How to Pick a Real Estate Broker in NYC

How do you pick a real estate broker to sell your place?

The competition amongst real estate brokers in this town is savage. Just savage. Between the identical “Happy Passover emails” to photoshoots of cross armed broker armies on NYC rooftops, it’s increasingly tough for people to say “I want to work with this person to sell a place.” Just too many cooks out there. Which do you choose?

Let me give you a little piece of advice: Figure out which real estate broker tells the best stories. Then pick that person.

Anywhere from 5-10 years ago, you’d pick the guy/gal who covered the “area” where your home is located. Live in the Upper West Side? So does Charles! No more. Gone. Done. The democratization of information is literally obliterating this angle of “This is why you chose me” and it will rightfully continue to. I can drive by an apartment building in Chelsea and look up what the average price per square foot is, how much the guy underneath the apartment I’m interested in sold his place for a year ago, and whether the building has issues, etc., by the time my super green juice is ready at Juicery (leave your judgments at the door). The days of familiarity with the neighborhood are quickly coming to a close. It’s like me telling you that you should pick me as your lawyer because I have an office in the same area as where you’re looking to buy. Who cares? Can I get a Contract out in an hour? Can my time make sure you don’t miss deadlines? Those are the questions you should be asking.

Then there are brokers who tell you they’ve done $600 Billion dollars in sales last year. Fantastic for them and the corresponding luxury handbag market, but unclear why this helps you in any way. The bios don’t help. “Gerry is a life long New Yorker who lives and breathes real estate and loves cats and the Opera. You can find him at food trucks enjoying…” Awesome, Gerry, but I really need to get my place sold, so….

Pick the broker that tells the best story for you because story telling is forever. The Gospels were not written in real time. There was no coverage of the burning bush in the New York times. Stories were told and handed down and then someone eventually got a pen. Stories sell cars. Stories sell diamonds. Stories make people say yes to marriage. Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat are all based on you telling a “story” and viewing the “story” others want to tell. That’s why they’re so compelling. Storytelling is the one thing that’s completely disruption proof. If a buyer can get all the info they need from StreetEasy, Brownstoner, and a few local sites, they don’t need a broker who provides them “information” about a place. They need a broker that can show a buyer that missing out on this deal would be a massive mistake, because you only have one life to live and SoulCycle is downstairs and isn’t this the time you finally do you, etc. You need a broker that can paint a picture. Your Kitchen has an oven that can cook two turkeys at the same time during Thanksgiving. Your kitchen is great for hosting a big family that lives far away. “I have a big family. I want people over for Thanksgiving. I’d love to host.” Great brokers can do this. I know. I work with many of them. They can sell your house by showing the buyer this is what they wanted all along. “This IS your home. You just didn’t know it until now.” This is the room your kids are going to grow up in. The wall where you’ll measure Alison’s height . You get it. Stories are going to be 10x more important than they ever were. They’re going to be the only thing that differentiates Apt 15A from Apt 14A. Work with someone who gets that.