You can find almost any property online, so why do you need a buyer’s agent? What value does a buyer’s agent bring besides offering a free service?
We’ll answer the question of what does a real estate agent do for a buyer in NYC comprehensively in this article.
Find Properties You Actually Want to See
Sure you can search online these days on a wide variety of property websites, set up search alerts and even draw custom boundaries in your search criteria. So why bother having a buyer’s agent in NYC?
The truth is, many New Yorkers are simply too busy to dig through pages upon pages of listings by themselves. Most New Yorkers are busy by default, and can’t spend loads of time doing this during prime working hours or the weekend when they just want to relax.
So when you ask what does a real estate agent do for a buyer in NYC, you should really consider the convenience of having a personal real estate search concierge who knows exactly what you want, and who is actively searching for listings that perfectly match your criteria.
Time Is Money
The time savings of having a buyer’s agent is often misunderstood. Consider this. Public property listings are either marked as active, in-contract, sold or off-market.
However, every active listing is not necessarily still available. That’s because an active listing could already have an accepted offer, or it may even have a contract out that’s close to being signed.
And because the Real Estate Board of New York is relatively lax in enforcing status updates in the REBNY RLS, sometimes a listing could be in-contract for days yet still be marked as active because the listing agent forgot to update the listing. As a result, do you really want to contact each listing’s agent to see if it’s still available?
Each time you reach out, you’re bound to be solicited and added to various newsletters and mailing lists. Worse still, many times the agent you contact on many popular property search websites isn’t even the listing agent, but rather a random agent who has paid to advertise on the website.
The key is to find a real estate agent who listens, who you are comfortable with, who is trustworthy and who is open to giving you a discreet commission rebate at close. Remember, nothing is more important than finding and closing on a home. Any closing gift or closing credit your buyer’s agent can give you is simply the cherry on top.
That’s why it’s important to work with a traditional, reputable buyer’s broker who has also agreed to discreetly provide you with a split of the buy side commission at close.
Fortunately, all of Hauseit’s partner brokers are highly experienced, reputable local brokers who have agreed to discreetly provide you with a rebate of the buy side commission at close. Sign up for a Hauseit Buyer Rebate and save money without risking your deal!
Set up Home Viewings and Property Tours
Many first time home buyers underestimate the amount of time it takes to schedule and coordinate multiple property showings for even a single day tour.
You’ll have to find properties that are located in proximity to each other, then you’ll have to haggle with the listing agent for each property to find a mutually acceptable time. Then you’ll have to arrange the showings in a schedule that makes sense, while leaving enough time for travel and any potential delays. And if the listing agent happens to be late, you’ll have to scramble to find them.
Wouldn’t it be easier if someone could handle all of this for you? In fact, many New Yorkers have come to this exact conclusion when asking what does a real estate agent do for a buyer in NYC. New Yorkers love being able to show up on a Sunday afternoon and be led around on a tour the rest of the day by their buyer’s agent. This means no stress, no Google Maps and no frantic calls to listing agents for access.
Advise You on the Home Buying Process
Remember that buying a home in NYC is quite a bit more complex than buying a liquid asset such as a stock. Moreover, NYC is a unique real estate market in that there are condos, co-ops, condops, townhouses and multi-family properties vs only single family houses in other parts of the country. A good buyer’s broker will be familiar with all types of apartments in NYC and be able to advise you throughout the home buying process.
Even though real estate attorneys play an active role after an offer has been accepted, a good buyer’s agent can save you from many common pitfalls and traps throughout the process.
Verify Square Footage
For example, a seasoned buyer’s agent can verify the square footage for a condo or other real property listing before you’ve even submitted an offer. If a listing agent has omitted the square footage for a condo listing or has grossly inflated it, an experienced buyer agent can check the NYC Department of Finance property tax records to see what the city says square footage is.
A savvy buyer’s agent can even ask for the original condo or coop offering plan in advance of submitting an offer to see what it says about square footage.
Furthermore, a good buyer agent will know what questions to ask when viewing an apartment to buy in NYC. They’ll truly understand the implications of upcoming Local Law 11 work that needs to be done, and they’ll know to ask the maintenance charge history for the past five years. The value of having someone by your side who has seen it all cannot be understated when completing a transaction as significant as a home purchase.
Make Sure You Don’t Overpay
One of the key jobs of a buyer’s agent is to make sure you don’t overpay for a property. When asking what does a real estate agent do for a buyer in NYC, this is probably the single most important task an agent can have.
A good buyer’s agent will have a general sense for what similar properties are trading for in the city, neighborhood and building. Your buyer’s agent should be able to easily pull up comparable properties (“comps”) for your target property and provide you with a comparative market analysis (CMA) if necessary. Often times in co op or condo buildings with many sale comps and active listings on the market, it’ll be relatively easy for your buyer’s agent to determine where you should place your offer.
Are Monthlies High or Low?
Your agent will be able to explain to you the difference between common charges vs maintenance fees and whether the monthlies for your target building are relatively low or high vs comps. Furthermore, your agent will ask whether there are any upcoming special assessments, and if so, whether they are truly one-off or seem to be recurring.
If the target building is a self-managed condo or co op, your buyer’s agent will help factor that in when analyzing whether the building’s monthlies are high or low relative to comps.
Pricing analysis can become quite complex and detailed depending on the situation. We recommend checking out our forum for Comparative Market Analysis examples so you will have a sense of the potential value add a buyer’s agent can bring to the table.
Chaperone the Contract to Closing Process
A good buy side agent will push and guide all parties from the offer acceptance stage through closing. A seasoned real estate broker will know how long things should take and will push and prod when necessary to get various parties moving along.
For example, a good buyer’s agent will realize when there’s a hold up in your attorney receiving the offering plan and other due diligence materials and will chase accordingly. Or if your attorney has received a draft of the purchase contract and has had time to review due diligence materials for over a week but you still haven’t scheduled a time to review and sign the contract, then your buyer’s agent will dutifully push both you and your attorney to do so.
Inspections to Interviews
Furthermore, your buyer’s agent will schedule a home inspection for you, especially if you are buying free standing property such as single family houses or multi-family townhouses.
If you’re buying a coop in NYC, your buyer’s agent will guide you through the coop board package and prepare you for the coop board interview.
Your buyer’s agent will be the first to notify you once you’ve received coop board approval, or if you’re buying a condo your buyer’s agent will notify you once the condo board has waived its right of first refusal. Your buyer’s agent will also schedule and attend the final walk through inspection with you before closing.
Lastly and perhaps most importantly, your buyer’s agent will discreetly hand you a check for $20,000 or more on the average NYC home at closing, if you’ve signed up for a Hauseit Buyer Rebate. So not only did you get all of the above advice and service for free, but your buyer’s agent paid you!
Disclosure: Hauseit and its affiliates do not provide tax, legal, financial or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal, financial or accounting advice. You should consult your own tax, legal, financial and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction. The services marketed on Hauseit.com are provided by licensed real estate brokers and other third party professional service providers. Hauseit LLC is not a licensed real estate broker nor a member of any multiple listing service (MLS).