How do I start to talk to real estate agents in my area?

15 Replies

Below is the email I have sent to 3 different real estate agents to see what they say. None of them have responded to me and it's been almost 2 days. Am I being too upfront? Do they know I'm inexperienced? Please help me critique what I should do or How I say things. Anything will help thanks.

(Granite at this moment I am out of town so I found these point of contacts online in my area and have emailed them) I will be back in town in 2 weeks to hopefully meet with them.

I have sent you the criteria that I am looking for and was hoping there is some way you can setup automatic updates. I have a few questions that I'm hoping you can answer.

1. Can you set me up with automatic alerts so that whenever homes in my criteria comes up I get an automatic email?
2. Do you have a comp spreadsheet of all types of homes so that I will be able to come up with an ARV on my own and not have to bother you with looking up comps?
3. If so I will be back state side in two weeks and was wondering if you could show me fairly quickly how to read comps and compare using the spreadsheet/data.
4. What other good options besides the VA loan are available?
5. Do I need a pre approval letter before we sit down and make offers on properties?

I am looking to purchase my first investment property within the next 90 days as long as all the numbers work.

Here is the criteria of the homes I am currently seeking for.

Town: Hope mills/Fayetteville (the good parts)

Neighborhood: Any with a great amount of potential

Property Size: 800sqft-1400sqft

Lot Size: Any

Property Conditions: Ready to rent/Light rehab

Number of Units: SFH/Duplex/Triplex/4-Plex

Cap Rate: 12%

Price Range: 30k-100k

A little background about me:

I have lived in Fayetteville for the past 5 years and am actively seeking to get invested in real estate. My goal is to obtain a property in the next 90 days as long as the numbers seem fitting. This will be my first purchase and I plan on purchasing more in the future. I am military so I have access to the VA loan. Although I am still learning the ropes I have done my homework on real estate investing. I look forward to listening to your sound advice on what you think I should do. I will have to finance the property so I am hoping you can show me the best route. I look forward to sitting down with you in a couple weeks to discuss further.

Very respectfully,


Agents are a special group.   Face to face is always better.  After that, on the phone.

They are very busy and they want to close deals.  Pronounced "they don't want to waste time."

Look for investor listings in the MLS with tags like "Great investment opportunity", etc. Look for listings that look like the agent speaks our language (cash flow, etc.). Call them on THOSE listings, discuss them, make an offer (within your range). Let them know that while this deal might not work for "us" "please bring me anything else you find", etc.

I would recommend going to your local REIA meetings and network events. There are lots of agents there.

Find out when the broker office meetings are, and stop by that morning with coffee and doughnuts for them.

In the end, you just need to build the relationships beyond email.


As an agent myself, when a young person approaches me with an email like this I will follow up, but I am not excited. This sounds like someone that just went to one of those free seminars on how to invest in real estate and they are excited but don't really know what they are doing.
No offense of course, but as a realtor this sounds like a headache.
Realtors want buyers that are serious!
They want to know your property credentials, timeline, price point, features, and must haves. Unless you have cash I would strongly recommend you speak with a good lender and then ask your realtor to recommend their lender of choice to you and speak with them too. When purchasing a car you always shop around for the best deal and compare prices. All realtors have lenders in their back pocket that they recommend to all their clients. This is because they have great rates, are easy to get a hold of, and have a strong relationship with the realtor. A realtor has general knowledge on lending options for you in his area but these are lender questions and a good agent will give you some questions to ask your lender then refer you to them. When making an offer a preapproval or prequal letter is huge. At least in my market where it's a big time sellers market. You need to move fast and have all of your ducks in a row.
I would avoid mentioning cap rate and investment.
I would say something like, "I am looking to purchase ANOTHER rental property in the area.
Even if it's your first. You can ask any questions that you think are dumb questions on here and not in your initial emails to your realtor. In business you always dress for the job you want and not the job you have. You talk like you are already in the job you want and not the job you have. So you use words like we instead of I and another instead of first.
Have a realtor pull comps for certain neighborhoods that you are interested in around the price range that you want. We can definitely set you up on auto email alerts but we can't specify on light renovation or cap rates. And running cap rates on every property takes a lot of valuable time, but you should run the cap rates on every property we send you to get better at it and you will start to learn the areas better this way. So when we are out looking at 5 properties together you can start knowing in your head these figures. Practice makes perfect.
Realtors love experienced investors but experienced agents try to avoid shiny new investors because they are a lot of work. But if the agent is good and has experience with rentals and investment property than they can usually coach you along and help you get your first hoping you will list it with them and buy your next with them. Hope this helps.

@William Kelly How I found my realtor was just going to, finding a property I liked, and then clicking the 'request info on this property' button.

Someone will reach out to you pretty quickly.  From there you can start a converstation with them and tell them pretty much what you said in the email.  It might take a couple tries but you will eventually find someone you like.  Also, as @Bob Razler mentioned, the REIA meets are good place. I've make a couple connections that way.

I like to talk in person or on the phone and ask the realtor to tell me their best 2 deals. I need access to all the MLS listings and to be able to search myself. A great option is to ask your significant other to get a real estate license or for you to get your own.

The best thing you can do is leave a brief email. If it's too long the realtor will open it and see how long it is and think "I don't have time to read this right now, I'll read it later" and then they forget. I would just say Hi, my name is ____ and I'm looking to buy a home in ____ area. When would be a good time to set up a phone call to discuss the process and parameters? Also, a proactive step to take to make you seem very appealing to work with is talk to a lender about your loan options and get pre-approved first. Realtors aren't really the ones you want to talk to about va vs 203k vs conventional etc, the lenders have the real value there. One last thought is maybe you should seek out a new Realtor, one hungry to close some deals. Alot of people avoid this approach, but there's real value in it. For one, it hasn't been deeply engrained in them that the only way to do things is to work with people only buying primary residences. It's also much easier to train a new Realtor how search for investment properties and build a real working long term relationship with them.

I completely agree with @David Hanson  and @Bob Razler . I'm a Realtor/investor in Fayetteville and I do have a great lender, Michelle Garcia with Atlantic Bay Mtg, who can get you started with info on loan programs. Contact me once you have your financing in place. 

I have to agree with @Justin Vaughan , therefore, being a Realtor specializing in finding and funding Real Estate in the Tampa Bay Area,  I am usually the one looking for the Cash and Hard Money buyers.  We help along the process and explain exactly how we can help with finding, funding, fixing and flipping in our initial meeting which gives you a great advantage when starting out in the flipping industry.  I wish you good luck. 

@William Kelly... I know an agent who helps out investors in Fayetteville NC or can put you in touch with someone who can. PM me.  Good luck.

Hi @William Kelly ,

I am an RE Agent an REI as well. I like cut and dry communication. Your email looks fine. The only thing I'll mention is that you might be hard-pressed to find a 12% Cap Rate anywhere near the specified location. I don't know how investments the locations you mentioned do. If there are 12% Cap Rates requiring light rehabs going for the price range then awesome, but if you sound like a guy wanting to low-ball every deal that comes up just to ensure you hit the 12% Cap Rate, I would pass. Lots of low-ball offers means lots of time for the Realtor to write and submit the offers. I'm all about being aggressive, getting the right deal and making the numbers work, but most realtors aren't like me.
Best of Luck!

Jumping in here: I own a transaction coordination company so my clients are agents. These agents pay my company a fair bit of money each month in order to save themselves time. Agents also pay money to social media experts, leads companies, and a ton of technology  in order to save time.

However, the easiest time savings an agent can get is also the cheapest: not responding to any outreach that doesn't seem like a buyer will come out of it.

I'm sorry if this is coming across harsh, as it's not my intention. I'm simply trying to show that agents value their time so much that the best ones spend thousands of dollars a month to protect it. 

If your goal is to get an agent excited to work with you, then the best trick is to get a pre-approval from a local bank or lender. Nothing gets an agent more excited (and rightly so), than a buyer who already has that preliminary financing lined up and is ready to go!

Best of luck