Home Buying in Clinton>Question Details

Jim, Renter in Brooklyn, NY

First time home buyer here. How do I find an ethical real estate agent?

Asked by Jim, Brooklyn, NY Tue Jun 12, 2012

Help the community by answering this question:


By asking friends & family! I found myself last week helping the daughter of the last homeowner I helped with listing their property. Always feel free to contact an agent to set up a time to discuss your needs, maybe ask some questions for yourself, like what the realtor does for their community. By talking with your agent you can better find out if personally you feel they can help you find the perfect place for you!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 12, 2012
Thank you, Eva, you brought up a good point and I think are the best answer I read from all of the responses. If someone is involved in their community and others are looking up to them as role models, I think it's a pretty good sign of good character that will be reflected in their business dealings. No foolproof way for sure, but I like your suggestion the best. I moved to NYC recently and unfortunately discovered after the fact information withheld, earning the broker more money but costing me more. I blame myself for not doing due dilligance and investigating the moral character of those I was dealing with. Thanks again for the good suggestion about making the community/business connection.
Flag Wed Jun 13, 2012
Ask people you may know for referrals; or contact and interview in person a few agents from different realty companies, then choose the one you like best and who has the most to offer...
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 12, 2012
By referral, ask friends, family and co-workers who they know,

Jim Simms
NMLS # 6395
Financing Kentucky One Home at a Time
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 12, 2012
Start with friends and family. Interview a few agents and you can also research them online.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jun 16, 2012
The first step is to go online and see which agents have the best reviews on sites like Trulia and Zillow and of course Google them. At that point you should interview 3 of them and see which one you feel most comfortable with. Sign on to work with them for 3-6 months, but reserve the right to stop if they don't meet your agreed upon communication timeframes and any other criteria discussed.

Marco Gomez
NY State Licensed Associate Broker
Keller Williams Landmark II
Mobile: (917) 734-2012
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 13, 2012
Interesting question & answers below are very good. A Realtor® that points out negative features(safety concerns, etc) as well as the positive ones while touring a home has your best intentions as well.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 13, 2012
Your question rather assumes a lot of us are not ethical. I don't agree with this perspective. The more common problem I encounter is that agents lack knowledge, business savvy, or have poor negotiating skills.

But illegal/unethical behavior I find is rare, and such agents usually get stopped pretty quickly. It's like food poisoning--yes, it happens, but the Health Dept steps in to put a stop to it, and it's quite unusual.

The agents you meet at open houses are working for the seller. They are bound, by law, to represent the best interests of the seller and to use any information you let slip to further the best interests of the seller.

Because we agents are friendly and nice, buyers think it's unethical for seller's agents to share info with the owners. But actually, we have a legal obligation to do so. We also have an obligation to disclose our agent relationship to buyers, although at open houses, NY State assumes you know who that agent is working for. But many buyers forget, and some agents will try to use buyer confusion to help their sellers (their clients).

Real estate agents are similar to attorneys in this aspect. You would expect your attorney to look out for you in every way, to press for every advantage for your side. If they helped the other side at your expense you would be angry, and rightly so. If they found out something about the other side that helps your case, you would expect them to exploit the advantage. We agents are in the same boat.

To even things up for you, as a buyer, insist that your agent disclose in writing as a Buyer's Agent. Then we are working for you, not the seller, and you have proof in hand. Your agent legally owes you confidentiality, loyalty, duty to account, obedience and a bunch of other nice things.

In New York City brokerages routinely share commissions with Buyer's Agents, so you do not have to worry about paying your agent a separate fee. I do a lot of work in Brooklyn too as a Buyer's Agent, and I have yet to find a brokerage in Brooklyn that isn't excited to cooperate with me and my buyers. I would be happy to help you more, please feel free to contact me.

Karla Harby
Licensed Real Estate Salesperson
Rutenberg Realty
New York, NY
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 13, 2012
Ask your friends and family for their recommendations.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 12, 2012
Hi Jim,

The decision to buy or sell a home is one of the most important financial decisions most people make, yet many give little thought to finding the real estate agent best suited to their needs.

Agents are often chosen solely on the recommendation of a friend or an ad in the newspaper. But choosing the right agent can save you time, effort and aggravation in finding the perfect home at a price you can afford or selling your home quickly for top dollar.

Good Luck!


BSD Equities
174 Fifth Avenue #301
New York, NY 10010
Office: (212) 367-7200 Ext.18
Cell: (646) 269-4942
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 12, 2012
Realtors® (by brand) are required to abide by the Realtor Code of Ethics... I think most Realtors make a valiant attempt to do so.

Real Estate Agents in general, are a highly ethical bunch. As in any profession, you'll find a few bad apples, who spoil the entire barrel.

Interview a handful of agents, see who strikes you as most ethical. Ask them the type of ethics questions you'd like answered, and see how they respond. You can meet lots of agents at open-houses, where we're used to meeting the public. It's a no-pressure place to meet agents, and not feel any obligation.

Good luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 12, 2012
Alan May, Real Estate Pro in 60201
Realtors are held to a higher ethical standard than those not Realtors. Most agents/brokers are Ethical. Just like any other human and profession you get a variety of personalities.

I suggest that you write a list of qualities you want in an agent, then ask for referrals from friends, family, co-workers, etc. Interview those agents and through that you should have a good feel of which would be a good fit. Then give that person the same respect you expect from them, loyalty, honesty, open communication.

Have an amazing day!
Web Reference: http://www.terrivellios.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 12, 2012
Terri, in NYC, most companies do not belong to NAR. The major ones don't, only a few Mom and Pops. I wish it were different. Therefore, that doesn't apply here, sorry to say.
Flag Tue Jun 12, 2012
Are you implying there are some that are not ethical? I think you would have to look hard to find one that is not ethical.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 12, 2012
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