By Bohemia Agent Emily Ackerman
So many articles out there are focused on how to find a good broker to assist you with your real estate needs. You want someone who listens to you, responds quickly, and does what they say they are going to do.
But what makes a client a good client? Obviously, someone who is financial stable with good credit is an ideal client for both rentals and sales. However, you can have the best credit and all the money in the world and we still won’t be able to assist you in getting what you want if you don’t understand the market you are in and what it takes to secure your dream home. In the same way that the city is full of horror stories about terrible real estate brokers, we also have tales of terror about nightmare clients! So don’t be that person by following these 3 simple rules.
1. Be Prepared. As an agent, I spend a lot of time coaching my clients on what they need to do to be prepared for their home search. Those that take my advice are much better positioned to get what they want!
· For Rentals: You need to submit an application as fast as you can in order to secure your first choice apartment. This means you have to have your supporting financial paperwork (and it’s a lot!) at your fingertips. Before an appointment, I advise my clients what paperwork they will need, and how fast they will need it. Many a client has lost out on their first, second, or third choice apartment because they took too long to get their paperwork in order.
· For Sales: Sales can move at lightning speed, especially when the market is hot, which it typically is in NYC! You must keep your pre-approval letter up to date (some selling brokers will not even take an appointment with you if you do not have a pre-approval letter!) and keep that financial statement current. If you see the home of your dreams, you need to throw an offer in with both of those documents immediately, or you will lose out to more prepared competitors. You may also need to prove your income and financial standing at a moments notice before a seller will accept your offer, so be sure to have that paperwork ready to go!
And be aware: If I have a client that repeatedly ignores my request for the sales paperwork that they must have in order to make a serious offer, I will often let them go as a client or put them lower on my priority list. I work very hard for my clients, and when they ignore my advice they are signaling to me that they are not serious about their purchase. This means they will be unlikely to complete a board application on schedule or secure financing. A successful sales agent with a serious client list shouldn’t waste a lot of time on a client like that when we have active buyers or sellers that need our attention.
2. Be Realistic. If your agent is good, they will know the market you are looking in, and they will be able to advise you on what you can realistically expect in terms of amenities and pricing. A client may have friends that live in Hamilton Heights and have a huge 1BR rental for $1350, but that doesn’t mean that apartment exists on the current market at today’s prices. Do you want a 1000 Square Foot 1 Bedroom with a dishwasher and a backyard for $1600? Don’t we all. It probably doesn’t exist in Upper Manhattan.
When a good, experienced agent advises you, we should be up to date about market trends and pricing. Most agents have the same goal as our clients—to find them a home! I never tried to push someone out of their price range, but I did try to manage their expectations and educate them about the market. In order to get what you want in a market where the vacancy rate continuously hovers around 1%, you’ll probably need to be flexible.
3. Be Nice! Moving is extremely stressful. We totally get it. Please understand that we are often doing our best to get you answers in a timely fashion, but that there are many things that are out of our control. The key is good communication. A good agent will communicate with you clearly and let you know information as soon as we get it. When a landlord takes a week to approve you rather than the customary 24-48 hours, we are just as frustrated as you are. When a renovation drags on and pushes back a move in date, we get anxious too. When a Co-Op board denies you we are also upset. Believe it or not, we are as interested in completing a successful transaction as you are! Most of us really care about our job, and we want our clients to be happy and get what they want. But, we are often the bearers of bad news. If a deal falls apart, we are often the punching bags for clients who are stressed out because they cannot address the landlord or the Co-Op board or the Mortgage company or whomever else directly. It’s human nature to want to lash out at someone when you are disappointed. But when you yell at a waiter because the kitchen is backed up, you don’t help yourself or make things better. It’s often the same case with us. We will just work extra hard for clients who are nice. That’s human nature too.