Why are agent's turning me away?

44 Replies

I just closed on a SFH rental in an area I'm familiar with. I closed the deal myself. For more propeties I've contacted three agents from different Brokerages and all three have given me the "thanks but no thanks" routine. I am a very self-aware person and I really don't think I have come on hard in any of the inquiries. In a nutshell, they contact me after my initial inquiry and they're all excited, asking me what I'm looking for and at what price. And when I tell them I am looking for a 3br 2ba rental home, they boogey. I've bought and sold two homes on my own without the use of an agent. This is the first time I'll be trying to use one. I guess I'm experiencing the sentiment I often see -- that agents are averse to investors. Any thoughts?

Updated 5 months ago

$135k and $1500 rent is very typical. I'm trying to express that I'm not looking for something that is too reaching. So considering the expectations are right on for the market, what's the best way to approach agents?

Account Closed Hard to say why they would be turning you away.  Here's my guess (if you're buying outside of where you live): They get contacted through these automated one-click methods by tons of "investors" that have unreasonable expectations, no money, etc. and just want an agent to wing out low-ball offers.  That's a random educated guess based on what I see from some frustrated new investors that are "working with" (quote intentional) agents.

So here's what I would do in your position.  By the way, I'm not an agent: 

"I'm an out-of-state investor that just bought 123 Fake. St. for $150K in Fake City.  I'm sitting on a down payment and a pre-qual letter that will let me buy another property and I'm looking for something between $125K and $165K.  What I'd really like to do is clone my $150K deal that I just closed.  Do you think you can help me?"

At least then you're stating that you're someone that has closed on a property, has money to deploy, and you know what you're looking.  Now that doesn't mean it's going to be that particular agent's cup of tea.  That doesn't mean that all will be eager to work with you.  Maybe some just loathe out-of-state investors.  I know I ask 50 more questions before I book a plane ticket than I would if I was interested in a property 15 minutes away.

Who knows, maybe my message will fall on deaf ears.  I'm not an agent so I don't have to deal with inbound inquiries from out-of-state buyers like me ;-) 

This isn't totally surprising, because a lot of agents pretty much suck at what they do, and they also suck to deal with.

BUT - What are you saying / asking , and how are you going about it?  When 3 of 3 are telling you no thanks, it sounds like there's something you're doing that is turning people off.

What did you ACTUALLY say.

Not in any industry would all vendors shut the door on an opportunity after one bland email that was reasonable and pleasant. You can get unlucky and get one lazy realtor who doesn't want to deal, but you said three separate people read your email and said no.

I think you should post the email

Account Closed

There are for sure an abundance of lazy agents out there, but this isn't primarily an issue of agents not wanting to work with investors.  I'm an investor myself and work primarily with investors, and I would waaaaaaay rather work with investors than with residential buyers & sellers. 

It really only takes 1 bad experience for an agent to get gun-shy to work with an out of state investor, but when you're a new agent and you're starving for business some will actually take just about whatever they can get.    

However, contrary to popular belief, not every agent is dying to work with every investor (or every buyer or seller for that matter).  I've turned away several potential clients. Sometimes people have unrealistic expectations and you can tell right away it would be a complete waste of time to pursue the opportunity in the first place. I know my strengths and weaknesses, and sometimes somebody wants something that I'm just flat out not good at, and I'm smart enough to know that I wouldn't be the right guy for the job and it would be doing a disservice to waste a client's time, but sometimes a potential client just sounds kinda lame to work with, so I pass.

Without knowing what you're saying or how your conversations are going down, I can't really offer much other than to say it's an open market - shop around and find somebody that you want to work with, and who wants to work with you.

Maybe your criteria is not in line with the reality of the market. Hard to say without more info.

@Blair Poelman   I think it depends on the market

My wife got an email from some invesetor from I think Nashville.

went like this.

Hey we are interested in the lots you have listed.. ( PS I also own them LOL).

We buy and build out here in TN..... and we can even pay cash ( so what so do everyone in our market).

what we would like you to do.. is run comps on all vacant lots within X amount of distance.. and a bunch of other in depth market research etc.. 

So my wife and i just giggled .. REALLY  some out of state buyer wants to try to buy lots in PDX... when we list them sell them in 30 to 60 days to local builders for full price all cash... 

so in this market buyers do their own research.. and the offer to pay cash while it probably is important or has weight in some markets.. its a non starter in ours as everyone pays cash with either actual cash or a loan and cash. 

When we wrote her back and said thanks but no thanks.. are we going to go to all that effort and do all their market research for them... they were a little taken aback.

now I can see a beginner agent maybe falling for this.. or in a market were cash is rare.

so to me it just depends on the market.

What you said..."I am an investor looking to buy a 3/2 for a rental."

What the agent interpreted, "I am an investor who wants you to put in 20 hours a week putting in 100 offers at 50% of list price."

Ok, I am not saying the interpreted sentence is what you actually meant.  Here are some things you can do to get help:

1.  Find a HUNGRY agent just starting out. ----CLUE------A hungry agent will answer the phone and return phone calls/emails.  Established agents don't need to act as a buyers agent (which is a lot more work than being the listed agent) or necessarily need new clients.  Many established agents need to vet a buyer before investing their time into them.

2.  When you find a hungry agent, give them parameters to set up an automated search that updates you with new listings every day.

3. You do the work analyzing if the property is a good deal. You can't really expect an agent to analyze 20 deals each day. I have a notification of EVERY property that hits the market every day. It is a lot of work going through that. I do this because sometimes filters miss good deals. I do have separate filters for multi-family and REO's.

4.  Look for off-market deals.  Direct mail is one option.  Network with other investors in the area. Sheriff's sales. etc.

Good luck and happy investing.

Very well -- here's what I wrote most recently . . .

"Hello Ms. Flaherty,

Thanks for the note. I'm interested in purchasing a turn-key property to rent for $1,500 or more for $135k or less. Those are basically the numbers that work for me. But I'm open to a broader range. I just closed on a property last month near Lake Minnehaha in a nice subdivision and I like the 3br/2ba with a garage homes. I bought it for way less than market value, but I closed that deal myself. I'm not looking for an agent to make low-ball bids for me. I'm just a regular guy trying to buy more homes at or below market value that I can cash flow and supplement my retirement.

Kindly,

. . . "

The other contact I made was via telephone and I was passed along to two agents, both of whom were not interested. My query was similar.

Account Closed Even though I know as an investor your goal is to get properties for below market value, I would not indicate that in your initial correspondence with an agent. 

Agents who work with investors know what the deal is, no need to spell it out for them. If you have to, it is probably an agent not worth working with anyway. My guess is that is eventually why the agents you reached out to flamed out, they just prefer to not work with investors for whatever reason.

Most agents these days have Zillow profiles or websites that list their past sales. Try searching the past sales of agents in the area you want to buy in and typically you can tell if they are an agent that works with investors. Proof is in the pudding, either they have experience closing the types of deals you want to buy or they don't. Approach the agents that do and take it from there.

A greater than 1% producer in most markets is tough. You can certainly get that in a lot of Midwest markets, but not at rents of $1500.  More like $700.  

 This probably sounds to them like it has a 1 in 200 chance of working out. Similar to my NAP index.  They'd rather take a nap,  too.

Agents don't even like to guarantee/verify square footage. No way they are going to guarantee/verify a house will rent out for certain amount. "But Mr Flaherty, my criteria was that the house rent for $1500. This one only ended renting for $1200. Hope you have good E&O insurance...."

Account Closed

You should just keep doing what you're doing.  You're more than likely better at it.  

Unless, of course, you're all about paying someone to turn a key in a deadbolt and not know anything about the property. 

I agree with the thoughts above - your e-mail sounds like you want the moon. Why not something like this:

"Hello Ms. Flaherty,

I'm interested in purchasing investment property to add to my portfolio (this shows that you already own homes and are a serious investor). I have a budget of $135k to work with at this time, although I may be open to a slightly broader range for the right deal (shows you're flexible - and this assumes there are houses for sale for $135k - if your market is $250k, then this is a waste of time). I already have my financing in order (or, can pay cash for the deal) so I would like to start reviewing possible homes as soon as possible (shows you're not a dreamer and can close the deal). If you believe you have, or can locate homes that work within my criteria, I would love to work with you as I've heard you are a great realtor for investors (a little Flaherty [sic] never hurt anyone). 

I think your original e-mail falls on a number of fronts. Cardinally, you present yourself as someone who is willing to bypass realtors altogether, which makes a realtor less likely to work with you - imagine if you had a toilet clog and called a plumbing outfit and said "I have a toilet clog - I'm a side plumber myself, but I'd like you to come give me a free consultation on what I should do with this toilet". Second, you are telling the realtor you want outstanding returns in a tough market. This is not 2009. Finally, you sound like you absolutely want the realtor to send out low-ball offers by saying you want homes below (ok, you did add "at") market value. There's no need to tell them how much you want to rent them for, what your goal is with them, etc. That's all nonsense that makes no difference to the realtor. 

Great input all.  Thanks.  As for the numbers, you guys who said I am shooting for the moon really don't know my market -- the rent and home price I asked for are typical.  If anyone does know the Clermont, FL market please chime in, but spare me the $700 rent suggestions. Aside from the numbers, I'm more interested in criticism of my approach and content.

Originally posted by Account Closed:

Great input all.  Thanks.  As for the numbers, you guys who said I am shooting for the moon really don't know my market -- the rent and home price I asked for are typical.  If anyone does know the Clermont, FL market please chime in, but spare me the $700 rent suggestions. Aside from the numbers, I'm more interested in criticism of my approach and content.

 If those numbers are typical, and you're contacting experienced agents, they already know those numbers are typical so why do you need to specify? Just tell them how much you have to work with and leave it at that. 

Well Martin, because they're typical of a certain class of housing that I'm looking for.  There are, of course, other typical classes of housing at higher prices and higher rents as well as lower rents and lower pricing that are typical.

Originally posted by Account Closed:

Well Martin, because they're typical of a certain class of housing that I'm looking for.  There are, of course, other typical classes of housing at higher prices and higher rents as well as lower rents and lower pricing that are typical.

 Based on your responses to this thread so far, I'd say agents are turning you away because you sound rude & obnoxious. It's fairly obvious that my name is JD, not Martin (obviously my surname), so there's that, and your "spare me the $700 rent" comment. I grew up in Jersey, so I know being rude & obnoxious is part of the DNA, but that doesn't mean anyone else has to suffer it.

If you're so sensitive, be careful of your snarky criticism.  Back home in Jersey, as you know, we call that someone who can dish it but he can't take it.

Originally posted by Account Closed:

If you're so sensitive, be careful of your snarky criticism.  Back home in Jersey, as you know, we call that someone who can dish it but he can't take it.

 What snarky criticism? You asked for input and you got it. Good day to you, sir. 

Lol, did you just slap me with your white glove? As a moderator, my guess is you have a lot to say to a lot of people. I can't argue with a know-it-all.   Have fun trolling posts.

Updated 5 months ago

And since you asked, J.D. Martin, you said my email content was "nonsense" so don't act so holier than thou.

Are you choosing investor friendly agents or retail agents?

Hi Ian. Retail agents so far. I bought and sold two houses on my own, so this is the first time dealing with agents. I live and work abroad, so I'm going to have to rely on an agent and property mgr.

Originally posted by Account Closed:

Very well -- here's what I wrote most recently . . .

"Hello Ms. Flaherty,

Thanks for the note. I'm interested in purchasing a turn-key property to rent for $1,500 or more for $135k or less. Those are basically the numbers that work for me. But I'm open to a broader range. I just closed on a property last month near Lake Minnehaha in a nice subdivision and I like the 3br/2ba with a garage homes. I bought it for way less than market value, but I closed that deal myself. I'm not looking for an agent to make low-ball bids for me. I'm just a regular guy trying to buy more homes at or below market value that I can cash flow and supplement my retirement.

Kindly,

. . . "

If nobody is responding it is because they think your expectations are not reality for the market.  The fact that you closed on ONE property with similar numbers doesn't mean finding a second is feasible.  

You organized this in a different way that I would have but your are essentially saying the following:

I would like a 3br/2ba house with a garage, in a nice area, for $135k and I want it to rent for $1500 per month.  This makes me enough money to be a happy man.  I have purchased a similar property all on my own (I don't really need your help) but I want someone who can help find me more properties.

On your end it doesn't seem like much work for them, on their end it seems like they are going to get tied up with another investor who has unrealistic expectations and is looking to waste their time.  Telling them that you closed on a property on your own shows them you don't value their services.

Hi John, thanks for the input.  I may not have been clear to the forum, but the $135k and $1500 rent is very typical.  I was trying to express that I'm not looking for something that is too reaching actually.  And the property I purchased was well below that.  So considering the expectations are right on, what's the best way to approach agents?

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