How to Find an Investor Friendly Realtor

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Finding a real estate agent that is investor friendly is not as simple as finding an agent to buy or sell the average home.

Real estate investing works under a different set of standards than buying or selling a home to live in, and it requires particular knowledge and a set of skills that not every Realtor possesses.

If you are considering real estate investing, you need to find the right agent and the right area to begin your investment search.

Finding the Right Agent

Ideally, every real estate agent should know about buying and selling homes. However, most agents focus on working with people who want to buy a property to keep – either to live in or to use for other purposes, such as housing a business. In contrast, not as many agents are familiar with the process of using real estate as an investment option. You want your purchase to ultimately yield you a profit – something only certain agents are capable of assisting with.

You need to find an agent that understands real estate investing. Look for these qualities in your next agent:

Related: The Real Estate Agent’s Ultimate Guide to Working with Investors

Personal Investment Experience

Ideally, you want an agent who has done his or her own real estate investing. It does not necessarily have to be substantial, but it is helpful if they have gone through the process on their own. This ensures familiarity with investing on a personal level, not simply as an agent. Agents like this will understand your motivations, and will be easier to work with in general.

Comfortable Making Offers

Real estate investing can require making numerous offers, often all during the same day. You are trying to get a seller to bite on the lowest possible offer you can manage, and this sometimes requires throwing out numbers one after another until something sticks. Not every agent is capable of doing this, as it requires a stomach for numerous rejections, and the ability to weather negative feedback from sellers and their agents.

Experience Working With Investors

There is no substitute for an experienced agent when you are trying to make money buying real estate. You want an agent who has worked with other investors, preferably three or more. It is not that you cannot hire an eager newcomer, but you should be prepared to learn the process together if you go this route. If you are looking for the fastest path to success, experience is usually the way to go.

A Good Reputation With Other Investors

If the agent has some experience, he or she should also have some references. Call each reference and discuss the individual’s experience with the agent. Not every real estate investment will be successful, and people that lose money may have negative things to say even if the agent was not responsible for the loss. However, most investors will be aware enough to hold criticisms to the actual work of the agent, not the quirks of the market.

Honesty and Integrity

Look for an agent who will give it to you straight. This means that if he or she is not comfortable throwing out ridiculous low-ball offers to sellers, the agent will inform you. Honest agents will explain to you upfront what they are and are not willing to do to help you in the investment process. Some are glad to help with flipping houses, while others may prefer the steadier route of buying and holding.

The best agent for you is one that lays everything on the table at the beginning, leaving you to decide if the fit is right. Integrity goes a long way in business, and should be a priority when picking a real estate agent for investing.

Local

Picking a Realtor For InvestingThis is one of the biggest reasons why you seek out an agent. If you are like many investors, you are looking for where the market is prime for buying low and eventually selling high. This area may not be in your hometown or anywhere near it, which means you need someone with his or her finger on the pulse of the area market you are considering.

A good local agent can also help you avoid any area scams that attempt to take advantage of unsuspecting outsiders.

It may take some time, some searching and several interviews before you find an investor friendly agent in the town or city you want, but it can be done. Just don’t make the mistake of picking an agent that does not know the local market – even if he or she is perfect otherwise.

Markets Primed For Investment

Real estate markets are constantly shifting, making it impossible to pin down the best market for investing on a consistent basis. However, there are some markets that are ideal right now for investing in homes.

Some of these include:

Baltimore, MD

Baltimore is an excellent place for real estate investing due to its close proximity to Washington, D.C. The nation’s capitol continues to expand outward, and prices there continue to rise. Those living in the city need a more affordable place to live, making nearby Baltimore an appealing locale. Baltimore may soon be considered a reasonable commute if trends continue, making it a prime place to buy up properties before prices increase.

Austin, TX

Realtor.com considers the Silicon Hills in Austin to be one of the hottest areas for real estate investing in the country. The city continues to grow, and increasing numbers of businesses are choosing to make the city their home. All of this adds up to an ideal combination for real estate investors. The opportunity will not last forever, though, making prompt action a necessity.

Tucson, AZ

Tucson has suffered from a substantial foreclosure rate for some time, but the market is slowly picking back up again. Savvy investors can still pick up many properties here for good prices, and if they are willing to hold on to them for a while, they should be able to make significant returns.

Find Your Market, And Find Your Agent

There is no sure way of being successful in real estate investing. However, you can increase your chances of making a profit by choosing the right market and the right agent for that market. Use this information as a guide, and do your best to find the right agent that works for you. Remember never be hasty when it comes to real estate investing.

Do your home work until you are reasonably satisfied you will be making the profit you expect to achieve!

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About Author

Bill Gassett is a nationally recognized Real Estate leader who has been helping people move in and out of the Metrowest Massachusetts area for the past twenty six plus years. While his real estate business covers numerous towns, Framingham Massachusetts and Hopkinton Massachusetts where he grew up, have been a major focus. He has been one of the top RE/MAX Realtors in New England for the past decade. In 2012 he was the #1 RE/MAX agent in all of New England. Connect with him on 

14 Comments

  1. Great article!

    I do have a question for you though. As somebody who is getting his RE license very soon and looking to begin working as an agent who specializes in investing, what would you suggest as to how to successfully get started?

    While I am very excited about getting my license, the thought of being a “traditional” agent who focuses on regular home buyers doesn’t interest me in the least. In my opinion, good, trustworthy agents who understand investing are very hard to come by which leaves great opportunities.

    Any thoughts to a beginning agents side of things?

    • I’m considering the same thing. I’d be interested in hearing opinions on the best way to approach this.

      With my 2nd inv property I was lucky to have a very experienced broker (also a friend) who knew exactly what she was doing and who inspired me to get into it full-time.

  2. Sharon Vornholt

    Bill –

    I couldn’t agree more. When I was brand spankin’ new (and didn’t know any better), I had a Realtor friend help me with my first few deals. She was a member of my REIA group, so she certainly knew what she was doing. Right?

    Wrong. I loved her dearly, and she was a great real estate agent. But I would find out not too much later that she really didn’t have a clue what a good deal was for an investor was. I paid too much for my first couple of properties. They were discounted for sure, but not enough.

    You are right in saying to ask if they actually invest themselves. It makes a huge difference in terms of whether they have their “investor hat or their Realtor hat” on.

    Sharon

  3. Finding a real estate agent that is willing work for FREE until one of your offers gets accepted isn’t always easy. Finding an agent willing to help you send multiple offers on dozens of properties demands an agent who believes you will pull the trigger when the deal is good and someday one of your offers will stick.

  4. Excellent article and very helpful. I am looking for an investor friendly real estate agent for the Milwaukee area and I have not found one yet. If anyone on this site knows of one, please let me know.

    • Yvette, were you ever able to find an investor-friendly agent in the Milwaukee area? If not, I’d be more than happy to refer you to one. My broker, Keller Williams Realty, has a global network of agents that we all refer one another to…I’d be happy to reach out to a fellow KW agent in Milwaukee that specializes in investment properties for you.

  5. Although honesty and integrity are essential with any transaction, I think it’s even more sought out when you’re working with investors. Most investors are looking for a long-term agent to work with – someone who can help them buy/sell multiple properties over the course of a year or more. Building this type of relationship is what makes an investor stick with their agent once they find him or her.

  6. Bill,

    Great info on the importance of finding a Real Estate agent who specializes in investment properties. That’s a niche not many agents have the experience needed to help buyers/investors make informed decisions in my opinion.

  7. I agree with your article from the investor’s perspective. But you also have to look at the other side. An experienced Realtor is less likely to work with a beginning investor, because he/she does not know, if the investor will perform, actually buy a property, or is just a tire kicker. That’s why many investors end up working with new, inexperienced Realtors who are hungry to make a cheap commission and work extra hard for it.

    An experienced Agent will want to work with you as an investor, if you have cash or a good pre-approval letter, if you are realistic in your expectations, not just try to low-ball retail homes, and most importantly, if there’s a good chance of multiple buy-sell transactions.

    • I agree with Kurt on this (I’m a full-time Realtor and LT hold/rent investor).

      I would have little time for a tire kicker and I would have even less time for a low ball investor who wants me to write 25+ offers with the hopes of getting 1 to accept.

      I would have time for someone who wants to learn how I have done things, use my tools and processes to find deals and then use me to help them write on them. That said, with the recent uptick in pricing finding retail deals on MLS is getting a lot harder these days.

      One other thing – when looking for an investor friendly Realtor you might want to ask about the Broker Commission. Almost every large brokerage around here charges around $400 to every buyer & seller so using a buyer’s agent isn’t free even though the seller is paying out the commission. You may want to seek out a Realtor from a smaller firm that doesn’t charge this fee if that is important to you.

  8. Bill
    Excellent article.
    I would add finding a good investor agent is through the local REIA clubs. Attend 3 different local meetings. Speak with the President and any vendors ask for a referral. When you hear the same name over and over you have a good potential. Remember the broker might be very busy and not have time for newbies. Ask the broker who they want you to work with from their staff. When I did that to the largest REO broker in the state she gave me her son who was a new agent.
    Worked well.
    Good luck
    Paul

  9. Sherry Stapf-Tolisano on

    Great Article Bill…..I have experience with realistic investors and investors who are just wasting my time. Sometimes it takes me a while to figure it out but, generally when I hear “I went to the seminar held by ‘some tv personality’ I run! ~Sherry

  10. Bill
    Very useful article. It will be really useful if there’s an interview questions checklist that an investor should ask a potential real estate agent to make a decision.

    We’re looking for referrals for an investor friendly realtor in Chicago area ( lake county)

    Cheers!
    Mohan

  11. Hi,
    so how would I go about finding these agents? I feel like do haven’t attended enough reias and found one. Could I potentially call realtors in the yellow pages and ask if they are investors themselves?

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