Navigating the hell that is the Brooklyn rental market is not for the weak of heart, especially when that housing hunt involves Craigslist. It's enough to make a man crazy. It's enough, apparently, to make a broker crazy. Well, not crazy, just fired up. Check out this memo to the industry sent to us by one broker (who wishes to remain anonymous) about why he's mad as hell and not going to take it anymore:
I've been helping some clients on the renting side find apts in Brooklyn recently by searching Craigslist. During my search I've been running into more of the usual, Uncivilized Brokers. Most of them are from the smaller firms and I understand why they don't want to co-broke or give me any information, but do they have to be so rude? I feel like they're from another planet with the lack of etiquette and tact that they show me on the phone. Calling another broker in Brooklyn sucks right now. All I've gotten are brush-offs and hang-ups with the occasional attempted client theft. I thought I would share a little commentary that I wrote recently in the heat of the moment after getting off the phone with one of these "broker gentlemen." Maybe you could help me let these guys know that what they're doing is NOT cool and that IT IS POSSIBLE to have a better, more cooperative, and functional broker community in Brooklyn with everyone working together to put people in apts and share success.
Why are so many real estate brokers douche bags? What gives them such an attitude of arrogance and elitism? Why can't they act like real people and practice time-old traditions like professionalism, courtesy, and respect. I try to give brokers the benefit of the doubt, considering that I've been one part time for the last year. But every time I help a client find a place by searching good old Craigslist, I am amazed at how rude and condescending some agents can be. It seems like I get hung up on or laughed at every other time I call for information on a listing. The industry as a whole in Brooklyn is ridiculous. Hiding information from other brokers and clients, misleading pictures and cross streets, everything is 10 minutes from Manhattan or 5 blocks to the subway...I know how to use Google Maps. There's not enough wool in this town to cover 16 million eyes...is there? Real Estate inventory in New York is about as transparent as an iced windshield in winter. Don't get me wrong, not all brokers are scum. I have a personal phone book with many honest and hard working brokers who share information and actually help people find homes through education and useful information on neighborhoods and properties. But at this time, these Brokers who provide a real service seem to be a minority while broker fees continue being collected by agents who simply open a door.
A little advice for all brokers who wish to make it through the technological revolution.
1. Tell the truth - Be honest with yourself first, don't try to sell something if YOU wouldn't live there. Make sure there is value to support the asking price, otherwise you're wasting everyone's time and supporting inflation.
2. Take pictures and make sure they accurately reflect the property - Don't give me two pictures of the exterior and one shot of the lobby. Everyone and their mom has a hi-res digital camera with at least a 1 GB memory card, use it. We're going to see what the property looks like when we get there anyway, so why waste everyone's time by omitting the most important piece of information - ACCURATE PICTURES. When it comes to real estate, pictures are all you need. PS - Most Digital Cameras also have good video capabilities that transfer well to YouTube or WellcomeMat, who doesn't want to see a video?
3. Cooperate and work with other brokers - Co-broking and sharing information with other brokers is the only way that an industry like this can survive. You have nothing to worry about so long as you have done your job and built a solid relationship with your clients. If brokers don't share information and work together then clients will, thus cutting out the middle man, YOU!