How to Choose the Right Real Estate Agent
Since you only get to choose ONE Real Estate Agent to work with when you are looking to purchase, it’s important to get this step right! We have put together a quick guide to teach you how to choose the right real estate agent for your Naples home buying journey.
Great Real Estate Agents should have access to all offered properties in and around Naples! In Southwest Florida, the MLS covers – Naples, Marco Island, Bonita Springs, Estero, Cape Coral, Fort Myers, Lehigh Acres, Boca Grande, Pine Island, Matlacha, Sanibel Island and some other small Islands.
In addition to the MLS memberships and listings, a great agen can search for and show you properties listed from other agents and companies in the area, homes for sale by owner (FSBO) and also New Construction. Great real estate agents work closely with developers to help buyers see comparable new homes that will be coming to market.
Beyond the listings and relationships they’ve developed, the perfect fit real estate agent should also connect with you on personal level as well. Chemistry, trust, values and understanding can all play a major factor in how to choose the right real estate agent.
Let’s explore each of these areas in depth and talk about why each are important to Naples home buyers in particular.
MEMBERSHIP IN A MULTIPLE LISTING SERVICE (MLS)
Multiple Listing Services (MLS) are the lifeblood of the real estate industry but believe it or not, membership in an MLS is not required for the practice of real estate brokerage! Though we strongly suggest that when researching how to choose a real estate agent, you choose one that does belong to at least one MLS.
While the MLS may look like one large national database, it’s actually a suite of approximately 700 regional databases. And they’re quite territorial: Each regional MLS has its own listings, and agents pay dues to access and post homes on each one. This is why agents who want a broader reach for their clients may become a member of more than one MLS.
So more than just asking if an agent belongs to an MLS, be sure to ask which MLS’s they are members of and what areas or territories each covers.
DIVERSITY OF OPTIONS – THE MLS ISN’T ALWAYS ENOUGH
There are times when just being a real estate agent and member of one or several MLS’s isn’t enough. For instance, you’d want to have an agent in your corner when planning to build a brand new home. And because purchasing new home construction is more complicated and intimidating than buying a resale home, you want to find a real estate agent that has dealt in new construction transactions before! Experience matters here!
Experience also matters when dealing with FSBO sellers. Traditionally, for sale by owner (FSBO) homes were not listed on MLS systems. However, some do negotiate with an Agency to have them list the property on the MLS for a flat fee. But often times, conducting transactions with FSBO sellers can be more difficult than if they had listed with an agent. Beyond just showing or getting you into a FSBO property, one of the jobs as a buyer agent is to protect you during all stages of the transaction.
Because we will be dealing with an inexperienced seller (someone who has likely never sold a property before) and not a sellers agent (which is a certified real estate agent/broker) you’ll want an experienced real estate agent that knows how to best handle FSBOs. Among other things, negotiating, written contigencies and using 3rd party escrow services for earnest money deposits are paramount.
THE PERSONAL CONNECTION
Buying a home in Naples is no small task, nor a small investment in time or money. The bare minimum it takes for a home transaction to close by law is 30 days. That is only if nearly every other stage of the home buying journey has been completed! Things like property searches, travel and open house visits often takes weeks or months to accomplish!
Needless to say, your real estate agent and you will be spending an incredible amount of time together! It’s important that you conduct a thorough interview with them before committing to their Buyer Agent Agreement. This interview and agreement serves you and the agent greatly – it makes sure you are good match for each other during this lengthy journey and it protects the agent from spending their resources on a job they may not get compensated for otherwise.
- Find an agent that you feel good dealing with.
- Who asks about your needs and wishes and acts on them
- Who fine tunes their property search to meet your needs and feedback from each showing
- Who does not push you in any one direction
- Someone who is knowledablge in the local market and knows the area well, and finally,
- Someone who is educated about the local real estate laws and tax implications surrounding your investment.
The ideal real estate agent will not only search for the right property, they’ll lead you through all the purchasing process and will offer you their network of specialists for different work that may be needed to be done at your new home. They’ll take charge of helping you through all the paperwork to ensure the closing process is watertight and they will always be reachable or fast to respond. Finally, they should be available to you even after the deal is closed to be your long term subject matter and area expert.