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Brokers at the Higher-End: the Good, the Bad, the Pointless

As part of Whale Week 2013, we've snagged us a real-life real estate whale to answer your questions about buying, selling and renting at the topmost of the Hub market. This particular whale once bought in one of the Curbed Boston 76 and now rents in one of the priciest apartment towers in Boston. Have a question yourself? Email us (anonymity guaranteed).

Question: What did you look for in a broker? (and, conversely, what didn't you want in a broker?)

Answer: I'm a pretty hands-on consumer, so I like to do my own research. There is so much data out there nowadays, I feel like the value of a buyer's rep is somewhat marginalized. A consumer can get all the same comp data as a broker from Zillow/RedFin/Registry of Deeds and stay informed of all the latest developments through blogs like Curbed. Clearly, there are corner cases where buyer's reps still add tremendous value (i.e., relocations) but I doubt those are a majority of their assignments.

It seems to me, buyer's reps need to differentiate and add more value. I would love to see brokers do more diligence on deals and really guide a buyer. For new construction, they could/should get information on the developer, general contractor, etc., to assess the quality of the investment. For older homes, they could look to see if permits were pulled for any renovations to supplement the home inspection or guide a purchase with a renovation plan in mind.

With all that said, I have typically used brokers that I have a relationship with one way or another. I've used brokers that were recommended to me and I've used friends to help them out. When it comes to a seller's rep, I want the biggest name on the street to represent my property.
· The Curbed Boston 76: the City's Top Condo Buildings [Curbed Boston]
· Our Whale Week 2013 archive [Curbed Boston]