The Recipe for a Quality Residential Broker

The high-quality residential broker possesses a near-perfect combination of skills and personality, says Lee & Associates' Adam Frisch.

Adam Frisch. Image courtesy of Lee & Associates Residential New York

In today’s fiercely competitive residential brokerage landscape, brokers must rise above their peers in order to excel. Throughout my 15 years in the business, I have noticed that there are certain qualities that successful brokers should possess. It’s essential for them to have in-depth knowledge of their local market as well as an efficient approach that allows properties to be secured for clients in the least amount of time possible. The high-quality residential broker possesses a near-perfect combination of skills and personality.  

Having useful market knowledge is facilitated immensely by specialization. It’s much more beneficial to be a true expert in a certain corner of New York City, as an example, than to attempt to do business all over the city, not really knowing much about any one neighborhood as a result. Knowing the area well will help you to gain access to properties as well as allow you to better know exactly what it takes to get your clients approved in a timely fashion. Brokers must be able to read the minds of their clients, and if they know a specialized area incredibly well, they will be able to determine what someone may be looking for in that market before the client has even said it or even knows it themselves. Being able to determine whether people are serious buyers or renters is also important as it’s clearly a waste of time to guide a client through an entire approval process if they aren’t serious about closing.

What sets you apart? 

In terms of personality, residential brokers need to be relatively sociable as the position involves talking to people most of the day. After all, this probably isn’t the best profession for a shy person. Unfortunately, delivering bad news is part of the job and often happens when you have to tell a client that they were not approved for a home that they really wanted or that someone else secured first. Brokers must not be afraid of giving bad news and they must know how to do this properly. Of course, being able to manage expectations is also important so that the scenarios in which you have to deliver bad news are kept to a minimum. Being a good listener and taking yourself out of the equation when listening to the desires of your clients are essential skills in brokerage. The process of finding a home that you love is very individual and it’s important to not let your own personal preferences creep into your client’s search. The job of the broker is to hold their client’s hand, helping to guide them through the process of locating and securing their dream residence. Throughout this transitional time, you should be educating them while also helping them to feel comfortable and excited about their new home.

In my opinion, one of the least useful factors for residential brokers to focus on is whether others in the real estate industry like them. When speaking of one’s contemporaries in the industry, it’s much more beneficial to focus on whether they respect you for what you can do professionally instead of whether or not they would like to be your friend. There is no doubt that this business can be cutthroat, especially with the advent of media such as “Million Dollar Listing” that encourages so many people to attempt to become famous from brokerage. Nonetheless, in order to achieve true success in this business, one must keep their head down, remain above the fray and focus on taking care of their clients.

All in all, the profession of residential brokerage calls for considerable finesse in terms of knowledge and personality. Day in and day out, you’re dealing in the hugely personal arena that is peoples’ homes and with this comes a responsibility to support your clients through this emotional process, while effectively and efficiently closing the deal.

Adam Frisch is managing principal of Lee & Associates Residential NYC, the first residential division of the national Lee & Associates brand. 

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