Do I need a buyers agent when purchasing in NYC?

Having a Great Buyer’s Agent Is Better Than StreetEasy

Going it alone? Think StreetEasy is all you need? Let me tell you why you are at a disadvantage by not working with a buyer’s agent in your home search.

Firstly, have you seen the inventory lately? There are 46 two-bedrooms on the market in Tribeca alone between $2 and $3M. Do you have time to visit all 46? A good buyer’s agent who specializes in a specific neighborhood will be able to look at those 46 listings and tell you which 8 are the best apartments. 

A buyer’s agent’s job is to help you find what you want by being 10 steps ahead of you.

What we have found is that most buyers start their search asking for X,Y and Z and end up buying Z,Q and R. Searching for a home is a process. Having an expert on your side who knows what is out there to guide you and help point you in the right direction is more than just helpful — it can be the difference between getting that gem of an apartment or missing out on one. 

For those buyers who are looking for something less common, like a 25′ townhouse on Jane Street, having a seasoned buyer’s agent on your side is also a must. Many times, the really great trophy homes trade off-market or, at least, we find out about them before they get listed on the open market. Having someone on your side to go beyond what you see listed on StreetEasy is smart practice. 

If you deal directly with the listing agent and are unrepresented, it is important to remember they have a fiduciary responsibility solely to the seller. They only have an obligation to represent the seller’s best interest, not yours. This is true regardless of how nice they are. This is not something that should be discounted. 

Also, while the duty of the listing agent to be honest goes without saying, they also may not be disclosing all of the facts that will help you negotiate the best deal. For example, that corner two-bedroom facing Crosby Street? The same unit is coming on the market three floors higher with a renovated kitchen next month. To borrow an expression from the finance world, having a broker with “juice” is always a good idea. 

Remember, a good buyer’s broker is looking to build a relationship. It doesn’t matter if you buy next month or in two years; a good broker will want to make you happy and work hard for you without pressure. 

Having access to the data that StreetEasy provides does not make one an expert on the complicated and often opaque NYC market.

Knowing that the apartment that just closed on the 5th floor was a distressed seller who was in the middle of getting a divorce or if you are a first-time buyer, having a veteran broker educate you on the buying process, from mortgages to bidding wars, is priceless. 

Speaking of bidding wars, how many have you been through? We have seen at least 50 and will give you the benefit of everything we have learned throughout those deals. Sometimes, it seems like more of an issue of a particular type of buyer who has purchased before, believing that they know the market and are able to negotiate for themselves a better deal. Rarely is this a fact. 

Finally, it’s good to have a resale broker by your side to tell you what kind of properties are easier to resell than the others, which will play a role in what you decide to buy.

Want to know more? Email us at columbiavitoloteam@compass.com.