Real Estate Agents aren't taking me seriously

22 Replies

Hello,

My husband and I are starting to invest in RE in Maryland - we live in Toronto, Canada.  I've been in touch with 3 different real estate agents, and none of them are taking me seriously.  The first RE agent didn't call me back.  The second one pretty much insulted me by telling me 'a lot of people watch HGTV and think they can get into RE investing', without even asking about our experience in RE investing.  I had a nice conversation with the 3rd agent: she met my requirements and was very professional, told me that she would send me listings but haven't since our call.  I called her almost 2 weeks later to follow up, left her a VM, and she hasn't called me back yet.

I'm getting frustrated by the lack of professionalism and ambition from some of these real estate agents.  I don't understand how people in a very competitive industry can turn down business - especially when I've discussed what I want to do in the next 6 months and told them I have secured my funding.  Keep in mind, these aren't million dollar listing agents, so not sure why I'm getting snubbed.

What am I doing wrong?  Did anyone else have this problem?  What should I be doing differently?

todays agents can be frustrating on the communication side.  Text messaging  not picking up the phone etc.

You do want to find an agent that works with investors.  And not one that specializes in selling to folks that intend to live there as a primary residence.

Also if you lead with the I want to low ball 50 properties to get one.. your going to have a hard time finding anyone who is going to do that.

Also you may want to provide your POF and your lending source.. Most GOOD agents will not do anything without those in hand as their sellers demand these things..

But setting you up on daily e mails of new listings is easy for any agent I get them in a few markets I like to work in.

There's been a lot of action in my area and from what I've heard in the Baltimore area as well by out-of-state investors. Generally speaking, these are beginners looking to buy high-cashflow rental properties. The investors are typically talking about setting up a "power team." Agents are of course the first people they call, the first key member on these power teams. Agents are asked about lenders and contractors and quickly understand that they're supposed to put together the power team and supervise it for the investor.

Next comes the property hunting. The agent is supposed to visit a place deep in the ghetto, taking pictures and emailing them back to the investors. Then the agent is directed to write a lowball offer with a very low probability of being accepted. After the lowball offer fails, it's off to the next property and the next lowball offer. It takes a dozen or more lowball offers on a dozen or more ghetto properties, of course, until someone finally accepts one. Hurrah! The agent makes a commission (finally).

It's invariably a minimal money game for the agents, a lot of work and hustle for very little return.

How well does this describe your expectations? If not at all, then you're probably going to have to work to change the perception of the agents in your first phone calls. If this is pretty much what you want, you need to go looking for a very green, very hungry agent to do all this running around for you and not get paid for it.

I agree with Jay, however. Getting you on an MLS email list should be pretty simple. But if you want personal involvement and running around, it's going to take more than the eventual promise of a commission on a lowball offer under current market conditions.

They need to know that you really Can buy now.

They need to know that you are Ready to buy, not spend 6 months working with you before you are ready.

I assume this would be a buy and hold?

Show them your preapproval, be willing to get preapproved with someone local if you need local financing. Ask them to set you up on an automatic mls search if you need to learn the local market.

Agents do get calls from people all the time who “think” they may want to buy something.

Good Morning Angela,

I am a Realtor in Florida and I understand this completely. ( I am not one of those agents) Thank goodness,

I would suggest not letting them know what you intend on doing as they only see $$$ signs, and if you are looking for something off-market then their commission will be less,  I suggest looking for the deals yourself through Zillow, Make me move is a for sale by owner, your county records, for pre-foreclosures,  do your research first, then contact an agent to gain access to a property you may want.  If worse comes to worse, let me know and I can find an agent over there for you, I have a huge referral system I can access.  Let me know and happy hunting.

Originally posted by @Angela Stevens :

Hello,

My husband and I are starting to invest in RE in Maryland - we live in Toronto, Canada.  I've been in touch with 3 different real estate agents, and none of them are taking me seriously.  The first RE agent didn't call me back.  The second one pretty much insulted me by telling me 'a lot of people watch HGTV and think they can get into RE investing', without even asking about our experience in RE investing.  I had a nice conversation with the 3rd agent: she met my requirements and was very professional, told me that she would send me listings but haven't since our call.  I called her almost 2 weeks later to follow up, left her a VM, and she hasn't called me back yet.

I'm getting frustrated by the lack of professionalism and ambition from some of these real estate agents.  I don't understand how people in a very competitive industry can turn down business - especially when I've discussed what I want to do in the next 6 months and told them I have secured my funding.  Keep in mind, these aren't million dollar listing agents, so not sure why I'm getting snubbed.

What am I doing wrong?  Did anyone else have this problem?  What should I be doing differently?

It is like a tricky situation.

They only make money if you buy something, if not time wasted.

Being a buyers agent, or being an  "investor friendly" agent requires a lot of work, and time, if they are really investor friendly. 

Investor friendly agent should interview the buyer first, if they are not doing that  it means they are not taking it seriously, or they are just new and hoping to make some dollars. 

Whats the price point of the properties you are discussing with them?

Thanks all!  

I've been telling the RE agents (all have experience working with RE investors) that I want to focus on flipping right now, but I'm worried about the timing considering by the time we find and close a deal, rehab and ready to list, we would be in holiday season - probably the worst time to list a home.  

So I said that to get started (and not waste time), I would buy and hold 1 property (rent out), and then after the holidays, we'll focus on the flipping.

I was very clear that I've been pre-approved for $350k USD, plus I have $200k CAD from HELOC. I also have some other credit and savings, but what I just disclosed are the biggies. I told them I want to purchase 2 properties in 6 months. I've never mentioned anything about low balling, but can understand @Jim K. point, which the RE agents are assuming, and may be why I'm getting snubbed.

I'm guessing I should emphasize my expectations of them, meaning, I don't expect them to be my lackey in my absence (I am building my team myself, and my husband will be onsite during the flips).

I can't speak for Maryland.  But, local (Indianapolis) agents are very very busy.  A little over a year ago, we had a similar problem finding the right agent to list and sell our personal home.  I called three, got return calls from two and a meet up at the home with just one of the original three.  My thoughts were that the home was not at a high enough price point to make it worth the time of the 2 that blew us off.  However, the third agent got it listed and sold at a price higher than we were asking over the course of a single weekend.  So, it was certainly worth her time.  And I appreciated it very much.

Fast forward to this year. We just purchased our first investment property...locally. But, we found our buyer's agent by visiting an open house. A face-to-face first meeting and conversation were invaluable in developing this relationship. The agent understood who we are, what our goals are, what our budget it and experience is and the type of property we are comfortable with. He sent us weekly MLS listings. I would puruse those and if there were at least 3 we were interested in seeing, we scheduled a time to view them. I was careful to be courteous of his time by doing my homework. I drove around the properties on my own, thus eliminating much unnecessary legwork on his part. We did not tour a property unless we were serious about it.

Each time we met to tour houses, we made an offer on one of the three.  By our third meeting, we got an accepted offer.  

I would recommend providing some specifics that will let the agents know you are serious.  Say things like, "we will be purchasing investment property by mm/dd/yy."  "We will be in town the week of mm/dd/yy."  "We have $$ to put down with $$ pre-approved financing."  Then go on to give the specifics about the property you are looking for, neighborhoods, #units, how much rehab you are willing to take on, etc.  Finally, ask for exactly what it is you need from them.  "What are your terms for working with us?"  etc.

I think that in this manner, you will stand out from the many other lookers and gawkers who are just testing the waters.  

Originally posted by @Jim K. :

There's been a lot of action in my area and from what I've heard in the Baltimore area as well by out-of-state investors. Generally speaking, these are beginners looking to buy high-cashflow rental properties. The investors are typically talking about setting up a "power team." Agents are of course the first people they call, the first key member on these power teams. Agents are asked about lenders and contractors and quickly understand that they're supposed to put together the power team and supervise it for the investor.

Next comes the property hunting. The agent is supposed to visit a place deep in the ghetto, taking pictures and emailing them back to the investors. Then the agent is directed to write a lowball offer with a very low probability of being accepted. After the lowball offer fails, it's off to the next property and the next lowball offer. It takes a dozen or more lowball offers on a dozen or more ghetto properties, of course, until someone finally accepts one. Hurrah! The agent makes a commission (finally).

It's invariably a minimal money game for the agents, a lot of work and hustle for very little return.

How well does this describe your expectations? If not at all, then you're probably going to have to work to change the perception of the agents in your first phone calls. If this is pretty much what you want, you need to go looking for a very green, very hungry agent to do all this running around for you and not get paid for it.

I agree with Jay, however. Getting you on an MLS email list should be pretty simple. But if you want personal involvement and running around, it's going to take more than the eventual promise of a commission on a lowball offer under current market conditions.

 ya I love that power team and remote rehab .. and expecting a realtor to monitor this all for a commish on a 50k house.. LOL.. that theory is a theory in practice very difficult to do unless you can demonstrate that you can buy 10 to 20 houses and pay cash for them no financing.. 

Originally posted by @Jay Hinrichs :

todays agents can be frustrating on the communication side.  Text messaging  not picking up the phone etc.

You do want to find an agent that works with investors.  And not one that specializes in selling to folks that intend to live there as a primary residence.

Also if you lead with the I want to low ball 50 properties to get one.. your going to have a hard time finding anyone who is going to do that.

Also you may want to provide your POF and your lending source.. Most GOOD agents will not do anything without those in hand as their sellers demand these things.. 

But setting you up on daily e mails of new listings is easy for any agent I get them in a few markets I like to work in.

 First thing taught to me! 

I would suggest you or your husband get a real estate license in the state you plan on doing the most investing in.  You can take the classes online.  Then find a broker that only charges a transaction fee for anything you buy or sell.

Originally posted by @Angela Stevens :

Thanks all!  

I've been telling the RE agents (all have experience working with RE investors) that I want to focus on flipping right now, but I'm worried about the timing considering by the time we find and close a deal, rehab and ready to list, we would be in holiday season - probably the worst time to list a home.  

So I said that to get started (and not waste time), I would buy and hold 1 property (rent out), and then after the holidays, we'll focus on the flipping.

I was very clear that I've been pre-approved for $350k USD, plus I have $200k CAD from HELOC. I also have some other credit and savings, but what I just disclosed are the biggies. I told them I want to purchase 2 properties in 6 months. I've never mentioned anything about low balling, but can understand @Jim K. point, which the RE agents are assuming, and may be why I'm getting snubbed.

I'm guessing I should emphasize my expectations of them, meaning, I don't expect them to be my lackey in my absence (I am building my team myself, and my husband will be onsite during the flips).

 You want to flip long distance. That is a risky proposition. Combine that with the fac that 95% of out of state buyers never close on a property, and thats why no one is taking you seriously. The very few out of state buyers who do close are those who are relocating to the area. 

Keep calling. Find new agents who dont know any better and are trying to build a track record. Use them, and let them use you. I dated this girl back in the day. We used each other for some very good times (very good times, lol). We are both happily married now to different people :) My point is, work with people who have a similar goal at the moment, and maybe both of you get what you want in the end.

Originally posted by @Daren H. :

Keep calling. Find new agents who dont know any better and are trying to build a track record. Use them, and let them use you. I dated this girl back in the day. We used each other for some very good times (very good times, lol). We are both happily married now to different people :) My point is, work with people who have a similar goal at the moment, and maybe both of you get what you want in the end.

 I think there was a Stephen Stills song   " Love the one your with"   

@Angela Stevens The best thing to do is give the elevator pitch immediately when you talk to the broker. Tell them who you are, what you do for a living, where you got their contact and what your goal is. 

When someone cold contacts me I always check out their linkedin and verify everything. Make sure you state your goals so both parties can make sure each other are a good fit. I like helping buy and hold investors or flippers/value add but know a lot of agents that can't figure out the numbers for flips at all and think any house in bad condition would work as a flip you need to avoid these agents or you can get screwed being out state where it's block by block. For example in Chicago .2 miles south of Diversey is Logan Square which could be $200k more then .2 miles north of Diversey which is Avondale. Don't get me wrong Avondale is awesome area but an out of state person with a bad broker could buy it thinking it's 100k under market when it's really 100k over market. Make it a 2 way interview and look for a broker who wants long term relationship. Stress you plan on buying a lot of properties over time.

Flips over all are tough though for out of state. Definitely recommend a buy/hold or a mild value add like new counter tops, etc. 

@Angela Smith I am in Maryland just outside the city , you are out of the country in Canada , a severe disadvantage . Why ? If its a good enough deal to fix and flip it never hits the MLS . If an agent is involved , you need to get in line, every office around here has a list of investors they have on speed dial , thats only if the agent doesnt buy it first .

You want to get in touch with wholesalers .

Contractors , good licensed contractors are swamped , I am one . I am booked thru january 2019 and things are moving slower because my subs are swamped also . So dont expect to get any work  done cheap or fast , investor work is on the bottom of every contractor I knows list . Every contractor I know is looking for more help and more subs . Prices are back  up .

You are going to want a contractor to look at the place to give you a cost estimate . If its a deal , you just lost it ,odds are the contractor is going to tell you its a dump , and then buy it themselves . That or call someone he knows to buy it . 

I am in Anne Arundel county , deals last hours at best . If the numbers are close , first looker drops a cash offer then and there .  The competition is fierce and fast , locals with the connections get the deals . ( I am refering to my county not Balto city ) .

Be carefull , I have been in Maryland 57 years , I know Anne Arundel , Harford and Baltimore counties . The good and the not so good areas . That can change in a 1/2 mile . I personally wont even consider Balto city  , taxes , crime and schools .

You would need an agent in every area , An agent from Pasadena Md isnt goint to check out a property in Beltsville md , with traffic its 1  1/2 hours one way . 

Its not that agents arent taking you seriously you are just too far away . If its a del , by the time the agent gets you the info , you check it out , arrange for a contractor to look at it , get feed back , make an offer ...............................Sorry its under contract 

@Angela Stevens Since the market is hot agents are busy and are only going to follow up with the hottest and easiest leads. You need to make sure you come across as one of those.

Keep in mind most agents don't even understand the investing business. That is not their specialty. They sell pretty homes to homeowners. That fact alone will eliminate 75% of all agents.

When I first started investing, the RE agent I first went with actually FIRED ME.. After about the 15th lowball offer. Just couldn't see what I was seeing, or what I wanted.

I ended up finding an old timer, this lady had been doing RE for a long time. I lucked out because she was getting ready to retire, and caught interest in me and genuinely wanted to help me, she wasn't in it for the paycheck. 

Either the agents don't trust you or they don't see how they can financially benefit. It's your job to sell the idea. If they refuse to work with you, then you haven't sold them.

Maybe you should start by finding a local investor group. Local investors can help you find agents that know how to work with flippers or investors, where to find deals, etc.

Originally posted by @Russell Brazil :
Originally posted by @Angela Stevens:

Thanks all!  

I've been telling the RE agents (all have experience working with RE investors) that I want to focus on flipping right now, but I'm worried about the timing considering by the time we find and close a deal, rehab and ready to list, we would be in holiday season - probably the worst time to list a home.  

So I said that to get started (and not waste time), I would buy and hold 1 property (rent out), and then after the holidays, we'll focus on the flipping.

I was very clear that I've been pre-approved for $350k USD, plus I have $200k CAD from HELOC. I also have some other credit and savings, but what I just disclosed are the biggies. I told them I want to purchase 2 properties in 6 months. I've never mentioned anything about low balling, but can understand @Jim K. point, which the RE agents are assuming, and may be why I'm getting snubbed.

I'm guessing I should emphasize my expectations of them, meaning, I don't expect them to be my lackey in my absence (I am building my team myself, and my husband will be onsite during the flips).

 You want to flip long distance. That is a risky proposition. Combine that with the fac that 95% of out of state buyers never close on a property, and thats why no one is taking you seriously. The very few out of state buyers who do close are those who are relocating to the area. 

Interesting.  So then I should change my strategy?  I really want to flip...and my husband would be on site during the rehab, but I take your point.  There are clearly a few things I have to consider.  

Originally posted by @Matthew Paul :

@Angela Smith I am in Maryland just outside the city , you are out of the country in Canada , a severe disadvantage . Why ? If its a good enough deal to fix and flip it never hits the MLS . If an agent is involved , you need to get in line, every office around here has a list of investors they have on speed dial , thats only if the agent doesnt buy it first .

You want to get in touch with wholesalers .

Contractors , good licensed contractors are swamped , I am one . I am booked thru january 2019 and things are moving slower because my subs are swamped also . So dont expect to get any work  done cheap or fast , investor work is on the bottom of every contractor I knows list . Every contractor I know is looking for more help and more subs . Prices are back  up .

You are going to want a contractor to look at the place to give you a cost estimate . If its a deal , you just lost it ,odds are the contractor is going to tell you its a dump , and then buy it themselves . That or call someone he knows to buy it . 

I am in Anne Arundel county , deals last hours at best . If the numbers are close , first looker drops a cash offer then and there .  The competition is fierce and fast , locals with the connections get the deals . ( I am refering to my county not Balto city ) .

Be carefull , I have been in Maryland 57 years , I know Anne Arundel , Harford and Baltimore counties . The good and the not so good areas . That can change in a 1/2 mile . I personally wont even consider Balto city  , taxes , crime and schools .

You would need an agent in every area , An agent from Pasadena Md isnt goint to check out a property in Beltsville md , with traffic its 1  1/2 hours one way . 

Its not that agents arent taking you seriously you are just too far away . If its a del , by the time the agent gets you the info , you check it out , arrange for a contractor to look at it , get feed back , make an offer ...............................Sorry its under contract 

Thank you!  All very useful info.

I've had this experience as well trying to buy a property long distance.  And surprisingly, I worked with an agent long distance who was pretty responsive.  I told him what I was looking for, got pre-qualified from his preferred lender...and I CLOSED on a property.  The agent took me to lunch and sent me a thank you card with a small "gift."  Oddly, when I contacted him again to buy another property, I hear back once in a while but he is definitely not that responsive.  I don't know...maybe the market is just so hot like @Ned Carey said that agents are too busy and want the hottest and easiest leads.  As for my situation, while my agent said he works with investors, he probably prefers to work with homeowners and ones who have a higher price point perhaps.