Homebuyers are savvy and becoming more so every day. They know they can look for properties online and do plenty of research on their own before ever talking to a Realtor. They’re also quite aware that all agents have access to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). So when a buyer asks me what sets me apart from the 13,000 other Realtors® in Naples, I need something better than “access to listings” as an answer.
When I get this question (as I frequently do), I have several answers.
Personalized Off-Market Listings
All agents have access to the same database of listings in the MLS. That’s why buyers can receive the same listing offers from any agent you speak with. The only exception to that are the Private Placements listings that Premier Sotheby’s offers.
For a variety of reasons, we have homeowners who do not want to advertise their properties on the MLS and other websites. Once I know a buyer’s tastes and more about their needs (usually after they select a few of their favorite homes from the email I send and after viewing a few homes) I can match our off-market properties to their specific needs.
Off-market listings aren’t enough of a reason to choose an agent to work with, though. Most large brokers offer a similar option. Other personality traits and factors are important, as well.
Second (or third or fourth) home purchases take time. There are usually several things that need to happen in your life before you are able to put in an offer. The agent you choose to work with should understand that. It’s not unusual for clients I work with to take two or three years before they’re ready to buy.
However, I never abandon them and just wait around for them to be ready to make an offer. During this “waiting” time we were always in close contact. I spend this time helping them understand the market, learn the Naples area, and occasionally show homes during their visits in town. What I don’t do is push or pressure them to make any decisions. I wait for them to be ready, and they know I’m here if they have questions.
I consider myself an advisor more than a salesperson. In order to provide good advice, one needs to listen. Most of the time that means listening to things clients aren’t saying. Paying attention to what gets their attention, how they view homes, and what features they love most helps me advise buyers best.
During my almost 20 years in real estate, it’s happened more than once that my listening skills really helped my clients find their dream home. Sometimes it’s in a completely different neighborhood than they thought they wanted, and sometimes a completely different style of home than they originally looked at. Many of those buyers are still enjoying their homes today. In some cases, buyers have a hard time articulating what would make them happy or what’s really important. By listening and paying attention (and asking questions), I help them find what they love most.
I Know the Neighborhood
Most seasonal buyers spend a very limited amount of time in Naples. Most of the time, they visit while on vacation and spend their time doing fun stuff -- not wandering around neighborhoods. During these visits, it’s impossible to learn the town from the perspective of a future homeowner. It’s up to me to point out things that are important but not obvious.
It’s knowing that a street is frequently closed during activities in town and the home you want is in the middle of that block. It’s having heard of a new development that will change the landscape and the traffic significantly around the home you’re looking at. It may also be demographics of a particular community. Buyers may love the home but may not love the constant stream of kids’ birthday parties at the clubhouse while they’re at the pool. These factors can make your second home either a dream or a nightmare.
My Negotiation Skills
Ultimately, the goal of your search is to find a home and negotiate the best terms possible for you as a buyer. In order to accomplish that for my clients, I am constantly sharpening my negotiating skills. That includes reading books, listening to podcasts, joining groups that help me improve, and taking classes.
I have taken several advanced negotiating courses over the years including when I sold real estate in Chicago. I also invest tons of time and money in seminars and conferences. The most recent was in Austin, TX in October where our trainer was Chris Voss, a former FBI hostage negotiator. He was by far the best negotiating trainer I’ve ever had the privilege of learning from. In order to get my clients the best deal, I keep my negotiating skills sharp and never stop learning.
I Pay Attention to the Details
Once your offer is accepted, you want everything to go smoothly from the beginning to the day you get the keys to your new home. This is where my role is once again very important. Transactions have deadlines, dates to keep, and protocols to follow. It is my responsibility to be one step ahead, to anticipate every possible scenario that could happen, and make sure we avoid anything that could go wrong. And, I am very good at what I do.
I believe buying a home, in reality, has very little to do with the structure of the home, but everything to do with your personal lifestyle changes and the pride of accomplishment in your life. With second homes, they are not a need in the same way a primary residence may be but proof that your dreams have come true. In many cases, this accomplishment finally puts in perspective the reasons why you worked so hard and missed kids’ birthdays and anniversaries. It’s finally time to enjoy the fruits of your hard work. Helping in that process is my joy end my area of expertise.
Ready to buy or sell? Let’s talk!