It’s So Hard to be a Real Estate Agent

The New York Times reports today on how real estate agents are having to go that extra mile to earn their 6% commission. Joan Goldberg, a Brooklyn Heights based broker at Brown Harris Stevens, is featured in the article. Goldberg's current nabe properties include 135 Joralemon and 30 Orange Street (where's she's pictured placing new garbage bins, below): 

30cov-2-190.jpgNew York Times: Brokers Facing Stiffer Competition: “People are often overwhelmed by the prospect of selling, and it’s my job to get them to see that their home will show better and sell for more if we can just take away some of the layers and layers of personal items and grime they’ve accumulated,” Ms. Goldberg said.

For the most part, she does the hiring and scheduling, and she said that she tries to get each client as fair and economical a deal as possible. Sometimes, she winds up paying for some work herself or simply doing it herself.

“I like to plant flower boxes, and I change them weekly and water them if the owner forgets to,” she said. “I often go to the flower district early in the mornings or out to the big nurseries on Long Island to get just the right thing to put in a pot on a brownstone stoop. But, then, I’m a bit of a perfectionist.”

Photo: New York Times

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  • cjp

    Whether real estate in New York City’s more desirable neighborhoods such as Brooklyn Heights tanks is a matter of speculation; hearing companies such as Bear Stearns go bust doesn’t inspire confidence in the ability of the New York City real estate to avoid the national trend.

    Having said that though the influx of European buyers buoyed by an extremely favorable exchange rate for them has created an entirely new breed of owner/investor. New York City for the immediate future appears to be a hugely desirable place to live an relocate. Whether the kinds of gains we’ve seen will continue remains to be seen. I suspect your number is a dire drastic although based on what is happening in other markets you may be on to something.

    Ironically part of what has helped New York City real estate avoid the fate of what has happened in such incredibly overheated markets as Phoenix and Las Vegas is that much feared coop board. Coops have maintained a 15 to 20% deposit and that has meant people with questionable finances haven’t made it into buildings. Maybe you can fool the bank through inflated appraisals and relatives loaning you money to qualify for a mortgage but you can’t get past the coop board for better or for worse.

    But I digress. The point of this post was to comment on how “tough” it is for a broker to earn his/her 6% commission. A pox on them I say. Go with an independent broker who runs an ad in the Times and you’ll see your commission fall to 3% (so often the independent men/women co-broke with another well known name.) Foxtons, you’ll recall, made a failed name for itself promoting 2% commissions arguing that was the norm (or perhaps 3%) in their native Britain. I think 3% to sell a place is fair to a point, but on a sale of $500,000 that still works out to $15,000 for staging an open house and helping with the paperwork. That’s a lot of money to me.

    Anyway brokers are a plague in the process and hopefully faster flowing information through the internet will lead to lower commssions and more price transparency. The broker’s goal, mind you not matter how ingratiating they are to the potential buyer, is to represent the owner and get the most for the seller.

  • jane

    I am thinking of putting my coop on the market. Is there any negotiation as to commission with Real Estate Brokers in Brooklyn Heights? 6% is a whopping fee considering the local prices. I know they are quite flexible in other areas. Thanks. Jane