Real Estate Investing Basics

Why You Should Stop Looking for an “Investor-Friendly” Real Estate Agent

6 Articles Written
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In my research through the BiggerPockets Forums attempting to understand the needs of potential future clients as a new real estate agent, I have come across countless threads looking for “investor-friendly” real estate agents. Are they really the unicorns of real estate? I don’t think so. Let me share my perspective with you.

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Let’s start with the term “investor-friendly.” This implies there are agents out there who are investor-unfriendly, and if the posts on BiggerPockets are any indication, they seem to be out in great numbers since every newer investor seems to be searching for the friendly ones with no luck.

In life, if we wander around every day not being able to find a friendly person, at what point do we start looking in the mirror?

Are You Looking for a Friend or a Professional?

It may sound harsh, but agents are not friendly or unfriendly towards you because they need a new pal. By statute, agents owe every client the same fiduciary responsibilities. These responsibilities are confidentiality, loyalty, obedience, disclosure, care, and accounting. These may vary state to state.

That being said, even though all agents are required to perform these duties for all clients, a true professional will exceed in every category. When they are exceeding in every category, they tend to make a good living, and their time becomes scarce. 

Young business people shaking hands in the office. Finishing successful meeting. Three persons

Related: The Epic Guide to Finding an Investor-Friendly Real Estate Agent

In combing through these threads, the following are actual statements from investors that give me some insight into what they consider “friendly.”

  • “I need someone who answers the phone.”
  • “I’m a first time buyer, and I need reliable information on my market.”
  • “I want an agent who will be patient and educate me on what to look for so that I will not get ripped off.”
  • “I really want an agent who will help me negotiate the best price.”

I could go on and on, but what I have learned from these comments is investors are not looking for someone who is “friendly”—they are looking for an agent who is a “professional.”

Do you agree?

Why Is It Difficult to Find a Professional Who Will Work With Investors Consistently? 

Now that we know a professional is what we are looking for, let me share some of the reasons straight from the BP Forums as to why agents shy away from working with some investors.

  • “He wanted me to write 15 offers on pristine houses, all at 40% below retail market price.”
  • “He constantly called me for weeks asking for information off the MLS, and then purchased with a different agent.”
  • “They continually talked about the ‘investor boot camp’ and ignored my professional advice.”
  • “I worked with an investor once, and they would call at all hours, expecting me to drop all my other clients to work on what they wanted.”

Again, I could make a lengthy list, but a majority of the complaints from the agent side have a common thread. The investors are wasting their precious time and/or not respecting the advice from the agent.

In addition to the above, there were countless investors looking to enlist agents for duties suited to an assistant or receptionist. There may be agents out there who will write endless offers, drop everything to get information off the MLS, and be willing to perform whatever duties are required by an investor with the hope of closing a single transaction, but in my opinion, these will not be the most professional agents or those who have extensive knowledge of the market. They are individuals trying to stay afloat in their business.

Is this the type of person you want working for you?

woman in maroon shirt and yellow sweater talking on a cell phone while going over notes on a notepad

Related: Are Your Rentals in a Landlord-Friendly State? Here’s Why That Makes a BIG Difference.

Become What You Are Looking to Attract

We want to find an investor-friendly agent, but are we agent-friendly investors? Sometimes it’s hard to acknowledge our own flaws. Devote some extra time to dig in deep and really get to know what an agent does during their daily activities. The juggling act that is discovered will most likely be a surprise and will help anyone have a deeper appreciation of the amount of time and effort that is involved to produce great results for clients consistently.

Investor-Friendly Real Estate Agents Do Not Exist

There are only professionals and non-professionals. When two professionals work together, it will naturally be a mutually beneficial relationship, and both parties will work to keep the relationship intact. The time and knowledge of both sides will be respected by the other. If either an agent or an investor finds it difficult to work with the other, there may be a need for one or both to step up the game to a professional level.

If you are an agent or an investor, let me know how you feel, and share your experiences in the comments! 

Leave your opinions below!

Brandon is a U.S. Army veteran, serial entrepreneur, and real estate investor who helps others improve their life through writing for online publications such as "Bigger Pockets" and "The Good Men Project" Find out more about Brandon on his website
    Jeff Feldman
    Replied over 2 years ago
    I always thought investor friendly meant having time, and willingness to write many offers to get one great deal…
    Travis Toney
    Replied over 2 years ago
    Many times “investor friendly” is a way of saying “cost friendly” without those exact words. Many investors want the full service experience at the supremely discounted “investor friendly” cost. That is what makes the agent so rare, many are not willing to negotiate a full service experience to a cost that is “investor friendly”.
    Bryan Tilos Rental Property Investor from Edmond, OK
    Replied over 2 years ago
    Great article! I am also a Veteran and a Licensed Agent. I started to brand myself as the “investor-friendly” Realtor a couple years back and for some reason, it didn’t go the way I expected. While I got the “leads” it was pretty tiresome and downright back and forth. Maybe because I didn’t prequalify them enough so I took what I could. Plus, I told them I was a Veteran and working with Vets would make my niche even more narrow. Well, long story short…I came to the realization that my “friendliness” had to wear off started to reject this so-called leads. I went ahead and pursued retail which I am thankful for. I mainly use my license for my own use and will list houses here and there.
    Michele Frederick Real Estate Agent from Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania
    Replied over 2 years ago
    Travis Toney I think says it best. I have been a licensed realtor for over 20 years, and the investor market is the highest maintenance, lowest paying client in our book. Here’s something to consider, assuming you find a qualified professional who will work for you. PAY THEM A NON-REFUNDABLE RETAINER FEE-! Additionally, you need to negotiate their fee (Buyer Agent Commission) up front and should NOT be based on the purchase price of your subject property. I think you will all agree that the finding and acquisition of your investment property is nearly the most difficult and time-consuming aspect of your project. Why ask the professional to work for less than minimum wage when it’s all said and done? The cost of this important person should be worked into your plan. Ahem. My 2 cents.
    Eric V. Rental Property Investor from Red Bank, NJ
    Replied over 2 years ago
    “Vacancy allowance, you don’t need that. My properties are never vacant for more than a few days!” my Realtor I found out why when the SFR i bought with her Rented for $1,650 mo. a week after close when she said it would be $1,350 max. That’s a $3,600 yr. miss. whoops! But she worked like crazy with me and had good insight on all the many properties we saw and set up last minute showings over and over. We did find a great deal that worked for my 1031 in a new market for me. She was great but not perfect.
    Marcy Leonard Real Estate Agent from Edmond, OK
    Replied about 2 years ago
    Brandon – interesting article. I’m a licensed agent in OKC/Edmond, OK and I’m a huge BP fan (especially the podcasts). I’ve been trying to figure out how to be an “investor-friendly agent”. From all of these comments it’s clear that it is different things to different people. I do appreciate your points about the things that investors sometimes do that can strain those relationships. And I totally agree about looking for a professional. I’m also working on getting back into real estate investing myself (my husband and I partnered on a few with a previous broker years ago), and am hoping to network with some local investors for mutual benefit. Thank you for sharing your insight!