|The Real Estate Agent|
It is very difficult to find the ideal apartment without a real estate agent/broker. The Manhattan market is large and complex and moves very quickly; trying to navigate it on your own is a formidable challenge. Brokers live and breath the market most buyers purchase an apartment every few years (at most), while brokers are buying and selling every day. Thus, the experience and knowledge they bring is invaluable and impossible to get elsewhere.
In most cases, both agents (i.e. the one representing the buyer and the one representing the seller) are paid a commission from the seller rarely does a buyer directly pay any fees to an agent. As a result, there is no additional cost to you (as the buyer) in using a real estate agent. Therefore, there is no reason not to use one.
As with any transaction or business service, in real estate one only wants to work with serious participants. Sellers and their brokers do not want to show their apartment to people who are not prepared to buy. If you are not currently prepared to buy, that is fine simply let your broker know so that they can better serve you.
Broker loyalty (i.e. only working with a single broker) is an important factor in finding a great apartment. Most brokers work incredibly hard to find you that perfect apartment. They are motivated to do this in the hopes that if they are successful, a transaction will be consummated at which time they will be compensated for their efforts. If you give a broker reasons to suspect that a transaction is not going to occur (i.e. if you are working with other brokers or are not serious about buying an apartment), he/she naturally will be less inclined to invest the time required to find your dream apartment. As a result, you will be putting yourself at a competitive disadvantage versus other apartment buyers as your broker will not be as motivated to serve your interests.
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