“So you guys wanna come take a listing?”

I can’t believe it. It’s my second day on the job in New York, and my sponsoring broker wants me to go along as he takes a listing? I hung out in Jersey for months and never managed to glom on to anyone who was doing that.

I point that out to him, and his attitude is, “well, how are you going to learn?” So I jump in the cab.

There are actually four of us – but let me back up. When I realized I was going to work in New York, my next question was, where?

And it turns out there were two kinds of brokerage houses: big houses that knew about my column and didn’t want me to write about them, and big houses that didn’t want me to take listings at 5 percent.

For those of you who don’t know New York City, let me say that the commission debate that has hit the rest of the country is raging here. Some listings go through at five (one senior agent at one of the top five firms told me that 20 percent of their listings did), but there’s a lot of denial. One very popular theme is “keeping up appearances” which means that a firm will take a listing at five but offer the co-broke at three – which certainly sounds like bad business, long-term. Not that I wanna always go out at five, but hey, flexibility is nice.

So I ended up working for the broker who sold me my very first apartment. He’s one of those people who’s successful in real estate because he’s tremendously social – he makes hundreds of friends, and then sells apartments to all of them.

Including me, and in my case it’s been repeat business: He’d sold me my first studio, and then handled the sale when I moved up to something bigger. When I bought my first condo, I’d found it through an ad in the paper, but I had liked him enough to bring him in as my broker.

So I thought he’d be a pretty good boss. But I had no idea how good.

At the listing presentation, he let the agent whose deal it was do most of the talking, stepping in as the voice of authority only when needed. Then afterwards, he explained to me and another newbie why he’d said what he’d said.

This turned out to be helpful when I took my very own FIRST LISTING one week later. Yes! Spring is here! I have real estate to sell! Me, the failure!

Of course I had hope this was coming, since one of my friends had said that she would be happy to list her apartment with me. But so many people have told me shiny happy things over the past year, and they haven’t always turned out to be true.

This, however, did. And now I have a mission: I must sell the most beautiful $519,000-one-bedroom I’ve ever seen in my life…

Read how the sale goes in next week’s Diary of a Real Estate Flipper column.


What’s your opinion? Send your Letter to the Editor to opinion@inman.com.

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