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Old 01-13-2014, 04:17 PM
4 posts, read 7,342 times
Reputation: 12


My wife and I will be visiting the Sarasota area in March with the purpose of buying a condo/townhouse (an outside chance of a single family dwelling). Our upper limit is around $300,000.

Until now, everything we know about Sarasota and the housing market is through our research on the web, including this forum. What we'd like to know now is the most appropriate way to approach real estate agents to show us the various neighborhoods and properties for sale.

1) Should we contact individually the agents listed for particular properties, and deal with each one separately?

2) Should we contact one or more real estate agencies, tell what we're looking for, and pick one that sounds most helpful?

3) Is it appropriate to have more than one agent showing us around?

4) Is there a conflict of interest to have an agent showing us properties on which they're the listing agent?

We'd appreciate any advice as to the best/appropriate approach prior to our visit.
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Old 01-13-2014, 06:02 PM
Location: Lakewood Ranch, FL
5,663 posts, read 10,737,453 times
Reputation: 6945
IMHO, you will want to work with one agent as long as you stay within a certain area. For example, I know Sarasota/Bradenton/Lakewood Ranch pretty well but I'd be somewhat out of my element in some areas of Sarasota or Bradenton, as well as Venice or Northport or Apollo Beach. Some agents are willing to travel, some aren't. As long as you are dealing with one general area and the agent services that area, you should be fine. Just ask the agent. Once you decide on an agent, be loyal and use your agent for anything you consider. If you don't feel like the relationship is working, talk to your agent and let them know you are going to make a change. My personal view is that you should not sign an exclusive buyer-broker contract but others may have a different view and both are neither right nor wrong.

If you know people here, ask them for recommendations. If you don't know anyone, Sarasota Magazine has their Five Star professional award edition which might be available online. The company does independent research by surveying customers of closed transactions and awards the Five Star Professional designation to the top 7% (?) of agents with the highest customer service ratings. Or something like that. It is real research but it is also a vehicle for getting agents to run ads in the edition. Some do, some don't so don't let the ad size sway your judgement. Everyone in there scores very highly on customer service satisfaction. I'm sure the article explains it better but you get the idea. At least it can help you narrow down the choices.

Last edited by bbronston; 01-13-2014 at 06:13 PM..
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Old 01-13-2014, 10:16 PM
Location: Sarasota/ Bradenton - University Pkwy area
4,613 posts, read 7,531,187 times
Reputation: 6026
Bob gave you some good general advice. As to agents, I wouldn't necessarily suggest picks from the SRQ Magazine unless they do a lot of condo sales and know the condo markets in your price range. The agent should know the specific condo communities you are interested in, general info on the condo associations, as well as the overall condo market. Looking the info up on the MLS and actually knowing the condo market are two entirely different things.

I would recommend interacting with several agents at the beginning, then narrow it down to the one you feel best suits you before you actually visit Sarasota. As long as you are up front and honest with the agents, most will understand and probably work harder to get your business. And I agree, don't constrict yourself to an exclusive buyer agreement with one agent - you cannot purchase thru another agent during the specified time period of the agreement. If you decide after looking at properties with the agent that you aren't such a good fit after all, you're stuck.

You can search a public version of the local MLS at Florida Homes for Sale direct from MLS. It will give you a better idea as to what is currently on the market, the amenities of the various communities, curb appeal, etc.
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Old 01-14-2014, 05:13 AM
Location: Port Charlotte, FL
3,979 posts, read 10,545,164 times
Reputation: 1940
How to choose a Realtor. First you could ask others for a recommendation. Have them describe their experience with the agent and ask why they are recommending that person. You want to choose someone that you feel comfortable in working with.

It is not as important to find a Realtor who has sold the most homes, has the most experience or works for the largest and most well-known company as it is to find someone that is professional. You want an agent that will listen to you, uses ethical conduct, and knows the market.

You can also attend open houses and meet real estate agents. See how they interact with you and answer your questions. Pay attention to how they show the home. Take notes and collect business cards. Then you can compare the agents you saw.

Look at web sites of Realtors or real estate agents. Read any testimonials they have. Call them up and ask questions about their experience and how they work with buyers. Get a feel for them and what they can do for you.

You also want an agent that will work within your schedule. Most of the time it needs to be someone who works as an agent full-time. They are available days, nights, and weekends. Not all agents work the same way. Find one that you are comfortable with. Trust your instincts.

It is not recommended to contact the listing agent for each property. If you work with one agent, they get to know you and your specific needs and wants. It also uses up much more time if you schedule a showing for each individual property with a different agent. One agent can schedule the showings and take you to several properties on the same day.
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Old 01-15-2014, 12:42 PM
2,407 posts, read 3,187,271 times
Reputation: 4346
From a non-agent, I would find an agent that you can work with for a specific area and stick with that agent. Working with one agent gives him/her an opportunity to get to know what you want. If they're good, they'll set up a search so each morning when they log in they'll check the new listings and be able to let you know if something comes up right away.

They can also provide valuable referral services. Our agent referred us to a house monitor. She also helped pick out colors for paint and carpet. (She has a Fine Arts degree). I sent down samples and said, "Pick the one that looks best from these samples". Did the same for the carpeting.

It's much simpler to have only one contact point.
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Old 01-16-2014, 06:28 AM
13,768 posts, read 38,186,004 times
Reputation: 10689
As a reminder to recommend a realtor please send a Direct message.

There are some great real estate agents who offer free advice here from their experience and views on different areas.
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