What Constitutes a “Broker Specialist?”

As a resident (my comments are all in parenthesis) of a rather sizable condominium on the Upper West Side, I receive at least one or two broker solicitations a day (YES…A DAY!) offering to sell me some other condo in the city or to provide me with the current market value of my home (BTW…I already know the value of my home). 

In the mail room of my building stands a very large garbage for recycling paper (i.e. MAIL).  On any given day one can peak into this monster of a can to see mounds of these broker/agent solicitations that perhaps caught 2 seconds of its reader’s attention.  This is precisely why I stopped doing monthly mailings more than 2 years ago.  Last week I received this letter from our building’s "broker specialist:"

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen:

By now, you should have received a letter from___________________, introducing us as the "Broker Specialists" of your esteemed (oh flattery) condominium.  As part of this role, which we take very seriously (a good thing I suppose if they want us to pay them 6%), we will provide periodic updates on recent sales in your building, current listings, and share with you the _____________________ Market Report-this quarterly report that is widely considered the definitive resource (who says?) within the real estate community as the most highly vetted (very strong claim indeed) and accurate reporting of residential purchase (sales transactions too!) transactions within Manhattan and Brooklyn.

We are pleases to enclose, per your perusal (and "for" it too), the just-published ________________ Market Report which we hope you will find interesting and useful. (they forgot to enclose the report…no kidding!)

Condominium prices have increased a healthy 13% from a year ago to an average price of $1.4M (or so…I’m staying away from exact numbers in the spirit of anonymity).  On the West Side, the average price per square foot for condos is $1,600 (or so) which is up from $1200 (or so) one year ago.  We are experiencing an active market with low inventory, especially on the West Side.  Condominiums continue to be very desirable for their investment potential, and greater requirement flexibility than co-ops.(WHAAAAAAAT?)

Some recent transactions in _______________include:**

3BR/2.5BTH Closed with an asking price of $2.75M (what was the sales price "Specialist?)

Available Apartments:

  • 2BR/2BTH asking $1.5M (or so)
  • 2BR/2BTH asking $1.4M (or so)
  • 1BR/1BTH asking $1M (or so)
  • 1BR/1BTH asking $1M (yep…you guessed it…or so)

**These apartments were listed and/or sold by our firm and other real estate firms in NYC (NONE were sold by them EVER and only one is currently listed with their firm…the property that sold for $2.75M was actually sold by the true "specialist" in the building IMHO who was the owner/broker who also lived in the building since it was built)

If you would like us to give you a current market value of your home, or if we may answer any question you may have about the current real estate market, please be in touch.

Kind Regards,


It appeared that 99% of these letters hit the trash can without even being opened, another 1/2% were tossed after opening, and I and a few others seemed to take the time to and make the effort of carrying the letter up to our apartments before we through it out. 

Now I don’t have an issue with an honest real estate agent soliciting prospects but I do have a major issue with two agents claiming to be "broker specialists" for a building in which they have never sold a single property.  Baffling indeed!

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