Choosing a Real Estate Agent

7 Replies

Hello all,

This will be my first post, and I want to apologize ahead of time if it's something that's been covered extensively already.

In choosing a Real Estate Agent, I have read books and blogs, etc., which suggest and advise me to get a referral.  Find a Real Estate Agent who has property him or herself and who is a seasoned investor.  Someone who comes highly recommended by other investors.  Ask someone at a local investor meeting, everyone suggests.

The problem I see with this (and I may well be missing something) is that if said real estate agent works with a ton of other investors, many of whom are more seasoned than I am, then when a good deal comes available and he or she hears about it, who are they going to get in touch with about it?  Me?  Or the 15 other investors he/she also works with, starting with the one he/she likes the best and/or the one he/she has been working with the longest?

I was reading a chapter in one of the Bigger Pockets books just last night and Brandon mentions that he works with 'the best real estate agent in town'.  I'd argue that that particular real estate agent probably calls Brandon first, before any of his/her other clients to give him a chance at the hot lead before telling anyone else about it.  Maybe he/she doesn't call Brandon first, but they have an agreement with another prominent investor in town where they give this person the tip first, and take a few extra dollars for their trouble?

And so I guess my question is how do I find a real estate agent that is going to prioritize me over other investors, assuming this real estate agent works with multiple other investors?  How do I get the head start?  How do I get the lead before the other investors get the lead?

Every one is looking for something different. I rarely have 2 clients interested in the same property.

Hi @Matthew G. - start with Zillow, find someone with a lot of positive reviews. Positive reviews don't just show up, it requires the agent to provide good customer service and market knowledge, further it will be a good indicator of their deal flow. Brokerage is a momentum game, so you want to find someone with some momentum, but you don't want to find someone with so much business that you can not get their attention. 

To address how to get their attention, in order. 

1. Don't ask for a discount (further go out of the way to tell them that you believe a good broker will more than pay for themselves/let them know if they bring you a deal, they will get the listing). 

2. Demonstrate your ability to close.

2. Be respectful of their time.

Hi Mathew,

I agree with Russell.  It's very rare that an agent has investor clients both looking for the same thing.   So don't worry about that so much.  You want to find an agent that is an investor themselves.  This is the hard part because not many agents invest in property.   This could be one of your main questions.  What type of investments do you specialize in?  What have you done for yourself?  

You will need to be honest with the agent.  Tell them your experience, how much money you have to invest, what you are looking for, and goals.  If this is a top-tier agent, the agent will be able to tell you exactly what you can or cannot buy or if you are realistic or not in your first meeting.  If you are a serious buyer, and a top-tier agent will do whatever they can to make it happen for you.  But this is a two-way street.  Don't waste their time as Daniel said.

I suggest you search for properties yourself and send them to your agent for advice.  My investor clients and I always collaborate.  They send me things all the time, I quickly analyze them and tell them yes let's dig for more info or let's not waste our time.  

@Matthew G. Matt look up local REI groups on Facebook, find where there meetings are. Attend meet people there, talk to them, some are agents that invest themselves, or are new looking to learn. Feel them out, make sure you are compatible. Seasoned agents will help educate you, along the way. Every investor is looking for different deals, so I wouldn't worry about not seeing any deals. A new agent will be eager, responsive and ready to look at 40 properties. You are really the one who should run the numbers, too make sure you're comfortable with the deal. Another great resource for investor groups is through Meetup. You can always find a newer agent, get them to attend investor groups, help educate each other. Turn them on to Bigger Pockets. Chances are they will be eager to learn.

Hey Matthew, 

I am new to investing also, and was afraid of the same thing happening.  However, @Jonathan R. reached out to me here on BP, shared his agent with me, and he started sending me deals immediately.  Jonathan actually came with me to look at a couple houses and share his insight, and I'm buying both of them!  Both Jonathan and I are tied up in rehabs right now, so I'm not even looking at other deals right now.  Shoot me a text if you want the agent's info or if you'd like to meet up for coffee sometime.  (316)616-7105.  Thanks,

-Roy

@Matthew G. I think you might be looking at this question from a scarcity approach rather than an abundance. In my area, using the strategy I'm using, there are an abundance of insane deals. You might be thinking of other investors as competitors rather than your closest allies. I used to think the same way. I didn't want to tell anyone what I was doing for fear others would flock to my market and buy up the cheap homes and get all the good renters and then I'd be stuck working my 9-5 till I'm 65. But the fact is there are more deals and more renters out there than I could ever acquire and I would much rather see the house/houses sitting on the same street I recent bought purchased by @Roy Wise than I would like to see them sitting vacant or purchased by someone who doesn't know what they are doing. The two of us can now share best practices, where to buy cheap materials, who has cheap insurance, mortgage lenders, contractors, community insights, strategies, even renters that we liked but decided to go with someone else.