suenos_lt, Home Buyer in Saint Petersburg, FL

What should I look for in a realtor?

Asked by suenos_lt, Saint Petersburg, FL Thu May 24, 2012

There is a very good possibility of us moving from Maryland to Florida - what should I be looking for in a realtor? We plan to buy. We currently own a home in MD and we found our awesome realtor by word of mouth. We don't know anyone in Florida.

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Pamela Cohn, Agent, Clearwater, FL
Sun May 27, 2012
Word of mouth & referred by people you know & respect are the best reccomendations any realtor can get. Since you don't know anyone in Florida it's time to you would anyone you are hiring to help you. The qualities you like in your current agent are your starting point to look for. A few key things to look for and ask about:

1. Is the agent a full time licensed REALTOR. If they are not able to earn their living in the profession, is this really someone you want assisting you with what are probably your largest financial purchases. A good agent earns their money. When you find an professional REALTOR you are happy with, stick with them. It may take weeks or it may take months and a realtor is not paid until the job is done- meaning closing on your house. If you are Realtor hopping, using several agents, knowing that only one is going to get paid, you are not setting up a good relationship. Be as committed to your agent as you want them to be to you. Not everyone is a good match and that's OK. Ask them for references.

2. Response & communication- the agent should get back to you, answer questions and follow up on information you have asked them to check out?

3. Where are you looking and what areas does the agent cover? You want someone that knows the market. If it's outside the agent's realm, most have a network they can refer you to, who knows that market better.

4. Agents should listen to your needs and send you properties that match them. Your first meeting or convesation should be going over all these questions. If you are considering Short Sales or REOs (bank owned propertied) there should be a consultation to understand what goes into them and if you are a good candidate. This process takes some honing. Even when dealing with clients long distance, once they get here, we sometimes find what they thought they wanted changes. Paying attention to the Buyer's signals is important.

5. Purchasing Power- are you financing or paying cash. If you are paying cash you will need to provide proof of funds. This can be a current bank statement, portfolio statement, 401 or a combination of the above. If financing do you have a lender or have your agent reccomend someone. You should get pre-approved before even looking. Two reasons. First you don't want to just find out how much you can be approved want to look at a monthly payment you are comfortable handling. Don't max yourself out. Life often gets messy and you want to be able to plan ahead. When looking at monthly payments make sure the lender does not just include principle & interest. You want an estimate for property taxes and insurance included so that you are working with a more accurate figure. Your agent can help you with these estimates. Then see what this payment will buy you. Get a good faith estimate, not just a pre-approval letter. You want to see all the costs to be able to compare. The second reason is if you think a house looks great, chances are you are not the only one and you want to be able to move. Our inventory is down. A lot of great homes are on the market a very short time. National news may be glum, but Real Estate is local and this may be the last year Pinellas County is "on sale".

6. Your agent will hone in on the properties matching your needs...BUT you will tell them the right house. If an agents needs to talk you into it....probably not the right match. They should go over the plus and minus of each property in relation to YOU & do a CMA (Comparative Market Analysis) for any property you are going to make an offer on?

7. The agent should go over the contract in detail, explaining your rights and responsibilities?

8. The agent should connect with your lender, the Title people and all those involved in the closing process. They should go to your inspections and encourage you to also, if at all possible; and meet the appraiser at the property when allowed.

I feel an informed client makes the best decisions regarding their real estate needs. Let me know if I can be of assistance.


Pam Cohn
Broker Associate, GRI, SFR, NHS
Real Estate Consulting, Marketing & Sales
Prudential Tropical Realty
2539 Countryside Blvd #3 Clearwater, FL 33761
1 vote
Stephen McRo…, Mortgage Broker Or Lender, Tampa, FL
Sat Jun 23, 2012
What if a realtor knew of a lender offering a 1.75% 30yr fixed rate with no points? Do you think they would tell thier clients about it? Click below…
0 votes
info, Home Buyer, Saint Petersburg, FL
Fri Jun 22, 2012
To be honest, to experienced and have a good knowledge of the area!

I am a Licensed Real Estate Broker, Loan Originator and Property Manager...with over 10 years experience and lived for over 30 years in this area.

I will be glad to help you, call me 727-432-2181 - Maggie
Web Reference:
0 votes
Stephen McRo…, Mortgage Broker Or Lender, Tampa, FL
Wed May 30, 2012
THIS IS NOT BRAIN SURGERY! Offer and Acceptance has been around for 10,000,000 yrs!

Take my advice as a Florida Mortgage Broker/ Real Estate Investor and retain as much of the Tax Free Home Equity in a purchase as possible.

The problem many have initially with what you're about to read below is that it seems too simple, too easy! I am a firm believer in "if it sounds too good to be true then it usually is."

...This is one case where that saying is wrong!

If a buyer has access to the internet, can fly in on Google Earth, has a GPS and willing to do initial property drive-bys in advance to eliminate properties they wouldn't even consider, they can save thousands of dollars in otherwise Forfeited Tax Free Home Equity in realtor commission Points!

For the opportunity to work with High Quality, Legitimately Pre Approved and Serious Buyers, the very Professional and Experienced Realtor partners I work with all over the state of Florida are willing to offer the following:

1. Help you locate, show you property and negotiate your best deal on any property

2. Answer all questions and return all calls and emails quickly

3. Work to Exceed your expectations of what it is to be a Professional Realtor

BUT THERE’S MORE…In addition to the above, they’re also willing to offer a Buyer’s Agent Credit saving to my Pre Approved Buyer referrals: (see examples below on a $200,000 and $500,000 purchase)

$200,000 purchase = Buyer’s Agent Credit up to $3,500.00 to Buyer

$500,000 purchase = Buyer’s Agent Credit up to $10,000 to Buyer

These Buyer’s Agent Credits are on the Closing Statement/ HUD shown as a Credit to pay towards things like:

1. Buyer’s Closing Costs

2. Interest Rate Reduction

3. Escrowed for Home Improvement and/or Repair

4. Gift Certificate to Home Depot, Lowes, etc.

And much more!

Why is a Mortgage Broker willing to assist buyers in this way?

1. Just like realtors will refer buyers to their “Preferred Lenders” for the best service, lowest rates and lowest costs, I do the same for my borrowers.

2. Right out of the gate, it makes me thousands of dollars a Better Deal than all other Mortgage Brokers or Banks!

3. Unlike 99.99% of all Mortgage Brokers and Loan Originators, who are completely dependent on realtors referring borrowers to them and would never dream of assisting borrowers in this way, I advertise heavily in Florida and receive referrals from prior clients, so borrowers contact me in advance of getting tied down to a realtor, therefore this allows me to assist borrower/buyers in this way.

Why would Realtors be willing to offer such a massive commission points saving to buyers?

1. These are Pre Approved referrals from the Mortgage Broker, and these deals close!

2. If they keep $4,000 that’s the equivalent to what they would make selling a $133,000 property, $5,000 equal to selling a $166,000 property, both of which they would take on as many as they otherwise possibly could if not a referral from a Mortgage Broker and risk working months only to find other buyers can’t close in the end.

3. These Realtors are Real Estate Brokers or Realtors who don’t have to split the 3% with their Broker and are willing to share this otherwise Forfeited Equity.

What happens if these Realtors who offer to do all of the above to not meet or exceed your expectations?

1. Just like any realtor, your simply FIRE THEM and can use whoever you wish.

2. I will cut them off from future referrals and send my Pre Approved Buyers referrals to other Realtor Partners who will offer this savings.

This is simply an unbeatable way of doing business, the Buyer gets their best overall deal on a purchase and mortgage loan (i.e. Lowest Rate and/or Closing costs paid for them) , the realtor makes good money selling a property and the Mortgage Broker does the loan, it’s a win, win, win deal for all!

Contact me to talk with one of these Realtors so they can answer questions about this program.

Steve McRory

Pro Option Mortgage/ Florida

Ph: 888 662 4404

Prior service U.S. Marine Corps
0 votes
Fred Yancy, Agent, Woodstock, GA
Wed May 30, 2012
12 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Real Estate Agent

Make sure you choose a real estate agent who will provide top-notch service and meet your unique needs.

How long have you been in residential real estate sales? Is it your full-time job? While experience is no guarantee of skill, real estate — like many other professions — is mostly learned on the job.

What designations do you hold? Designations such as GRI and CRS — which require that agents take additional, specialized real estate training — are held by only about one-quarter of real estate practitioners.

How many homes did you and your real estate brokerage sell last year? By asking this question, you’ll get a good idea of how much experience the practitioner has.

How many days did it take you to sell the average home? How did that compare to the overall market? The realtor you interview should have these facts on hand, and be able to present market statistics from the local MLS to provide a comparison.

How close to the initial asking prices of the homes you sold were the final sale prices? This is one indication of how skilled the realtor is at pricing homes and marketing to suitable buyers. Of course, other factors also may be at play, including an exceptionally hot or cool real estate market.

What types of specific marketing systems and approaches will you use to sell my home? You don’t want someone who’s going to put a For Sale sign in the yard and hope for the best. Look for someone who has aggressive and innovative approaches, and knows how to market your property competitively on the Internet. Buyers today want information fast, so it’s important that your realtor is responsive.

Will you represent me exclusively, or will you represent both the buyer and the seller in the transaction? While it’s usually legal to represent both parties in a transaction, it’s important to understand where the practitioner’s obligations lie. Your realtor should explain his or her agency relationship to you and describe the rights of each party.

Can you recommend service providers who can help me obtain a mortgage, make home repairs, and help with other things I need done? Because realtors are immersed in the industry, they’re wonderful resources as you seek lenders, home improvement companies, and other home service providers. Practitioners should generally recommend more than one provider and let you know if they have any special relationship with or receive compensation from any of the providers.

What type of support and supervision does your brokerage office provide to you? Having resources such as in-house support staff, access to a real estate attorney, and assistance with technology can help an agent sell your home.

What's your business philosophy? While there's no right answer to this question, the response will help you assess what’s important to the agent and determine how closely the agent’s goals and business emphasis mesh with your own.

How will you keep me informed about the progress of my transaction? How frequently? Again, this is not a question with a correct answer, but it reflects your desires. Do you want updates twice a week or do you not want to be bothered unless there’s a hot prospect? Do you prefer phone, e-mail, or a personal visit?

Could you please give me the names and phone numbers of your three most recent clients? Ask recent clients if they would work with this realtor again. Find out whether they were pleased with the communication style, follow-up, and work ethic of the real estate agent.
0 votes
Anne Clark, Home Buyer, Saint Petersburg, FL
Wed May 30, 2012
Hiya I got suckered in by one but I know someone that is very highly recommened and tells you all the dishes about the good and bad will let you know everything about certain properties. He is not about the money he is about finding you a home email me I will send you his information.

Good luck in your search!

0 votes
Christopher…, Agent, Tarrytown, NY
Fri May 25, 2012
Hi, Look for the same qualities that make your Marlyand agent so awesome :). Work with a buyers agent that is professional, understands all local laws, and has no problem being patient.

Christopher Pagli
Licensed Associate Broker
Accredited Buyer Representative
William Raveis Legends Realty Group
0 votes
Stephen McRo…, Mortgage Broker Or Lender, Tampa, FL
Fri May 25, 2012
Buying a home these days, regardless what some may try to make buyers believe, is certainly not rocket science! As a Florida Mortgage Broker and real estate investor, I know exactly what to do to get the very best deal on a property and make it very easy too! You can access listings here on Trulia and and I can have one of my realtor partners set you up on an auto-email as new listings hit the MLS, etc.

Just the same as realtors refer buyers to their "Preferred Lenders" to get the best deal, I do the exact same thing for my clients! Like in MD and 38 other states that allow Realtor Rebates, you can save thousands in otherwise forfeited tax free home equity by simply choosing to work with a Professional and knowledgeable Realtor who will not only work just as hard as other realtors, but to earn your business will also offer you a Buyer’s Agent Credit to pay your closing costs..or used it for pure Rate Reduction to help obtain the very LOWEST interest rate!

We’re not talking a couple hundred dollars either, we’re talking up to $4,000 Buyer’s Agent Credit on the purchase of a $250,000 property. Most would agree, this is a lot better than a re-gifted bottle of wine or a $100.00 gift certificate and a hug and closing!

Very few Florida Mortgage Brokers or lenders have this kind of pre-arranged massive savings for their borrower/buyers in place all over the state of Florida.

Read more on this US Dept of Justice website:

To talk with one of my Realtor partners about this savings contact me at:

To view a list of Loan Programs that allow Buyer's Agent Credit go to:

Steve McRory
Pro Option Mortgage/ Florida
888 662 4404
0 votes
John Edwards, Agent, Saint Petersburg, FL
Thu May 24, 2012
Word of mouth is good. Almost 100% of our business comes from satisfied customers who tell their friends and relatives about the excellent and attentive service that was provided to them.

A Realtor with years of experience is always helpful as the more sales you have the better your skills become in solving problems. I've been a full time Realtor in St. Petersburg since 1976.

Having a Realtor with practical home and remodeling experience helps. My partner and myself have re-habbed homes both personally and by over seeing work being done. This gives us insight into properties that is hard to come by unless one has taken a home physically apart and put it back together. I was in the construction trade before I got my real estate license.

We also have extensive experience in Property Management for both our own properties and for clients not wishing to manage their own any longer.

The main thing is Trust. Can you honestly trust and feel comfortable with the people you are going to work with.

John Edwards CRS and SFR certified
Dean and DeWitt Properties
0 votes
Maria Mercad…, Agent, Treasure Island, FL
Thu May 24, 2012
Listening skills. Experience. Negotiating skills to get you the best deal possible. Market knowledge. Personable. Responsiveness.
I would love the opportunity to chat about what you need, and help you find a place in the best place in FL;)

Maria Mercado-Stephens
Quality award pinnacle winner 2010-2011
Mobile 727-642-1151
0 votes
Terry Uli, Agent, Saint Petersburg, FL
Thu May 24, 2012
I would welcome giving you references from people that have utilized my services from around the world. Some qualities would be working knowledge of the market overall including schools, amentiies, etc., great customer service, one who listens to what the buyer is seeking, offers qualified and professional service to find the, not only the best home for the family, but a good investment. This is important since one never knows when they will have to move.

Being a USAA Preferred Agent, we train and are held accountable for our services. As well, I do a number of corporate relocations as well.

If you would like to ask me any questions, please feel free to do so.

Terry A Yimin
Broker Associate
USAA Preferred Agent
Century 21 Shaw Realty Group

0 votes
Joe Martino, Agent, Clearwater, FL
Thu May 24, 2012
My suggestion would be to talk to a few on the phone and see how they sound and also how responsive they are. It's good to have a comfortable working relationship with your realtor during your search and buying process to try to pick someone that you feel comfortable with after talking on the phone. By the way, I am very helpful, committed and would like a shot at helping you find a home here in St Pete.

Good luck,
0 votes
Tim Moore, Agent, Kitty Hawk, NC
Thu May 24, 2012
What makes your MD Realtor awesome? Look for those qualities in the next one.
0 votes
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