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You must know the market when showing a property

February 25, 2011
By MARIO D'ARTAGNAN, Real Estate in Perspective

Last week's article focused on reducing the number of homes shown to buyers. Today's topic parallels that discussion.

In conversation with some of my peers, a discussion ensued about agents from the Naples area or even Miami making appointments to show property in Fort Myers and Cape Coral. Unless those agents really know this local market, they have no business driving here, just like I would have no business driving to Naples to sell a house in a market I knew nothing about.

The best solution to handle a situation where a customer wants to look at other areas of Southwest Florida is to refer the customer to an agent that knows that particular market. You can still negotiate a nice referral fee, and you won't run the risk of getting yourself into trouble by making a statement that may be false. Agents refer business all the time. Not only does it make you stand out as a professional, but the other agent will appreciate the referral and one day reciprocate.

Times are challenging and I can appreciate the fact that real estate agents would like to make a sale and get paid the full commission on a transaction. However, is the compensation so important that he or she would risk losing their license? I think it would be fun to listen in on a discussion between a prospect and an agent especially when the prospect starts asking specific questions that are germane to a local market. It would be interesting to hear some of the responses given by that agent in an attempt to come across as intelligent.

There comes a time when you must realize your limitations of expertise. Frankly, there are areas of Lee County that I still feel uncomfortable with, and would have no problem referring the customer to an agent who is more knowledgeable. Crossing county lines could create a world of differences with respect to property values, amenities, school systems, utilities and taxes. Even the price of gasoline changes from county to county, city to city.

Although Florida real estate licensees can legally list and sell property anywhere in the state of Florida, this would not be practical because of the reasons I just cited. If you are a buyer or seller, you should be asking your agent what his or her experience is in certain markets. If you are not satisfied with the answer, ask your agent to refer you to someone who knows that market.

Mario D'Artagnan is a broker associate with Miloff Aubuchon Realty Group, Inc. He is a former investigator for the Florida Real Estate Commission. He is also a former real estate instructor and keynote speaker on the topic of agency law. He is a published author and veteran of the U.S. Air Force. For questions or comments, contact Mario at: or 239-565-4445.



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