Ok, rule #1: Don’t be a dick. Seriously! Most of the following do’s and don’ts can be summed up by asking yourself: Am I being a dick? If the answer is yes, then don’t do it! But since it’s clear from my experience that I need to spell out the specifics of dickdome, here we go.
Don't work with multiple agents. Pick the one you like and trust the most. There’s no point in duplicating efforts. If you want 100% commitment, you have to give 100% commitment.
Do respond. In this day and age, silence is unacceptable. If an agent does not get back to you within one hour during normal business hours then they either do this part-time or just don’t give a shit. (I give a shit. Email or text me to see how fast I respond.) And the same goes for you. I don’t expect an immediate response, but I do expect a response that same day. Especially if you’re in the middle of submitting an offer be more available so that negotiations don’t stall. Always keep the momentum going.
Don't play cat and mouse with me. If you want the best value, I need to know your finances so that I can crack the code to unearth special opportunities tailored just for you. Then, I can structure the deal to your advantage if I know your bottom line and your top budget.
Do financially qualify your buyers. If an agent does not pry into your financials, then she’s probably green. But more importantly, she’s not doing her job. She’ll never be able to uncover the best bargain without having a buyer's financial snapshot.
Don't push clients over their budget. This is the biggest mistake many brokers make; it’s a sure-fire way to turn off your buyer. If the purchase price is over budget but the maintenance is crazy low so that the total monthly nut is right on track with one’s monthly budget, then be sure to point that out. The same idea applies to an apartment with high maintenance if the purchase price is a steal of a deal. Run the monthly numbers. It could be a matter of 6 vs one-half dozen. (Reference my piece on land leases for this aluminizing mathematical perspective.).
Do find clients the best deal even if that means a lower commission. Be ethical. (Agents can be dicks too.) I’m never in it for the business that. day. I’m in it for the relationship. Happy clients lead to referrals. Referrals = a long-term career.
Do provide options outside your buyer’s parameters but only change one variable at a time. You can push the envelope outside their ideal location. You can even expose a better deal if they concede on certain amenities. But, don’t show the property outside their location if it doesn’t check all of their other boxes. Your buyer will consider one change especially if that change opens up a new exciting option. I always like to specifically point out if I’m expanding a parameter: “I know this doesn’t have a doorman, but it’s in a beautiful townhouse in exactly the location you want but didn’t think you could afford. Plus, it has all the character and charm you were hoping for including a wood-burning fireplace!”.
Don't be pushed into making an offer. If an agent is educating her buyer along the way, there shouldn’t be any pushback when it comes time to make an offer; one should always feel ready and comfortable when it’s time to pull the trigger.
Do make your buyer aware that offers are non-binding until contracts are fully executed. Making an offer is like a placeholder you should utilize especially if you’re concerned about losing the apartment to another bidder. There’s no harm or obligation in making an offer. I can’t guarantee that you’ll get the apartment, but I can guarantee that you won’t if you don’t make an offer.
Don't make offers just to see how the seller will respond if you’re not serious. This is not only a waste of time for everyone but it’s discrediting. (Put this in the “I’m being a dick" category.)
Do make offers on more than more property if it’s strategic. Disclose in your offer that you’re bidding on multiple properties so that in return, you’ll be able to establish which one is going to give you the best counter offer. Then be prepared to move forward quickly on whichever one comes back favorably. Remember, you are vulnerable to other bidders swiping your property until you sign that contract.
Don't get emotional. Agents shouldn’t let emotions run high in front of their clients, ever. And for your buyers: always be willing to walk away. Don’t fall in love. Easier said than done, I know.
Do be polite and nice to the other agents. (at least to their face!) This will work in your favor when it comes time to negotiate. I turn on the charm at the very first moment when I request an appointment to view the apartment. You’d be surprised how accommodating brokers are when you’re simply nice. (Don’t be a dick! It’s a good mantra, I’m telling you.)
Don't harass me. Don’t milk me for every piece of free advice, every opinion on renovation choices to maximize resale, and/or consult with me over every comparable on the market for 9 months and then go and work with another broker, you dick. Don’t dangle the carrot of giving me so much business and then never use me. Better yet? Don’t run me ragged for 2 years and then get your real estate license only to have used me as your personal mentor and then cut me out completely. (All these scenarios have happened to me and I hope that these clients all lose their orgasms.)
Do be honest! If you’re engaging with 5 other brokers, then tell me! If I ask you for your financial information, then tell me! Don't work with me for months and then close with someone else.
Don't ask my opinion on pricing and then list with someone else. Don't text a mile of questions and expect an answer immediately before you’ve committed to me. Don't use me for my wealth of knowledge and then feel so empowered that you decide to work with some asshole at Douglas Elliman. (Sorry, not sorry, Douglas Elliman.)
You realize that agents get paid solely on commission and that we only get paid at the closing table, right? We are paying to go to work every day, take you around, answer your emails and take your phone calls. If you engage a broker to work, decide to be loyal or cut the chord!
Do work with people you like. This should be fun! I know it is for me. I even love dicks.