How to choose a broker

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How to Choose an Online Stock Broker

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How to Choose an Online Stock Broker

When it comes to day trading, pretty much all you need to get started is a computer or laptop, an internet connection, and an online stock broker.

In this day and age, most of us have the former two on lock. But as for the online stock broker … which one should you choose?

Your broker is the gateway to executing trades, so it’s important to take the time to choose one that suits your personal trading needs so that you can maximize every trade.

This post will educate you on some of the things to look for in potential online stock brokers, and how to narrow down your choices.

What Is an Online Stock Broker?

An online stock broker is a web-based broker that facilitates trades.

At one time, your options were limited in terms of online stock brokers. These days, however, there are many different options out there, from brokerages associated with big banks to purely web-based ones.

While the variety is a good thing overall, it can make the decision more difficult because there are many more contenders for your account.

How to Choose an Online Stock Broker

How can you narrow down the many choices available so that you can figure out which broker is just right for you?

Short on time? Our lead trainer, Tim Bohen has some quick tips for choosing a broker — watch it here!

While the answer is ultimately up to you, these considerations can help you make an educated decision:

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What are your goals?

Before you settle on an online broker, take a little time to consider your individual goals as an investor.

Not only can clear goals provide motivation, but they can help you decide on the best approach for trading and a broker.

For instance, if your goal is to save for retirement, you may have different needs than if you want to buy a car in the next year. Assessing the aggressiveness and frequency with which you’ll be trading can help you determine which broker is the best fit.

What’s the account minimum?

Be sure to look at what minimums are required to open an account with various brokers.

These days, many online stock brokers have no required minimum to open an account. This is great for new traders who are starting out with fairly small accounts.

However, others may require as much as $10,000 as a starting account balance. Obviously, depending on the account size you want to get started with, this can take some brokers off the table from the start.

Recently, StocksToTrade incorporated broker integration, so you can execute trades right from the platform. As a limited-time promotion, traders can open an account with Tradier with just a $500 minimum account requirement! This is for a limited time, and it’s exclusive to STT members!

Are there trade commissions or fees?

It’s not uncommon for brokers to charge commissions or fees on trades. However, you want to make sure to research what these fees are before you sign up.

For example, at the time of this writing, popular brokers Ally Invest and E-Trade both charge commission fees of $6.95 per trade. This is charged upon buying or selling.

Other brokers, like Robinhood ( soon compatible with StocksToTrade ) , don’t charge a transaction fee on trades. However, this doesn’t mean that everything is free.

As thei r website says, “there are fees charged by the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission and FINRA on all sell orders.” So while Robinhood won’t be charging their own fee, they will charge the amount required by these regulatory agencies.

Be sure to dig a little deeper than just commissions and per-trade fees. While a broker might seem like they have a very reasonable fee structure, sometimes there can be hidden costs that can add up over time.

For instance, some accounts will have a yearly fee, or may charge if you dip below a certain balance, or if you are inactive for a period of time. There may even be a closing fee on some accounts.

Be sure to research any account fees like this from the beginning, rather than being surprised by them later. You don’t want to lose money due to unforeseen fees.

Is it available in your country?

If you’re not in the U.S., can you still use an online broker? Absolutely. Interactive Brokers is available to non-U.S. members, and it’s compatible with StocksToTrade.

Do they have stock analysis tools?

Some brokers offer stock analysis tools for free. Others offer them for a fee. And others have minimal resources for analysis.

If you are a member of StocksToTrade , this may not be as big of a consideration, because you already have a thorough platform to perform analysis and you may not need this feature as much.

So, for instance, if you already have the analysis tools via StocksToTrade, you might be able to choose a broker with fewer analysis tools if you like their other offerings.

Consider customer service.

If you have an issue or an inquiry, how easy is it to get in touch with the customer service department?

Researching the customer service offerings is something that many traders overlook when opening accounts, but that can prove very frustrating later on when you find yourself in need of assistance.

Consider calling the customer service department before opening an account to ask any outstanding questions. It can be very informative!

Ask around.

There’s nothing like a person-to-person review. Read online reviews and ask other traders their thoughts on various brokers.

Chances are, you’ll find out some invaluable information this way that can confirm the brokerage you’re leaning toward, or alert you of potential red flags.


Choosing an online stock broker should not be taken lightly . The right broker can help you make the most of every trade, which can help you get ahead over time. It’s worth your time and research to make sure you find an online stock broker that’s well suited to your needs.

Big News!

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Looking for a New Broker?

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*Offer only available through your StocksToTrade application. Brokerage service provided by Tradier Brokerage Inc. (“TBI). TBI does not offer OTC Markets or OTC-BB trading

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** Results not typical or guaranteed. Past performance is not indicative of future returns and financial investing isinherently risky. All content is provided subject to the qualifications and limitations set forth in ourTerms of Service and Use.

This is for informational purposes only as StocksToTrade is not registered as a securities broker-dealeror an investment adviser. No information herein is intended as securities brokerage, investment, tax,accounting or legal advice, as an offer or solicitation of an offer to sell or buy, or as an endorsement, recommendation or sponsorship of any company, security or fund.

StocksToTrade cannot and does not assess, verify or guarantee the adequacy, accuracy orcompleteness of any information, the suitability or profitability of any particular investment,or the potential value of any investment or informational source. The reader bears responsibility forhis/her own investment research and decisions, should seek the advice of a qualified securities professional before making any investment,and investigate and fully understand any and all risks before investing.

should seek the advice of a qualified securities professional before making any investment,and investigate and fully understand any and all risks before investing.

How to Choose a Real Estate Broker

Finding the right one doesn’t have to be hit or miss.

By Joanne Kaufman

    Dec. 28, 2020

A while back, Gloria Sokolin, an associate broker at Fox Residential Group, got a call from a woman who was preparing to sell her $2 million apartment on the Upper East Side.

“She had been thinking of hiring the mistress of her husband’s business partner, who’d just gotten her real estate license,” recalled Ms. Sokolin. “And the friend who’d given me the referral said to her: ‘This is your most valuable asset. Are you crazy?’ ”

Ms. Sokolin ended up selling the apartment. “At some point I asked the woman why she had considered using a novice. And she said: ‘I don’t know. A broker is a broker.’ ”

This seems to be a widely held belief, to the great chagrin of those in the business. (And don’t get them going on the buyers and sellers who, in this age of StreetEasy and readily accessible data, don’t think they need a broker at all.)

“Most people spend more time picking a restaurant than they do picking a real estate agent,” said Kathy Braddock, a managing director at the residential brokerage firm William Raveis NYC.

“Because the entry bar to the profession isn’t high, and because it’s not immediately apparent who’s a great agent or a bad agent, people fall back on choosing Aunt Susie’s daughter because she just got into the business, and Aunt Susie is really applying the pressure,” Ms. Braddock continued.

“If you’re looking for a heart surgeon, no one says: ‘Oh, Dr. Smith is so nice. Go to him. He just got into the business.’ But you hear that a lot in real estate,” she said. This makes no sense, she added, because “whatever level you’re buying or selling at, it’s a significant level, so who you choose as your agent matters.”

Here are a few tips on how to find a good broker:

If you’re selling a property, you should be looking for someone who knows how to price a property (admittedly an inexact science); how to market it; and how to negotiate effectively.

Start the search by getting recommendations from friends or colleagues. Ask your superintendent or resident manager for the names of brokers who have recently — and successfully — represented other sellers in your building. Check out StreetEasy for the names of agents who work in your neighborhood.

Interview at least three brokers. “You’re the CEO of this transaction, so own it,” said Ms. Braddock, who suggested questions like: Have you sold in my neighborhood? Have you sold in my building? And, in the case of a co-op: Do you know anyone on the board?

Ask what deals they’ve recently made. Ask how long they’ve been in the business — although if someone is a relative newbie, that isn’t necessarily a negative. “Experience is important, but it isn’t the only thing,” said Gary Malin, the president of the residential real estate company CitiHabitats. “If you just focus on a résumé, you may miss out on someone who is really good.” After all, a younger person may be hungrier and more energetic than an elder statesman.

By all means, get references and check them.

Ask for a listing presentation — a pitch that includes data on comparable sales and the specific plan the broker has for marketing your apartment. While you’re at it, ask your top candidates to show you some other properties they’re representing, said Stuart Moss, an associate broker at the Corcoran Group. “And not just the property itself but the whole building,” he said. It will give you a sense of how the brokers will comport themselves when potential buyers come to look at your apartment.

Give a wide berth to the broker who seems to be telling you only what you want to hear, the one who says your apartment is worth far more than the valuation others have placed on it. “I frequently say, ‘Don’t choose somebody to sell your home based on the number he puts in front of you,’ ” Mr. Moss said. “The market determines that, not the broker.”

Similarly, beware the broker who says your property is just perfect as it is. “Because they want the listing and don’t want to offend potential clients, some brokers are afraid to say what work an apartment needs to get it ready for the market,” Ms. Braddock said. “My contention: It’s just the reverse. This is a job interview, and brokers should treat it as such. They should be direct and honest.”

And, said Allison Chiaramonte , a sales agent at Warburg Realty, they should be at least reasonably likable. “Sellers sometimes focus on brokers they perceive to be tough or forceful negotiators,” she said. “But it can turn off the buyers and their representatives if a particular broker has a reputation for being difficult or unreasonable. You’re better off with a team player who gets deals done.”

If you’re buying, look for a broker who asks the right questions, among them: What’s your timing? What’s your financial picture? Are you prequalified for a mortgage?

“You really want someone who’s familiar with the area you want to live in,” said Amanda Hudson, a saleswoman at Dallien Realty who specializes in new development. “We sometimes see people who are trying to find a place in SoHo, and their broker lives on the Upper East Side and only comes downtown to shop. If they don’t do a lot of transactions in a particular neighborhood, brokers may not know about new zoning and its effects.”

Ms. Hudson also suggests that buyers seek out brokers who not only know a particular neighborhood but can also get into the weeds on the specific housing stock that is a client’s focus, be it prewar co-op or new construction condo.

She offered the example of legal fees. In a co-op deal on the Upper East Side, buyers and sellers typically pay for their own lawyers. “But in a new development condo, the buyer is responsible for covering the attorneys’ fees on both sides of the deal,” Ms. Hudson said. “Because this is an area I work in, I can tell buyers that here is something they can push back on.”

Ms. Braddock cites good listening skills and strong powers of intuition as highly desirable traits on the buying side. “You want someone who understands what you want in an apartment, but who also senses what might be right, even if it wouldn’t have seemed so on paper,” Ms. Braddock said. “You want a broker who is strong enough to say: ‘I know it isn’t on your list, but just come and see this place. I really think it will work for you.’ ”

What’s in a Team?

Medicine has its group practices and solo practitioners. So does real estate. One agent or broker on the team might have a subspecialty in marketing, another in staging; another might be the rainmaker-in-chief. The team’s chief selling point is the promise there will always be someone available to handle a showing or a crisis.

“On the buy side I don’t think a team does much for you,” said Ms. Chiaramonte, of Warburg. “If you end up with a different agent every time you go out to look at apartments, there’s no one single person learning what works for you. Much as great teams share information, things may get lost in translation.”

On the selling side, she said, there might be some advantage to having several people with the ability to show a property — thus guaranteeing coverage on evenings and summer weekends. “But it really has to be made clear to the client who on the team is doing what,” Ms. Chiaramonte said. “The seller may think the lead broker is going to be the point of contact, and that turns out not to be the case. Or it turns out that the assistant will be doing the showings, when the seller thought it was the No. 2 person on the team.”

Don’t be afraid to break up with your broker if the fit isn’t right. There’s no document binding a buyer to a broker, said Mr. Moss, of Corcoran. But a seller has a listing agreement with an agent, typically for a six-month period. Even so, “if a seller is unhappy, it’s easy to end the relationship,” Mr. Moss said. “He can simply say, ‘I won’t accept any offer you bring to me,’ and the agent is likely to say, ‘Let’s sever.’ ”

In such instances, sellers must take care to protect their interests, according to Steven R. Wagner, a real estate lawyer. “Make sure the broker provides you with a list of all the people who contacted him or her,” he said. “That way, if you do terminate the relationship and then a buyer not on the list materializes and makes an accepted offer, the broker can’t claim credit for the sale.”

The contract should also include a period, typically three to six months, after which the broker can’t claim credit for someone who actually is on the list, Mr. Wagner said.

“Make sure this is all spelled out in the agreement, so you don’t have to start negotiating when the broker equivalent of Dr. Jekyll turns into Mr. Hyde.”

For weekly email updates on residential real estate news, sign up here. Follow us on Twitter: @nytrealestate.

How to choose a forex broker?

Anyway, everyone who came across a real account on forex market, thought the question: “How to choose a forex broker?“. How not to make a mistake that will cost not only profit and time spent, but also sometimes an initial deposit. How to choose such a forex broker, which will not be another barrier to making money in trading, but will become a friend, support and colleague with whom it is pleasant to work with?

Traditionally, everything that is served with the label “western” – products, services, software, projects of the entertainment industry – is considered better and better than domestic counterparts. It is not surprising that this stereotype, often justified, is also reflected in Forex. When searching for something reliable, solid and stable, many players reflexively turn their heads towards the Old World or America, evaluating their exchanges, their forex brokers, their software products for trading.

Naturally, the opportunity to work with Western market participants will have to pay more than in Russia. Largely due to the great capabilities and larger scale of operations. But the reputation of foreign brokers has specifically suffered recently: the unexpected bankruptcies of such mastodons of the foreign exchange market as Refco (USA) and Sovereign Financial Group (Switzerland) made everyone hungry for “Western” think. Companies with huge experience and whose reliability before the disaster did not raise any doubts suffered a collapse. However, the tragedy of the Titanic, as we recall, was also not widely predicted.

Therefore, it will not hurt anyone eager to try their hand at Forex in Russia to take a closer look at domestic brokers or dealing centers. Of course, with a thorough analysis of the criteria that guarantee the reliability of work and the safety of capital. Perhaps, having qualitatively evaluated the current proposal, the answer to the question: “How to choose a forex broker?“, Will not lead you abroad.

Forex broker selection criteria

So, in order to really properly evaluate the work of both Russian and foreign forex brokers, you need to build on several key parameters. There are a lot of such, it’s worth saying, but it’s better to spend a couple of days studying documents and sites than later regret the wrong choice.

So, what should we evaluate: the experience of the forex broker, the company’s ability to regulate, the qualifications and responsiveness of staff and support, the company’s reputation, the system of customer liability insurance, conditions for withdrawing funds, high-quality risk management, terms and conditions of trade, a service agreement without “ pitfalls ”and fast streams of information in the provided convenient software.

Certainly, work experience and reputation of a broker, the duration of his presence on the market says a lot. The crash of the same Refco is the exception rather than the rule. More experienced brokers knowingly keep such a long time afloat. So, they reasonably combined the principles of risk management, which allowed them to create their own name and comfortable working conditions that attract potential customers and retain existing ones. Although, of course, new companies, in order to gain market share, may offer better conditions in the short term, as often happens in the market economy as a whole. In any case, a good history of work, without negative reviews dotting the Internet, is a plus in your choosing a forex broker.

Therefore, it is worthwhile to carefully study the reviews on the forums and in the ratings about the companies of interest. Typically, traders are happy to tell their unpleasant stories about working with brokers if they made a mistake in their choice. Of course, do not forget that negative opinions can be written by competitive organizations, so look for stories that have more than 3 sentences. Similarly, with positive reviews about the forex broker: if the advantage of pluses to minuses is 150 to 5, and user names are not inventive, then such reviews should also be excluded from consideration.

By itself, selected forex broker must have prompt and highly informed customer serviceworking 24 hours a day. The efficiency of your trade depends on a quick and comprehensive answer to your question. It is important that, in the event of any technical malfunction, the company satisfy the claims of its customers.

And of course, you should pay attention to the conditions and quality of trade in selected forex broker. For traders using a pip (low-profit) strategy, the speed of information flows in the trading platform offered by the broker is very important. In a volatile market, the so-called “slippage” often occurs when there is a difference between the declared and the received price. Before making large amounts

It never hurts to “break in” the proposed trading terminal on a demo account, if possible. You can get used to any software, of course, but it is important to feel the convenience of the terminal, the visibility of its interface, and also to study the conditions for independent programming.

Well, the last thing that is often overlooked by traders is service contract. A well-written contract will always play in favor of the company, therefore, in order to choose a forex broker correctly, you need to understand well at what points in your trading a company can “cut you off” – refuse to pay profit, cancel transactions, and so on. It is very good if the company offers you to sign an agreement and sends a copy, at least electronically. Worse, when the contract is in the form of an offer on the site, this will allow you to easily change the conditions. Be sure to pay attention to which company you sign the contract with, is it the same company that received the license from the regulatory organization. It is also worth looking at the legal address of the company, because in case of disputes, the court will be held in this country.

Of course, if your deposit is small and you are just starting your professional career as a trader, then almost any company that is mentioned in the main forums and there are adequate reviews is suitable for you. But if you plan to trade in large amounts, then to the question “How to choose a forex broker?“, You need to approach responsibly.

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