Low-cost buyer’s agent real estate agency opening in Manhattan
Apr 2011 19

Crackerjack real estate broker and all-around nice guy Noah Rosenblatt continues to break the mold, unveiling his newest service, Flat Fee Consulting for Manhattan Buyers.

He explains the concept on the Urban Digs website:

I am going live this week with what I think is an innovative new service for Manhattan buyers out there who do not want to take on a full buyers broker. A flat fee consult basically consists of all the ‘meaty’ parts of a buyer broker’s job without the buyer broker. As the buyer, you will submit the offer directly with the listing agent while hiring me as a third party consultant for the initial property valuation, comps analysis, bidding strategy, negotiating strategy, etc.. The centerpiece of this new service is a new tool I just developed called The Digs Report. Let me formally introduce it this new concept today.

Offering limited services to buyers in exchange for a discounted fee makes a lot of sense … for a specific type of buyer. Most buyers want the “complete package” when it comes to their agents. Advice, consultation, support, someone to drive them around … etc., etc., etc.

Some people, however, feel they can do all the work themselves. Or, they’ve already done the work, perhaps by going to open houses and looking at properties on their own. Maybe they’ve already found the home of their dreams, but now they need data, data from an unbiased source. The only way to do that is to pay an expert.

Massachusetts does allow agents to offer a similar level of service. It’s called a Facilitator. This agent provides a buyer with comparative market analyses, can give the buyer listing sheets, etc., but cannot offer advice on how much to offer to buy or negotiating strategies. The agent owes no “loyalty” to either buyer or seller. The facilitator is paid at closing, from the proceeds of the sale. In theory it works, but I’ve never encountered anyone who has actually used a facilitator. And, there is still the risk of threats of “bias” since the facilitator only gets paid if the buyer goes through with a sale.

An example of when this sort of arrangement might make sense is if you, as a buyer, visited the Boston Condo Blog and searched through the listings and decided, I can do all this work myself, all I need is a list of all the properties on the market. As a facilitator, I could provide you with all the data. If you find a property you wish to buy, you could then ask me to create a competitive market analysis of how the price of your property compares to other properties that have recently sold. Then, you’re on your own. If you go through with the sale, I get a commission, usually discounted from the traditional 2-2.5% that a buyer’s agent receives.

Many “traditional” agents fear this type of thing. Most people are afraid of change. Offering real estate services for a discounted fee chills many agents to the bone. Anything that puts their 2.5% commission at risk is evil. Flat-fee services such as those offered by Redfin and CondoDomain have rocked the real estate world. (They’ve yet to have shown they are viable business models, but that’s a different story.)

What do you think?

For more information, please contact me.

And, good luck, Noah!

Below, details (in summary) from the Urban Digs website. Check out his site for specifics.

The service will work like this:

1. Initial Property Valuation

The first step in the process is for me to verify that enough data exists to even run a comparable sales analysis with confidence. Generally, this means having enough sales data in the building that you wish to place an offer in.

Just like any buyer broker would require, I will need access to the target property to inspect: views/exposure, layout, condition, building amenities, etc..

2. Comparable Sales Analysis

What is the place you are about to bid on worth in today’s market?? The meat of the buyer brokers job!

As your outside consultant, I will perform a Comparable Sales analysis using in-building sales as well as current inventory trends for your local Manhattan submarket …

3. Devise a Bidding Strategy

The next step in the process is to discuss the analysis with you and devise an initial bidding strategy before submitting the offer …

4. Submit The Offer

Submitting your offer the right way helps your chances of getting the deal done immediately! At this stage we probably know where your initial offer will come in, which leaves writing up the offer letter the last job to do …

5. Negotiating Strategy

In this stage, I will act as your adviser behind the scenes as the seller counter’s your initial and updated offers.

5. Sign The Contract / Walk Away

a) continue and move forward with attorney phase
b) walk away

Simple. Clean. One-time service. Perfect for buyers that want to work on their own, yet feel they can use some assistance when the right property presents itself!

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