How to get the most out of your real estate broker

By on June 29, 2009

Photo © Elena Derevstova


Sounds like a loaded topic from the beginning, but most of the tips anyone can offer regarding motivating your broker, you may already know from the schoolyard or conversations at the Tokyo American Club.


DO YOUR HOMEWORK. First, create a clear image for yourself of what you want to achieve, and compare it with the budget you are operating with to see if it matches local market realities.  Use whatever Internet tools are at your disposal to see what’s out there. Your broker can advise you on the market, but in the current market, you can expect discounts off the rent asking prices from 5% to 25%. If you find difficulty achieving a satisfactory discount, ask how long the property has been on the market, and whether it has already been discounted and by how much.


CHOOSE YOUR FRIENDS WISELY. The broker for you is the individual with whom you are reasonably comfortable, who is independent, can introduce most available properties on the market, and is willing to fight for your needs and to get you the best deal.


SHARE YOUR TOYS. Some consumers do their own research, independently of the broker. Share this information with the broker so that they can create a clearer picture of your wants and needs, and ask to view properties you’ve found to gauge if they are potentials. While research is a part of the broker’s work, his or her real value is creating the best deal for you.


PLAY FAIR. While some of you might want to hedge your bets by using multiple brokers, nothing beats the communication and cooperation you get from utilizing a single, independent broker who represents your interests alone, who represents your interests zealously, and who is willing and able to introduce the majority of properties on the market within your search parameters and not a specific few.


Kevyn Johnson is a director with Platinum Real Estate Consulting and a co-chair for the Architecture, Construction and Real Estate committee of the American chamber of Commerce in Japan.  He can be reached through our editors or directly at

About Kevyn Johnson