Hiring a Resident Broker to Sell Your Apartment

I’m often asked by clients whether or not they should consider hiring an agent that is also resident of their building to represent them during the sale of their apartment. There is no cut and dry answer, obviously as it depends greatly on the individual agent. That said, many buildings have very solid agents living among the residents who often bring much more to the table than an outside agent possibly could.

The inspiration for this story came to me last Friday as I was accompanying a buyer on a tour of properties around Manhattan. When we arrived at the Lincoln Towers building at 180 West End Avenue, we were met by Cathy Blau of the Corcoran Group. A resident of 180, Cathy showed us the apartment with the passion of a content resident happy to call this building home for the past 26 years. She was informative like no outside agent could be and provided a window into what living at 180 would be like for my buyer. This experience with Cathy made me ask the question, “Why would anyone who owns at 180 West End Avenue hire anyone other than Cathy to sell their property?”

I don’t know the answer, as I can’t imagine that anyone has more in depth knowledge of the building, its amenities, staff, Board, and financial condition than her—not to mention that she was also very sincere. I have actually represented sellers of apartments at 180 West End Avenue and feel confident that I knew the building as well as anyone could. Except for someone like Cathy. If I were a resident of the building, I would absolutely consider Cathy Blau before anyone else.

On the flip side, I have had the fortune of selling more than 30 apartments at The Armory at 529 West 42nd Street. At the time I began representing sellers in the building, there were 3 or 4 resident agents that owners could choose from. When I came into the building, those agents scoffed at the prices I suggested owners could get for their apartments. I brought a new energy and perspective to the building and sold apartments for considerably more than any of the resident agents believed was attainable. While they were trapped “inside the box” and I was outside, looking at a very different building.

My suggestion to those who have an real estate agent living amongst them, interview them first, but interview them as you would any outside agent. If you doubt their ability, interview 2 outside agents for the sake of comparison. Remember, that having an agent with intimate knowledge of your building could be a huge asset when selling your apartment. Since someone who thinks from inside the box can be to your detriment, just be certain that they are the caliber of professional that will insure you get the best price for your property. If they are, you need not look any further—hire them!

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