Your search results

NYC Buyer Agent Tips

Posted by nycre on October 23, 2017
| 0

Working as a buyer’s agent in NYC can be very a rewarding experience if you follow the tips below, keep a positive attitude and use common sense. Being self-reliant and showing a constant willingness to learn are pre-requisites for a successful career in NYC real estate.

Confirm that a listing is available before sending it to buyers

New York City’s real estate market is notoriously competitive for buyers due to limited inventory and intense buyer demand. As you search for listings to send to clients, it’s common to find listings which have an accepted offer within a week or two of being placed on the market. The last thing you want to do as a buyer’s agent is to give your client a false alarm by sending them a listing which turns out to be unavailable.

Therefore, a major source of your value-add to buyers comes from actively screening out listings which are no longer available. Eliminating unavailable listings will protect your buyer from becoming fatigued and prevent them from losing confidence and potentially pausing their search.

Before sending listings, it’s critical that you contact the listing agent(s) to confirm whether the units are still available. When asking the listing agents for an update, you should try to ask as many questions as possible and ‘get them talking.’ Do not be satisfied with generic answers such as “yes, available” or “no, not available.” Sourcing intel from listing agents for your buyer is a key source of value add which also helps differentiate you from lazy (and unsuccessful) buyer agents.

Call the listing agent and ask more detailed questions, such as:

  • Is there an accepted offer? If so, are you still showing for backup?

  • If the unit is still available, do you have any live offers on the table?

  • Our buyer may be interested in submitting an offer in the $850k area. Would your seller be interested in engaging us in this pricing context, or are we too far apart on price for it to be worth our time?

  • If the unit is available, when is your next open house?

You may be asking, if a listing is not ‘in contract’ in RLS or MLSLI doesn’t it automatically mean that it’s available? The answer is NO. Although agents are required to promptly report status updates, the reality is that there is no way for this to be enforced consistently.

When searching for listings and speaking with listing agents, the key is to think proactively and be one step ahead of your buyer. For example, if your buyer asks if a unit is available then chances are he/she wants to view it. You should therefore ask the listing agent for their showing availability at the same time you inquire as to the status of the listing.

Here is an example of a proactive and engaging status update you can send to your buyer:

“Hi Mark – yes, this unit is available and there are no live offers at the moment! However, the listing agents mentioned that there are a few second showings with interested buyers scheduled for tomorrow night. Would you like to stop by the open house tomorrow (Wed), from 5-7pm?

If so, what time works best for you?”

Here is an example of a wasteful answer:

“Hi Mark – yes, the listing is available.”

If your buyer asked whether a listing is available, you know that he/she will ask to see it once you confirm its availability. Why delay the purchase process by waiting for your buyer to ask to see it before checking on showing availability with the listing agent? This makes you appear lazy and ‘reactionary’ to buyers.

Choose a High Commission Split Plan

HomeDax offers commisson splits up to 100%. Choose a plan that works for you.

Confirm that a listing is available before sending it to buyers

New York City’s real estate market is notoriously competitive for buyers due to limited inventory and intense buyer demand. As you search for listings to send to clients, it’s common to find listings which have an accepted offer within a week or two of being placed on the market. The last thing you want to do as a buyer’s agent is to give your client a false alarm by sending them a listing which turns out to be unavailable.

Therefore, a major source of your value-add to buyers comes from actively screening out listings which are no longer available. Eliminating unavailable listings will protect your buyer from becoming fatigued and prevent them from losing confidence and potentially pausing their search.

Before sending listings, it’s critical that you contact the listing agent(s) to confirm whether the units are still available. When asking the listing agents for an update, you should try to ask as many questions as possible and ‘get them talking.’ Do not be satisfied with generic answers such as “yes, available” or “no, not available.” Sourcing intel from listing agents for your buyer is a key source of value add which also helps differentiate you from lazy (and unsuccessful) buyer agents.

Call the listing agent and ask more detailed questions, such as:

  • Is there an accepted offer? If so, are you still showing for backup?

  • If the unit is still available, do you have any live offers on the table?

  • Our buyer may be interested in submitting an offer in the $850k area. Would your seller be interested in engaging us in this pricing context, or are we too far apart on price for it to be worth our time?

  • If the unit is available, when is your next open house?

You may be asking, if a listing is not ‘in contract’ in RLS or MLSLI doesn’t it automatically mean that it’s available? The answer is NO. Although agents are required to promptly report status updates, the reality is that there is no way for this to be enforced consistently.

When searching for listings and speaking with listing agents, the key is to think proactively and be one step ahead of your buyer. For example, if your buyer asks if a unit is available then chances are he/she wants to view it. You should therefore ask the listing agent for their showing availability at the same time you inquire as to the status of the listing.

Here is an example of a proactive and engaging status update you can send to your buyer:

“Hi Mark – yes, this unit is available and there are no live offers at the moment! However, the listing agents mentioned that there are a few second showings with interested buyers scheduled for tomorrow night. Would you like to stop by the open house tomorrow (Wed), from 5-7pm?

If so, what time works best for you?”

Here is an example of a wasteful answer:

“Hi Mark – yes, the listing is available.”

If your buyer asked whether a listing is available, you know that he/she will ask to see it once you confirm its availability. Why delay the purchase process by waiting for your buyer to ask to see it before checking on showing availability with the listing agent? This makes you appear lazy and ‘reactionary’ to buyers.

Choose a High Commission Split Plan

HomeDax offers commisson splits up to 100%. Choose a plan that works for you.

Verify your buyer's qualifications before agreeing to a showing

Being a successful buyer’s agent in NYC is only possible if you learn to be smart with your time. Each private showing you attend with a buyer takes up a very precious resource: your time. Because many co-op buildings have specific rules for buyer finances and purchasing scenarios, it’s critical that you make sure your buyer qualifies for a unit before you commit to showing the apartment to them.

Taking a common-sense approach to protecting your time will make you a smarter, more successful buyer’s agent who ‘adds value’ to your clients. In many cases, the buyers themselves will fail to properly screen listings and accidentally ask to see listings which aren’t a fit.

Here are some examples of good questions to ask before you confirm showing appointments with your buyers so you can protect your time:

  • Does your buyer have a pet? If so, does the building have any breed, type or weight restrictions which may impact your client?

  • Is your buyer comfortable with the building’s minimum down payment requirement? Co-ops often have minimum down payment requirements of at least 20%.

  • Does your buyer satisfy the co-ops financial requirements for debt-to-income and post-closing liquidity?

  • Is your buyer only interested in elevator buildings? If so, have you confirmed that the building has an elevator?

  • Is your buyer uncomfortable looking at properties where there are already live offers on the table? If so, have you called the listing agents to inquire on the status of the listing?

  • Is your buyer receiving a gift from a family member? If so, does the building permit ‘gifting’?

  • Does your buyer have any other unusual situations, such as co-purchasing, parents buying for children, or a guarantor? If so, have you asked the listing agent whether the building permits these type of scenarios?

  • Is your buyer a student whose parents will be buying the apartment on his/her behalf? If so, does the building permit parents buying for children if the child is not gainfully employed?

  • Is your buyer looking for a building with a flexible sublet policy? Have you asked the listing agent what the sublet policy is?

Here are some examples of thoughtful ways to confirm appointments and discuss listings with your clients:

Example One:

“Hi Mark – the listing agents can show us the unit on Thursday at 7pm. Quick question, do you have any dogs? This particular building only permits cats.

Would you be so kind as to confirm?”

Example Two:

“Hi Mark – there is an open house on Sunday from 2-4pm. Just to make sure, are you okay with the sublet policy for this building? Sublets are permitted for 2 years during the life of ownership after you’ve resided in the building for 2 years.

Will this work for you?”

Example Three:

“Hi Mark – as a heads up, this listing has 3 offers however the seller has not accepted any yet. We definitely have time to see the unit and think about submitting an offer, however I want to make sure you are aware of the competition we face.

Shall we pencil in an appointment on Friday at 6pm?”

As you can see in the example client emails above, you should always try to provoke a response from your buyer by including a question or some other call to action in your emails.

Respond promptly to clients and keep leads active

Being responsive to buyers will maximize your conversion rate on deals and give you the highest chance of receiving positive reviews and repeat business in the future. Here are some tips of how you should stay in touch with your buyer clients:

Immediately respond to requests from your buyers

Did you just receive an appointment request from your buyer? Does one of your clients want to submit an offer? If you happen to be temporarily busy or unavailable, do not wait until you are free again to respond to your client.

Instead, you should immediately let your buyer know that you received their request and that you will work on it today.

Here is an example of how you can respond to a buyer:

“Hi Mark – thanks for your note below! I will review comps and send you my pricing thoughts on the listing by this evening.

How does that sound?”

Want to increase your conversion rate as a buyer agent in NYC? Read our NYC buyer agent tips and strategies for success as a real estate agent in NYC.

The answer above clearly sets timing expectations with your buyer. It also gives them confidence that you didn’t miss or otherwise forget about his or her request!

Do not allow more than 48 hours pass without contacting your buyers 

Failing to regularly stay in touch with your clients is the most common cause of a low buyer conversion rate. The reason for this is obvious: as a buyer’s agent, it’s quite possible that you aren’t the only agent speaking with a buyer. If you are not the most persistent in staying in touch with the buyer, the buyer may contact another buyer’s agent when the time comes to do a deal.

When working with buyers, do not allow more than 48 hours to go by without contacting them. Mixing things up by using calls, texts and emails will also increase the chances of your buyer responding. You should also get in the habit of consistently searching for and sending suitable listing ideas to buyers.

PRO TIP: When sending listing ideas, do not send more than 3-4 listing ideas at once. A common rookie mistake is sending every available listing idea to a buyer at the same time. Just think for a minute, why risk overwhelming your buyer with a dozen listing ideas when you can send 3 at a time and leverage that to build a long-term dialogue with your buyer?

Respond promptly to clients and keep leads active

Being responsive to buyers will maximize your conversion rate on deals and give you the highest chance of receiving positive reviews and repeat business in the future. Here are some tips of how you should stay in touch with your buyer clients:

Immediately respond to requests from your buyers

Did you just receive an appointment request from your buyer? Does one of your clients want to submit an offer? If you happen to be temporarily busy or unavailable, do not wait until you are free again to respond to your client.

Instead, you should immediately let your buyer know that you received their request and that you will work on it today.

Want to increase your conversion rate as a buyer agent in NYC? Read our NYC buyer agent tips and strategies for success as a real estate agent in NYC.

Here is an example of how you can respond to a buyer:

“Hi Mark – thanks for your note below! I will review comps and send you my pricing thoughts on the listing by this evening.

How does that sound?”

The answer above clearly sets timing expectations with your buyer. It also gives them confidence that you didn’t miss or otherwise forget about his or her request!

Do not allow more than 48 hours pass without contacting your buyers 

Failing to regularly stay in touch with your clients is the most common cause of a low buyer conversion rate. The reason for this is obvious: as a buyer’s agent, it’s quite possible that you aren’t the only agent speaking with a buyer. If you are not the most persistent in staying in touch with the buyer, the buyer may contact another buyer’s agent when the time comes to do a deal.

When working with buyers, do not allow more than 48 hours to go by without contacting them. Mixing things up by using calls, texts and emails will also increase the chances of your buyer responding. You should also get in the habit of consistently searching for and sending suitable listing ideas to buyers.

PRO TIP: When sending listing ideas, do not send more than 3-4 listing ideas at once. A common rookie mistake is sending every available listing idea to a buyer at the same time. Just think for a minute, why risk overwhelming your buyer with a dozen listing ideas when you can send 3 at a time and leverage that to build a long-term dialogue with your buyer?

Learn about your buyer and enable automatic search alerts

The first thing you should do when you land a new buyer client is learn as much about his/her search criteria as possible and set up Nestio saved search alerts. One easy way to start learning about your buyer is to think about how you met the client in the first place. Did you meet them at an open house? Did they inquire on a specific listing? If so, you automatically know what sort of listing they are looking for – neighborhood, price, building type, etc.

Here is an example of how you can leverage what you know about your buyer to ask more about his or her search criteria:

“Hi Mark – just curious, what did you think of Apt. 5F at 212 Broome Street?

Would you be open to looking at some co-ops in the area, or are you only interested in condos? If so, can you confirm your targeted price range?”

Once you’ve discovered your buyer’s search criteria, you should set-up automatic search alerts in Nestio. This will ensure that your buyer regularly receives automatic listing updates from you. Please note that using automated search alerts is not a replacement for hard work. As a buyer’s agent, you will be expected to consistently research listings and send your buyer the occasional manual listing idea.

Here is an example of how you can send a listing idea to your buyer:

“Hi Mark – would you be open to this new 2br/1.5ba unit with a private terrace? The apartment is gut renovated, and it has very low monthly maintenance of just $1,000 (35% of which is tax deductible).

There is an open house on Sunday from 11am-1pm. Can you attend?”

Learn about your buyer and enable automatic search alerts

The first thing you should do when you land a new buyer client is learn as much about his/her search criteria as possible and set up Nestio saved search alerts. One easy way to start learning about your buyer is to think about how you met the client in the first place. Did you meet them at an open house? Did they inquire on a specific listing? If so, you automatically know what sort of listing they are looking for – neighborhood, price, building type, etc.

Here is an example of how you can leverage what you know about your buyer to ask more about his or her search criteria:

“Hi Mark – just curious, what did you think of Apt. 5F at 212 Broome Street?

Would you be open to looking at some co-ops in the area, or are you only interested in condos? If so, can you confirm your targeted price range?”

Once you’ve discovered your buyer’s search criteria, you should set-up automatic search alerts in Nestio. This will ensure that your buyer regularly receives automatic listing updates from you. Please note that using automated search alerts is not a replacement for hard work. As a buyer’s agent, you will be expected to consistently research listings and send your buyer the occasional manual listing idea.

Here is an example of how you can send a listing idea to your buyer:

“Hi Mark – would you be open to this new 2br/1.5ba unit with a private terrace? The apartment is gut renovated, and it has very low monthly maintenance of just $1,000 (35% of which is tax deductible).

There is an open house on Sunday from 11am-1pm. Can you attend?”

Prepare buyer offer documentation in advance

It is your responsibility to work with your buyer to prepare their offer documents in advance so that they are prepared to submit an offer quickly when the right apartment hits the market. Waiting until a buyer finds an apartment to prepare offer docs will result in your buyer losing out to more prepared buyers who are working with experienced buyer’s agents.

From the moment you begin working with a buyer, you should be thinking about ways to learn more about their financial profile and encouraging them to begin thinking about preparing offer docs and speaking with real estate lawyers.

Here are the things you should work on with your buyers before the time comes to submit an offer: 

  • Pre-approval Letter – does your client have one? If not, are they in need of a mortgage banker or broker referral?

  • Real Estate Attorney – has your buyer already interviewed some lawyers? If not, are they open to a recommendation?

  • REBNY Financial Statement – this financial document is required when submitting an offer on a co-op. Is your buyer aware of how the co-op purchase process works?

  • Proof of Funds – your buyers should prepare bank/brokerage statements or an online banking screenshot of their assets which support their down payment or entire purchase (if all cash).

  • Purchaser Bio – it’s highly recommended for your buyer to prepare a brief bio to submit along with his or her offer. Including a bio helps your buyer stand out against other offers.

PRO TIP: As a buyer’s agent, you are legally required to present your client with a New York State Disclosure Form for Buyer and Seller at the time of “the first substantive contact.” Failing to present your buyer with a disclosure form can put our firm and your commission at risk of being clawed back after a deal is closed.

Call buyers and listing agents whenever possible

Picking up the phone to call clients and listing agents is the single most effective way to outperform and get ahead in the business. There is simply no way you can learn the same amount of information through an email exchange than by picking up the phone.

As a listing agent, you will find that the most successful buyer agents (and the ones whose buyers win listings) are the ones who incessantly call you for updates. Because of their persistence, you as the listing agent do not forget about their clients.

Now put yourself into the shoes of these successful buyer’s agents. Will your buyer respect you and think you add value if you simply give them one word status updates? The answer is NO. If you fall in to the trap of laziness and complacency and simply email listing agents, you will minimize your chances of winning deals and impressing your clients.

The same goes for buyers. How can you possibly expect to learn as much as possible about your buyer’s search criteria through an email exchange? Pick up the phone, call your buyer and get them talking!  

Use common sense and keep a positive attitude

Being a successful buyer’s agent in NYC ultimately comes down to using common sense, keeping a positive attitude and being self-reliant. Our industry is not exactly rocket science, and anyone who puts in hard work will be successful.

As a buyer’s agent, you must always be thinking one step ahead. Here are some examples of how you can use common sense to be a better buyer’s agent.

Example One: How to communicate with a buyer after you’ve submitted an offer.

Lazy Answer:

“Hi Mark – we submitted your offer.”

Proactive Answer:

“Hi Mark – we submitted your offer this afternoon. The listing agent has informed us that the seller will likely wait until after the open house this Sunday to make a decision.

In the meantime, are there any other units you’d like to visit this weekend for backup?”

Example Two: How to schedule appointments.

Lazy Answer:

“Hi Mark – the listing agents aren’t available on Wed. Sorry.”

Proactive Answer:

“Hi Mark – the listing agents aren’t available on Wed, however they are happy to show us the unit on Friday or Saturday.

How’s Friday at 6pm or Saturday at 10am?”

Example Three: How to ask a buyer for feedback on listings. 

Lazy Answer:

“Hi Mark – please let us know what you think about the listings below.”

Proactive Answer:

“Hi Mark – what do you think of the apartments we sent you below? I think you’d be particularly interested in the 1br co-op on East 4th Street. This one has great natural light and very low carrying costs.

What are your thoughts?”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Compare Listings