If you are just starting out, a good realtor can be your most important asset. A quality real estate agent can help secure and close more deals than you ever thought imaginable. However, not every successful realtor knows what a good investment property is or knows how to find them. Before you get going, take time and find the best possible realtor for you and your business. In most cases, this may not be the one that closes the most properties, but knows what you are looking for and how to find it. If you and your realtor are on the same page, it will make your first year in the business that much easier.
Before you find the right realtor, you should have an idea of what you are looking for. Even if you have only closed a handful of deals, you should have a business plan in place detailing what you are looking for. You should know what types of properties, in what condition, at what location and in what price range you want to buy. The more detailed you are with what your goals are, the better your realtor will be able to find what you want. If you just walk into a local office and tell them you want to purchase investment properties, you could end up seeing houses you have no desire to buy. You and your realtor can work together, but it is up to you to take the first step by having some idea of your goals and what you want out of a real estate investment.
You should treat working with a new realtor much in the same fashion that you would with any new member of your investing team. You have every right to ask them enough questions and find out information. Not only is this practical, but it is also very important to your business. If you work with a realtor that doesn’t know how to find investment properties or doesn’t know what is required in a short sale offer, you will end up losing business. Ask prospective realtors what their experience is working with investors. Odds are that most have worked with an investor is some capacity at some point. If they have not, you can ask which ways they would recommend that you find good investment properties. They may be the top listing agent in their office, but if they don’t know how to find or work investment deals, they may not be the best agent for you.
Although the popularity of short sales has declined in recent years, there are still plenty of good deals available. Since a majority of transactions between 2010-2013 were short sales, most realtors are familiar with the process. Even if you don’t plan on focusing on short sales, you should inquire as to whether or not they know what the process entails and if they are comfortable in doing it. Short sales can be a great amount of work for a realtor – sometimes with little or no return. They may have gotten burned on a short sale that lasted months and vowed to stay away from them at all costs. This is important to know. If you see a property you are interested in, but it is a short sale, you may need to find someone else to work with.
As with most every relationship, the more you can get on the table from the outset, the stronger the bond will be. You should take time to grab a cup of coffee with every realtor you consider using. If you are constantly calling your realtor and asking them to show you properties without ever making an offer, you can believe they will lose motivation in working with you. Even though you are the investor and they make money only if you close, there is a certain amount of work that is required on your end. At the very least, you should do some basic legwork on the property and the location before you are ready to see the interior. In doing so, your relator will know that you are serious and want to go the extra mile. If you can be on the same page from the first property you see, you will close more deals and be much more productive.
You can find a quality realtor in almost any real estate office. The difference is when you can find one that truly knows the investment business and is constantly working to get deals. If you find the right realtor, you should value their relationship and not take advantage of it. They have other clients they work with and don’t need you to be calling them twice a day asking if you have anything new. Instead of having to pay for leads and deal with mailers, a quality investment realtor can provide you with higher quality leads that have a better chance of closing. Working with the right realtor may take some trial and error, but once you find the right relator they will help take your business to the next level.