situation; sometimes you need to be prepared to pay more than the list price. If you’re the seller, you’ll want an agent who is adept at negotiating a sales price that’s higher than the listing price.

Book a consultation with Manhattan Licensed Real Estate Salesperson, Angel Recalde

I would be more than happy to be your expert real estate guide. As an experienced and bilingual agent working with Recalde Real Estate and partnering with Nest Seekers International, I am committed to making your real estate journey a hassle-free and pleasurable experience.

Rest assured, I possess the skills and knowledge necessary to help you reach your real estate goals.

Get in touch today at 917.239.9987 or send an email to AngelR(at)nestseekers(dotted)com.