Choosing a real estate agent is the first important step in buying or selling a home. It’s also the most important decision you face to ensure everything goes smoothly. Working with a top agent is important and finding an agent is an important task.
When it’s time to pick your dream home or an investment home in Southwest Florida, sometimes the hardest part is choosing a real estate agent to help you with the home buying process from start to finish. Michael Polly, president and managing broker for Royal Shell Real Estate, said local knowledge is “extremely important.” Selecting a knowledgeable firm like Royal Shell in Southwest Florida sets your real estate journey on a successful path.
When Should I Start Talking With a Realtor®?
It’s never too early to talk to a Realtor® who is knowledgeable about areas where you are looking to buy a home. They can also provide you with information you may need to get your home ready to sell and help you answer this popular question: “Is it a buyers or sellers market?”
Polly said not to forget to talk to a Realtor® when considering buying a new construction home too. “Realtors® know all of the new construction updates in their communities and can help you compare those options with existing homes in other communities,” he said.
How Do I Choose the Right Real Estate Agent?
As Polly mentioned above, you start by choosing a real estate agent who is extremely knowledgeable about the community. You want to find a real estate agent you can trust too.
“Someone who has been in the area awhile, raised their kids there and knows the housing area and its resources are very important,” Polly said.
That knowledge also lends itself to a wealth of contacts in the area who help real estate buyers make a seamless real estate purchase.
Don’t be afraid to talk to real estate agents and treat it like a job interview to make sure you are comfortable with their answers. You want to choose the right person and the right real estate brokerage firm. You want an agent who works for you closely during all real estate transactions too.
“Someone with broad experience also gets you a wealth of contacts and the ability to master bargaining and negotiating for your home,” Polly said.
Should I Find a Realtor® or Lender First?
The answer? Always select the Realtor® first.
“Typically, a Realtor® will help guide a buyer to a lender who knows the specific area they are buying in,” Polly said.
This is where choosing a real estate agent with knowledge of the area comes into play again. Why? Knowledgeable real estate agents with deep ties to the area can connect you with everything from lenders, home repair companies, insurance companies and more to help you through the purchase.
“For instance, buying a house on a barrier island like Sanibel Island and Captiva Island comes with a lot of different knowledge of the area,” Polly said.
This includes everything from island home purchase prices to wind mitigation roof inspections, coastal construction lines, riparian rights, protected plants, and hurricane insurance deductibles to name a few.
Polly said it’s also important to choose an agent who has good listening skills. Buyers should be able to make their voices heard so a real estate agent can check off all the boxes that a buyer is looking for in a home.
Should You Use a Realtor® for a New Build?
A Realtor® can help you find the best home builders in the area where you are looking for a home, negotiate on your behalf and help with new build contract contingencies. Learn more with Royal Shell’s reasons why you should use a Realtor® for new construction.
What is the Difference Between a Realtor® and a Real Estate Agent?
For starters, a Realtor® is a trademarked term that is used to differentiate a real estate agent who is a member of the National Association of Realtors® (NAR).
“A real estate agent has taken all the tests to be licensed,” Polly said. “A Realtor® is also a member of the National Association of Realtors®.”
Members of the NAR pay an annual licensing fee that is renewed every year. These agents also complete continuing education courses before their licenses are renewed to stay apprised of all the latest real estate developments. In addition, a Realtor® has pledged to uphold a strict code of ethics. Working with a Realtor® means that person is committed to professionalism and to protect the public.
Once a licensed agent has become a Realtor® there are several advanced education designations. Some are just education and some are awarded based on education and actual performance.
Realtors® who are Certified Residential Specialists are a part of The Residential Real Estate Council. “These agents are in the top 4 percent of the nation and complete advanced training and meet significant requirements of both performance and education,” Polly said.
Other certifications to look for in a Realtor® include Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist (those with a CLHMS are able to list and market million dollar plus luxury properties) and Real Estate Negotiation Expert (RENE).
Tips for Choosing the Right Real Estate Agent
Now that you have the answers to the questions you need to find a real estate agent, let’s recap with a checklist of items that will help you find the right Realtor®:
Go with your gut and choose a Realtor® who has experience and someone with whom you can communicate well.
Find a patient Realtor®.
Look for a Realtor® who returns your calls in a reasonable timeframe.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions and ask for referrals.
Make sure the agent you choose listens more than they talk to ensure they know exactly what you want.
Look for local knowledge of the community above all else.
A Realtor® with customer service support and a team built around them is important.
Ask for market data for the neighborhood(s) in which you may want to buy or sell a property.
Connect with a Royal Shell Realtor® Today
Did you know Royal Shell Real Estate has all of the certifications and requirements outlined above? Royal Shell is a leader in the Southwest Florida real estate market and has agents who know the communities of Naples, Sanibel Island, Fort Myers and other areas.
We can help you find the perfect Florida home, whether it’s your forever home or you are buying a home as an investment. Take a look at everything we have to offer, which includes Naples real estate and Sanibel Island beach houses.
Use Royal Shell’s home finder today and contact Royal Shell today at 1-855-242-9926 to find the Realtor® who will help you find your home today!