Some really great answers to this question. Here is what I tell my buyers:
Lee County, Fl is a very special place. Things are different here than the rest of the country. We have foreclosures, short sales, regular sales, we have part of the city on city water and part on well/septic, we have salt water lots and freshwater lots, we have older homes and newer homes, our city was one of the first places to get hit with the housing bust. With all of these different sets of criteria, each home has to be treated differently when comparing prices.
It is extremely important that your agent is knowledgable in all of these areas. A knowledgable agent can show you real comparables and help you understand the value in each of these areas. You will need to compare size, age, taxes, location, etc.............Typically we see a 3% - 8% discount on listing prices. But buyer beware, when a home is listed under price or at market, it is common to have a multiple offer situation. (We see this mostly with foreclosures).
Agent to Agent communication is extremely important when negotiating deals. If you like your agent and find them friendly. Most likely so will other agents. When two agents get along and understand the business. This helps your transaction tremendously.
Good Luck with your search and WELCOME TO Waterfront Wonderland!