This number may surprise you... did you know that there are over 7,000 real estate agents in Naples, Florida. Yes, that was not a typo where I threw in an extra zero mistakenly! If you live in the Naples area, that number may not surprise you as you likely know a number of them yourself.
The good news is that with that many real estate agents, you have a large variety to pick from. The challenge is where to start. Imagine if they were all Walmart greeters... a little overwhelming, right?
When you start to dissect that number, you realize a very sizable portion of them are not actively working in real estate. They simply hold their license for that rare occasion to help a family member or friend. Another big chunk of the population do it as a side-job in order to enjoy their free time but still get some occasional stimulation. Some of these may be the ones that don't get back to you right away when you call or send an email. I know I experienced this with the first 4 real estate agents I contacted when I was relocating to Naples. Don't get me wrong, there are some fantastic real estate agents in this grouping. However, if you are looking for someone who approaches this as a full time commitment to serve their customers, then your pool to choose from is actually much smaller.
Now that we have narrowed the field a bit, how can you make sure you pick the right Realtor® for you? Here are some things to consider:
Make sure you pick a Realtor®... not all real estate agents are Realtors®. Realtors® are held to high standards as a part of their commitment and obligations. They are also part of a vast network that can bring value to you as a customer.
A friend or family member may not always be the best option... Unless they are a crackerjack full-time agent who specializes in your neighborhood, he or she is unlikely to do as good of a job as another agent. This is a major transaction after all, so make sure you assess all options.
Cheaper is not always better... with some sellers, commission becomes the deciding factor and they may opt to go with the agent that was willing to reduce the commission rate for the sale of their home. Proceed with caution. If the commission on your house is lower than the competition, you run the risk of other properties with more attractive commission rates being prioritized by agents supporting buyers. One area worth discussing is a slightly lower commission if the selling agent ends up both listing and selling the house.
Getting the most experienced real estate agent isn't the end-all-be-all. There is no argument that experience is valuable. However, working with the most experienced agent doesn't guarantee you the best service. Often, these agents are dealing with high volumes of customers, which could make it challenging to get the individualized attention and service you deserve. There is something to be said about an agent who has fire in their belly and is pounding the pavement for you.
Don't take the first one. As with any important transaction, take the time to interview two or three choices. What worked well for a neighbor may not be the best chemistry for you. If your agent is working hard on your behalf, you could be looking at spending some considerable time working together. It's worth the investment of up-front time to explore your options before committing in one direction.
Nothing is forever. If you are with an agent and it isn't working out, don't be bullied into staying with them. Certainly, you may have a contract with that agent that creates a commitment. However, there was a level of service that is assumed when you made that commitment. If that level of service is not being provided, go and speak to the Broker about options and explore early termination.