Whether you are planning to move to a new destination like Naples, Florida, or you are interested in picking up an investment property to add to your portfolio, you’ll typically want the help of a real estate agent. Agents can help you locate properties that meet your needs and they can also handle the paperwork and negotiations once you’ve located the property you want.
While there are plenty of real estate agents to choose from in places like South Florida, these 10 questions are a way to single out the best real estate agents in the area.
1. Are You a Full Time Real Estate Agent?
One of the first questions to ask a potential real estate agent is whether this is their full-time career. There are a number of real estate agents who work nontraditional or part-time hours, and they can still be great at what they do.
However, most buyers would prefer to work with someone who eats, thinks, breathes and lives real estate. A full-time real estate agent may be easier to contact and more readily available to show you properties according to your schedule.
2. Do You Live in the Area?
Although you don’t need their specific address, be sure to find out where your real estate agent currently lives as well as where they called home in the past. For example, a real estate agent who has lived and worked in places like Bonita Springs, Naples, Estero and Marco Island will be familiar with the entire region and may be better able to recommend certain locations to you. You definitely want a realtor who knows the target area that you want to explore.
3. How Many Clients are You Currently Working With?
There are two big reasons to ask this question of a potential real estate agent. The first is to ensure that they have at least some clients. Although being the sole client of your real estate agent might seem like a good thing, since you’ll get undivided attention, it might also be a sign that they don’t have a great reputation in the area.
Secondly, a realtor who has experience can certainly help you find the type of property with more ease and assurance than one who hasn’t had much experience in the industry.
4. How Many Homes Have You Bought or Sold in the Last Year?
A popular question to ask a potential real estate agent is how many houses they have sold. Don’t ask about the past month: real estate agents can have good and bad periods like everyone else. However, find out how many properties they have bought or sold over the past year.
Someone who can sell a number of houses in a tough economy, or can help buyers find their dream homes when finding regulations are tougher than ever, will be someone that you definitely want to have on your side during the buying process.
5. Can I Contact Your Past Clients as References?
The very best real estate agents will have a great relationship with most of their past clients. In fact, knowing that agents handle repeat purchases for sellers and buyers is one of the top signs to look for.
If you don’t know anyone who has personally used the real estate agent in question, feel free to ask them directly for a reference. While online reviews are helpful, sometimes the best option is to call a previous client directly and confirm that the real estate agent was communicative, helpful and knowledgeable.
6. How Are You Paid?
Money is a touchy issue in any industry, but it is often better in real estate to get it out on the table. A real estate agent should be comfortable sharing how they make a living. Typically, it is through commission, and six percent is the standard. If this varies in any way, don’t be afraid to ask a few questions and get a better understanding.
Agents who are upfront and clear about this are often the ones that will be the best choice for you to work with when buying property in Florida.
7. How Many Homes Are You Willing to Show Me?
This might sound like a strange question. After all, the dream is to spot the one property that meets your requirements right away. However, it is important to find a real estate agent who doesn’t mind going the extra mile to ensure that you walk away with the right property.
If you like a golf course home or a beachfront apartment, you shouldn’t feel pressured into buying it until you’ve seen a few comparable properties. The right answer to this question is, “As many as it takes!”
8. What Sets You Apart from the Competition?
This can definitely be a tough question to answer, but real estate agents with experience and knowledge will be able to list out a number of reasons they are the top pick in the area. Some of the best things to look for include the years of experience in the area, their strong relationships with past clients, an extensive networking system that helps them find properties before they hit the market and great communication skills so that everyone is kept in the loop throughout the buying or selling process.
9. How Can I Reach You?
In some cases, time will be of the essence. You might need to jump on the opportunity to see a home before other potential buyers make an offer, or you might need to communicate about a potential purchase in a hurry.
To ensure that you and your real estate agent are on the same page, find out how they prefer to communicate. If you are more of an email person, find someone who is the same way. If you hate talking on the phone but text constantly, let them know. Also, be sure to find out what their “office” hours are and when will be the best time to get in touch.
10. What Areas Are the Hottest in South Florida – and Why?
Naples is a sprawling area with a little something for everyone. Ultimately, it is the buyers needs and budget that will determine whether a big golf course home, a canal home, a beachfront apartment or a condo will be best, but getting input your from real estate agent is invaluable.
Find out what they have to say, and use their knowledge and experience when deciding on where to start looking at available properties.
Not all real estate agents in Naples are alike. Asking these 10 questions can help you narrow down the choices and select the best agent to help you find property in South Florida.