by Rich Bouchner on February 25, 2010
I spent the last few days touring new FHA approved condo developments in Harlem with a client who was in New York City for three days specifically to look at FHA approved condos.Â We saw between 10 and 12 apartments in 6 or 7 different new developments. My client, who was in from overseas, had lived in Harlem previously and specifically asked to only see apartments in Harlem.
We saw apts at 555 Lenox (The Savoy West), 2280 FDB, 342 East 110th Street (The Conrad), 303 West 149th Street, 252 and 256 West 123rd Street (The Dover)Â and a few more. For the most part, the brokers representing the buildingsâ€™ sponsors were timely, professional and generally on point.Â However, one broker, who shall remain nameless for obvious reasons, treated us like he could not be bothered.Â He repeatedly had the condoâ€™s super let us in (my client was very interested in this building, that is why we went back multiple times) , and the one time that he agreed to meet us at the condo, he was late, showed up with other clients, and never actually spoke to my client because he was too distracted.Â The general lack of respect that he showed my client ended up reflecting very poorly on the condo that he was trying to sell.
How does a broker, especially in this current environment, expect to succeed with such behavior?Â As a jaded New Yorker, I did not take it personally.Â But my client, who was seriously considering placing an offer on a $600,000 apartment, was so turned off by this brokerâ€™s attitude, that it turned him off to the entire building to the point that he decided not to submit an offer!Â The building where this took place has been on the market for more than 450 days!Â That is more than 1 year!
I do not condone this type of behavior ever.Â As the owner of real estate brokerage that carries my name, I know that a big part of my job, either when selling a property for a client or working with buyers, is to treat all prospects as if they will become clients.Â Call me crazy, but in my opinion, that means that I should operate as a professional, and treat people the way that I would expect to be treated. I saw much more of this bad client service attitude when the market was over heated and brokers had more offers than they knew what do with, but come on, the new reality is much different.
Here is a thought: Why donâ€™t developers and brokers employ secret shoppers to test their agentsâ€™ attitude and competency? If a developer has spent millions on a project, or a seller is making one of the biggest financial decisions of their life, should they not be concerned with quality control over those they entrust to sell their blood, sweat and equity?
Have you worked with a broker representing a new development that has influenced your feelings toward the building? Brick and mortar is important, but a positive human interaction goes along way to putting people at ease. Please share your thoughts/experiences. I am curious to hear how others feel about this.