Grand Rapids, Michigan Top-Performing Real Estate Agents

5 Replies

Hello BP,

I'm a beginning investor and waiting on my pre-qualification to come through from a lender (should find out on Sunday), and I'm working hard to build a really solid team that I can trust. A little background about myself is that I'm an out of state investor (living in California but looking to invest in Grand Rapid, MI), and I'm searching for small multi-family properties of 2-4 units that are less than 100K. I really want to find a stellar real estate agent to help me learn the market and find great deals (preferably before they even hit the MLS).

Please let me know if these are reasonable expectations (I have no idea what I should expect out of a real estate agent), but I would like an agent that meets the following criteria:

-Has worked with many, many investors.

-Has 10+ investment properties of their own (preferably buy & hold types of my same niche (multifamily).

-Has been in the business for 10+ years and is a top-performing agent in my target market (Grand Rapids, MI).

-Incredible reputation with local investors, with lots of work done through referrals... and a reputation for integrity, tenacity, and professionalism.  

-An agent that I could continually do business with for the long-term, and help me build my portfolio from 0 properties currently to who knows how many!

If these are unrealistic, please do tell me what a 'great' real estate agent's background would look like!  

One last thing... to all the fellow investors as well as real estate agents out here...

What are some of the key questions you would ask when screening a real estate agent to make sure they are someone you would desire to work with for the long-term?  

Thanks in advance for all the help BP!!! 

@Jimmy Watson  The secret is out Grand Rapids is the place to invest.  I would love to work with you if there was an opportunity, if not as an agent, as a management company along side whatever agent you select.  

Are you financing your deals or do you have some cash to use? Most great deals off MLS are sold for cash, and fast. There are occasions when a seller would allow you to finance, but then why not list it on MLS? Just a thought.

You guys were all awesome and thank you so much for replying to my post!  However, would anyone be able to answer the two questions I had in regards to this post?  I'll recite them here once more for clarification:

Is the following a good screener for real estate agents, or would you consider this to be too strict?  If these are unrealistic, please do tell me what a 'great' real estate agent's background would look like!:

-Has worked with many, many investors.

-Has 10+ investment properties of their own (preferably buy & hold types of my same niche (multifamily).

-Has been in the business for 10+ years and is a top-performing agent in my target market (Grand Rapids, MI).

-Incredible reputation with local investors, with lots of work done through referrals... and a reputation for integrity, tenacity, and professionalism.

-An agent that I could continually do business with for the long-term, and help me build my portfolio from 0 properties currently to who knows how many!

One last thing... to all the fellow investors as well as real estate agents out here...

What are some of the key questions you would ask when screening a real estate agent to make sure they are someone you would desire to work with for the long-term?  

Thank you all again for your time and patience.

Jimmy,

I don't think your screening questions are off base at all, in fact it shows that you understand the importance of having a Realtor that understands the numbers needed to accomplish your goals.

I would take two things out of your list.  A top performing Realtor.  This shows you that a Realtor knows how to close deals.  While this is great in the retail world, I don't think the number of closings is as important in the investment world.  Here is why:  if a buyer comes to me and says "I have a million dollars I want to invest, please locate and purchase as many homes as possible." What would most agents do?  Spend the money. According to the standards of being a "top producer" this agent should go spend the million dollars making him appear as a top producer.  Does this really evaluate the Realtors success as an agent, or show that he an spend money?  What happens in two years when it turns out all these investments were poor decisions?   Amount of sales does not show competence or prove he can make good investment decisions.   

I would also encourage you to work with a Realtor who is going to manage that purchase.  Here is why:  When I make a recommendation on a property that I know I am going to be manging I feel an added layer of accountability that this property better perform as promised.  If it doesn't, not only will I loose an buyer but also a management opportunity.  A Realtor that makes a recommendation then walks away can blame the performance of the property on someone else and therefore have ZERO accountability for the property.  In my mind this would be a top decision making factor if I was interviewing investment realtors.  This is a long term investment.  Evaulate the performance of your properties on a two or three year scale.

I would also expect the realtor to own a portfolio of properties himself.  This is obvious.  You need that Realtor to understand the cost and have real life experience with tenants. Basing the decision on how many properties is probably not the way to go, instead target a Realtor with similar goals.  Ten properties valued at 250,000 each is going to be a different approach to properties valued at 50,000 each.  Look for someone with a similiar portfolio to what you are trying to accomplish.

Finally, ask questions but don't be high maintenance.  This takes experience and trust, but don't come off as a "know it all."  When screening an successful agent keep this in mind.  The commissions on these purchases is rarely worth the amount of work that your agent will go through to find you a good property.  Don't be greedy with him.  If there is a wholesale deal and you know he is making a big commission, be OK with that. A good agent is worth the money.

Good luck!!  Written from a cell phone please excuse any mistakes. :)