Finding the best realtor to help you with your investment property purchases may be very different than choosing a realtor to locate or sell your primary residence. For starters, experience in this type of unique search and purchase is critical in getting the right types deals in front of you. Now how do you find the “right” agent to support your goals? Getting Referrals from other investors is one of the most reliable sources since you can pre-determine if the agent’s skills do or do not match your needs simply by asking someone who has used them. It can’t be overstated how important it is to build your own network through investment groups, blogs from seasoned investors, social media, podcasts, etc. You might also contact your trusted personal agent to make recommendations….often within any brokerage there are at least a couple of people or teams who specialize in investment properties. If you’re still having trouble getting quality referrals?? One strategy I’ve used is just to ask! Drive through an area where you think you’d like to invest…see what rehab projects are going on….stop by and just ask who is responsible for the project. Many times seasoned investors are glad to sit down over coffee or a drink to chat through some of your questions or concerns.
Once you begin to set up some meetings, a few questions to ask a potential realtor or realtors may include:
1. Are they really experienced in working with investors or have they only “dabbled” in this market, let’s say with their Uncle Tommy….maybe helping him buy a rental property one time? How many investors have they worked with or are they currently working with? Do they have the time and resources to take on another investor?
2. Are they seasoned investors themselves? It shouldn’t be your role to “teach” your realtor about the different dynamics of this type of purchase or explain common RE investing terms (eg “double close”, “hard money”, “off market”, etc). Additionally, sometimes only another investor would be the best choice in understanding your individual needs and goals.
3. What resources and relationships do they currently have? Do they have relationships with investor friendly title companies? The right realtor will typically work with just a handful of title companies that are more familiar with investment deals, clearing title, etc. Do they have the resources to find off market properties? The majority of the most appealing and potentially lucrative deals are not from a “for sale” sign or a search on MLS but instead are off-market properties that you can only find by either sourcing the deals yourself or through your network and relationships that have been built over the years.
Finding the “right” realtor is an important step in navigating you through the search and closing process. I would encourage you to candid and up front with your agent when communicating your needs or investment goals. Don’t tell them you are going to buy 100 homes this year if you really only intend to buy 1 or 2. Also be candid about your goals – buy and flip, wholesale, buy and hold etc. Trust me, your agent won’t be impressed with hollow words or promises….they’ve probably heard it all before!
There are numerous resources available to help you find and choose the right fit, and it is up to you to do your research and work through the discovery process. It can be wise to “test” several agents after you have initially screened them. Give them a shot at earning your business and see what kind of deals they bring you and if their work style matches yours. The right realtor can be a key member of your team, helping you become successful deal after deal. Put some real effort and thought into who you want to help you and ask the right questions to make sure have a realtor who understands your business and your goals.