How to Choose the BEST Real Estate Agent in NYC

How to Choose the BEST Real Estate Agent in NYC

  • Claudine O'Rourke
  • 05/17/24

Just Choose Me.  The End.










You really thought that was my article, didn’t you?  It should be.  You should definitely go the easy route, save yourself the trouble and just choose me.  But some people like blueprints.  If you’re one of those people, by all means, read on.


First, get comfy because we’re about to do some serious pondering on personality – yours and your broker’s.  Because at the end of the day, that’s what it comes down to: how I make you feel.  Ask yourself: what do I need in order to feel comfortable with potentially the biggest financial decision I’ve made in my life ?  My happiest clients are the ones who feel understood.  Understanding yourself will allow you to communicate what you need from me.  And then I can take control of the process, involving you as little or as much as you want, while making your experience stress-free.  OHMmmmmmmmm…

Meditate for a moment.  Think about what you want and what you need.  Ask yourself the following questions for inspiration:


  • Is price the most important thing to me above everything else?  Of course everyone wants the highest and best price possible when they go to sell.  And of course every buyer wants a deal.  But is this the most important thing to you?  (No judgement if it is.  I follow the money, honey.)  If it’s not though, I want you to think deeply about what is most important to you and why.


  • Involvement. How much do I want to be involved? Do I want my agent to take most of this process off my plate or am I a control freak and want to be a part of every step and collaborate ideas?  If the answer is somewhere in between, what do I need to know / want to be a part of and what do I want to be shielded from and have taken off my plate?  Trust me, real estate is wacky;  you should be shielded from a lot. 


I would argue that if you’re a seller, please let the agent do their job.  You’ve hired them for a reason.  Not to say that you shouldn’t be updated frequently on how showings are going or how the market it responding.  You should absolutely be in constant communication.  And you should feel free to make suggestions.  But micro managing their marketing efforts and requesting details of their day-to-day is a misuse of their resources and will ultimately take away from the task at hand - selling your apartment!


As a buyer, I’m certain you’ll want to be an integral part of the process.  But think about what you would like your agent to take off your plate.  Searching? Previewing apartments? Digging up off-market deals?  Organizing showings and getting specific questions answered is a given, so please don’t reach out to the listing broker and think you’re doing us any favors.  You would actually be complicating the process and duplicating our efforts.  It's important that the buyer’s agent establish a powerful relationship with the listing broker from the start.  Interrupting this flow could hinder negotiations down the road, and that’s bad for you.  (See my article on Negotiating for a deeper perspective.) If you feel compelled to step in because you’re not getting what you want, perhaps you’re working with the wrong buyer’s broker.  Remember, you always have the right to choose who you’re working with at any point in the process.  


Have I been fired as a buyer’s broker before? Yup.  Have I refused to work with some buyers when they won’t listen to my advise and trust me?  Yup.  When it’s not a good fit, it’s better to cut your losses and move on.  As uncomfortable, and perhaps embarrassing, as it is, it’s for the best.


When it comes time for the purchase application process, do I want to take the reins on gathering, compiling and completing the never ending forms and reference letters?  Or, would it be amazing if my agent could upload everything in the cloud so that I could send her all the requirements piecemeal?  What if she could organize and compile everything appropriately and diligently remind me if items are missing?  Heck, maybe I could give her permission to even sign those pesky forms like window guard riders and move-in acknowledgements just so I don’t have to be bothered.  (Insert music played in Heaven here.)


  • Resources.  Do I want my broker to have a trusted network of resources at their fingertips for ease such as mortgage lenders, movers, contractors and real estate attorneys?  Or, would I rather do my own research?  




  • Personality.  Is having an intimate and friendly relationship with my agent important to me or would I rather treat this like the nurse who gives me a prostate exam? 

(Do. Not. Make. Eye. Contact.  Just do your job and let me know when you’re finished.)

    • What type of personality do I want them to have to best show my apartment? Do I want them bubbly and friendly?  


  • Presentation. How do I want my agent to present?  Do they need to be attractive?  Is being voluptuous an advantage? 

(Asking for a friend.)

  • Brains.  What kind of smarts does my broker need to possess? On the spectrum of book smart to street smart, where do I want them to land? 

 (There’s a vast range between PhD and Don’t mess with me because I will F— you up.)

  • Experience.  How experienced should they be?  Is more years in the business better? 

(Probably, as long as they are not an old curmudgeon because NYC real estate has beaten them down.)

  • Tech Savvy.  How tech savvy do they need to be?  Do they need to have an iPhone? 

(Yes.  Yes, they do.)

  • Response Time.  How responsive do I need them to be?  After all, this is only one the biggest assets in my life.  

(I respond immediately. Every day. Even in different time zones.  My Hawaiian vacation just means that I work surrounded by palm trees.)

  • Organization.  How organized should they be?  Most agents I know are a hot mess.

(I have a digital folder and a spreadsheet for everything.  Just sayin.)

  • Passion.  Do I want someone who clearly loves their job?  

(Oh, hi there!)


And remember, it’s just as important to choose a skilled buyer’s broker to represent you and your purchase as it is a listing broker to represent and market the sale of your property.  And you should vet them!  Start by asking the questions above.  Never feel obligated to choose the agent who just so happened to be at the open house you attended.  If you feel like you’re being pressured, just be up front and explain that you are still in the processes of vetting and choosing an exclusive buyer’s agent to represent you.  This will give you the opportunity to either vet them further without feeling pressure or get them to back off.  


Got a referral from someone that claimed a particular agent was great?  Great!  But still vet them. You want to make sure that this agent or broker is the right fit for you too.  (The difference between an agent and a broker is simply the type of sales person license they hold.  I use the term interchangeably.  A broker has a higher caliber license type.)  And just because working with a buyer’s broker is a free service, you still have the right to choose the best broker, or agent, for you at any point in the process.  This doesn’t mean suck someone’s knowledge dry and have them do a ton of dirty work just to fire them and hire someone else who will get the commission.  That’s just being a jerk.  Don’t forget my #1 rule in my article Do's and Don'ts for Agents, Buyers, and Sellers.



  • Connection.  Because it’s more important than anything, I strongly recommend you have a connection to your broker.  This doesn’t mean that you have to be friends.  But having a connection is not just emotional, it’s rational.  If you connect with someone, it’s likely because you share some core values.  Take a moment to think about that.  And in doing so, you may discover more about yourself and what you actually want in the process. 


“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” ~Maya Angelou


And if my suggestions above resinate with you, then look no further.  This bubbly, protective-mother of 3 boys, hyper-organized, obsessively responsive, seasoned & passionate broker who would rather be caught dead then not in a pair of heals, is your gal. 


Just Choose Me.  

The End.

Work With Claudine

Want a no B--S-- agent who knows her stuff and is nice?? Yah, nice. I love my job and I calculate debt to income ratios in my sleep! Nobody knows a co-op better than me. If you want someone shrewd who uses her kindness as a weapon, then I’m your girl.

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