At Your Service
Real estate brokerage is a service industry. In general, even though a larger slice of our economy every year is devoted to service jobs, Americans don’t excel at serving others. The “rugged individualism” which many of us believe built our country seems the opposite end of the spectrum to jobs like mine, which are fundamentally devoted to making sure someone else feels well served. But working to facilitate the decisions of others can offer enormous satisfactions. The proof lies in how you do it.
First of all, the customer is not always right, and we need the courage to tell her so. If she were, she would not need to hire us. Given the amounts of money at stake, customers seek our expertise. They can easily misperceive the marketplace (especially if they rely on the press for information), or the make-up of a neighborhood, or the relative value of Location A vs. Location B. We educate our consumers, enabling them to make better decisions when weighing and trading off the multiple factors involved in making a real estate purchase. Customers simply cannot know everything we agents know. The agents who lets fear of the customer or client silence them do everyone a disservice. Although in New York everyone BELIEVES they are an expert in real estate, agents actually possess the knowledge to help those we serve make better choices.
Secondly, no matter the temptation, we must always put the client’s interest before our own. This fundamental tenet of fiduciary duty seems obvious, but there are many parts of New York City (not including Manhattan, I am happy to say) where the agent still puts his own interest first. Brooklyn in particular remains rife with agents who choose not to co-broke because they want to keep the entire commission for themselves. Sure, that may be great for them, but does it serve the client? Who knows how many buyers are out there working with other agents who never get to see the property? Would one of them have paid more? The seller will never know. For agents, co-broking serves the client. As a seller, you should ALWAYS insist that your agent open the property up to any agent with a bona fide customer. That’s the only way to be sure you have left no money on the table.
There is no shame in being a facilitator. As I have said many times before in this blog, I believe in what we do. The product we sell defines the center of peoples’ lives and becomes the haven which allows them to relax amidst the wonderful but sometimes exhausting multiplicity of the city. Our ability to listen and execute on what we hear forms the basis for what often turn out to be lifelong partnerships with our customers and clients.
At Warburg, we recognize that being entrusted with a client’s listing or a customer’s new home search is a significant responsibility. We are not in business for the quick buck. Our goal remains what it has been for the last 120 years; to build relationships with those whose needs we serve through the deployment of our experience and expertise, wielded with the integrity for which the brand is known. In that way, we are proud to serve!