Should we be using a Manhattan broker in Brooklyn?
April 23, 2015 9:14 AM   Subscribe

We've been looking to purchase apartments with a broker based in Washington Heights, starting in upper Manhattan, but have now shifted to southern Brooklyn. In the neighborhood that we're focusing on now one brokerage seems to list 75% of the apartments for sale. Are we putting ourselves at a disadvantage because we're 1 - not using a broker from the area (though our broker is very nice and has been very helpful 2 - not just going direct to the local brokerage and asking them to represent us (even if they're the listing agents on a property)?

Caveat, we've been outbid the few times that we've bid on spots in the new neighborhood, and wondering if having the 'outside' broker is putting us at a disadvantage. I know the NYC market is insane now, but really just trying to set ourselves up to get the apartments that we really want to purchase.
posted by jourman2 to Home & Garden (2 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
What I learned when shopping for an apartment is that everyone in Brooklyn uses Brooklyn MLS. So if you use that, you'll have access to all the public stuff buyers' brokers have access to. We ended up not needing one, in fact; we just contacted the seller's agent (info was on MLS) directly.

However, the point of a neighborhood buyer's agent is that they have access to the stuff that isn't public yet. If you know what neighborhood you want to live in, definitely talk to an agent local to that neighborhood. Talk to a bunch of them; it can't possible hurt. Just don't sign an exclusivity agreement with a buyer's agent. They try to get you to sign them and I've not seen a single argument for doing that.

Anyway, good luck and feel free to MeMail me if you have any questions as we just went through this last year.
posted by griphus at 9:29 AM on April 23, 2015 [2 favorites]

When we were shopping I found that our only real workable tool was Street Easy. I searched for apartments, I made lists of open houses, I went and checked them out. I never had a broker who did more than call me about his own listings. And I never found the broker helpful about pricing -- they have a deeply vested interest in getting you to bid up. Market inflation is good for brokers in general, and they get a percent of the sale so on each sale they have a financial interest in upping the transaction cost.

My recommendation is to get on street easy yourself and start finding listings you're interested in and contacting the brokers. A paid account (there or on Property Shark) will let you do your own comps, meaning you can look at recent closings in the area and see what they went for. That's going to be way more useful than broker advice.
posted by amandabee at 11:04 AM on April 23, 2015

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