Wearing out an agent

28 Replies

I've never worked with an agent who has turned me down on going to check out a property, gather details from a listing agent, or any other kind of work that I ask them to do, however there's always a voice in the back of my head whenever I make a request that's asking me if I'm asking too much. Oftentimes I want to go walk a property or try to get more information on it even though I know that there's a good chance I won't actually be interested in making an offer, so I don't end up contacting an agent about it. Curious to get feedback from those who have good relationships with agents (or who are agents themselves) about how they feel about this.

Yep. many agents are not interested in doing a lot of the grunt work or don't understand exactly what it is that we as investors need. 

In California I'm licensed so I can do my own grunt work, however, I just bought a property in WA. I worked with several agents until I found one who understands my business. Once I found the right person (you can tell by the type of property they show you, comments they make, information they provide, questions they ask you)  we looked at lots of properties. (sometimes I wasn't in town and HE, looked for me, sending me tons of photos) but he has been a blessing as well as a world of information. Worth every penny of commission that he gets. - Also. I'm very clear with him - When I sell the property and many more to come in the future " You are my guy" - He is assured that he gets all of my business. don't mess your agent around. A good one is not easy to find but will work hard if treated fair - A good agent will make you money. Everyone wins. Good agents are out there. be picky. 

Hey @Brandon Pelfrey ,

It's all about finding the right agent. I've found that it is best to be communicative about your strategy and what you are looking for. Some agents will see the value in you as a long term, repeat customer, and most will not. You will know when you find the right agent. I personally talked with 4-5 agents before I found one that worked will with me. I felt the same way as you - like I was bothering people and that these agents weren't interested in helping me (they weren't). When I finally found an agent that I could work well with, things started rolling quickly. Now I can get information about my market as quickly as I need to. It's all about finding the right person.

Now for how to find that agent, other people probably have better answers than I do. I just messaged agents on realtor.com who had listings that I was interested in until I found someone that I clicked with. I'm sure others on here have more tactful strategies like meeting agents at networking events. However you end up doing it, you will find someone. Good luck!

If you are working with an agent that works with investors, they know the drill. I prefer agents who are also investors because they can right away help you to analyze the deal based on what you want and tell you yea or nay. We were more concerned about getting access to properties on our timing and not having to wait for when the agent was avail. So my husband got his license just so we have access to the mls. He does not help other ppl buy or sell homes. With mls access we can get the showing instructions and go see the property on our own time. Plus we can go direct to the listing agent and let them out the offer in for us. It's a better way to build relationships with a lot of realtors!

Yes I fully understand your sentiment. When I tried being a full time agent a couple investors wore me thin and didn't end up buying anything. One actually drove around on his own and walked into a house that was being renovated that happened to have the listing agent there and bought it right there without me. So I am much more conscious of wasting agents time now that I don't have MLS access. Even with wholesalers I try to run all the numbers and due any due diligence I can before going to the property to cut down on wasting mine and their time. Just a balancing act, be honest with the agent upfront and work with him/her until you buy something or they start ignoring you. Then find another one. You could always get your license to ease your conscience but is that little voice in your head worth the classes, fees, CE, and broker fees? In my case its a no so I am just judicious with which houses I see.

One thing you could try doing is contacting the listing agent and tell him/her that you will go unrepresented and they will get the whole commission. Sometimes it works or they assign you a buyers agent from their team and do a dual agency transaction. 

I totally agree that you can tell that the agent knows what they're doing based on what they bring you and what questions they ask. Funny thing about the agent you mentioned here is that it sounds like he's all in to help you (rather than being 100% focused on the commission he'll earn) but yet you said he's the one that's worth every penny of commission he gets.

Originally posted by @BJ Ralphs :

Yep. many agents are not interested in doing a lot of the grunt work or don't understand exactly what it is that we as investors need. 

In California I'm licensed so I can do my own grunt work, however, I just bought a property in WA. I worked with several agents until I found one who understands my business. Once I found the right person (you can tell by the type of property they show you, comments they make, information they provide, questions they ask you)  we looked at lots of properties. (sometimes I wasn't in town and HE, looked for me, sending me tons of photos) but he has been a blessing as well as a world of information. Worth every penny of commission that he gets. - Also. I'm very clear with him - When I sell the property and many more to come in the future " You are my guy" - He is assured that he gets all of my business. don't mess your agent around. A good one is not easy to find but will work hard if treated fair - A good agent will make you money. Everyone wins. Good agents are out there. be picky. 

Thanks for the reply Shamus, that's a really good point about the potential of an investor being more of a repeat customer than a regular home-buyer would be. It seems from the responses I've gotten here that the best thing to do is to be as up front and clear as you can from the get-go about what you're looking to do and what your strategy is.



Originally posted by @Shamus Wheeler :

Hey @Brandon Pelfrey,

It's all about finding the right agent. I've found that it is best to be communicative about your strategy and what you are looking for. Some agents will see the value in you as a long term, repeat customer, and most will not. You will know when you find the right agent. I personally talked with 4-5 agents before I found one that worked will with me. I felt the same way as you - like I was bothering people and that these agents weren't interested in helping me (they weren't). When I finally found an agent that I could work well with, things started rolling quickly. Now I can get information about my market as quickly as I need to. It's all about finding the right person.

Now for how to find that agent, other people probably have better answers than I do. I just messaged agents on realtor.com who had listings that I was interested in until I found someone that I clicked with. I'm sure others on here have more tactful strategies like meeting agents at networking events. However you end up doing it, you will find someone. Good luck!

Yes that's exactly the idea (the investor wants access to the properties and info about the properties without having to inconvenience the agent or coordinate with them). I feel like oftentimes the regular home-buyer decides they want to buy a home so they go and try to find a house that they like as quickly as possible, whereas an investor is focused much more on finding the right deal without the emotional factors that go into it. The issue I've seen is that agents don't necessarily understand that mindset and are more used to the mindset of a regular home-buyer.

That's interesting that your husband has his license but doesn't act as an agent for anyone. Do you use him as your agent on your deals?


Originally posted by @Tahra Wright :

If you are working with an agent that works with investors, they know the drill.  I prefer agents who are also investors because they can right away help you to analyze the deal based on what you want and tell you yea or nay.  We were more concerned about getting access to properties on our timing and not having to wait for when the agent was avail.  So my husband got his license just so we have access to the mls.  He does not help other ppl buy or sell homes.   With mls access we can get the showing instructions and go see the property on our own time.  Plus we can go direct to the listing agent and let them out the offer in for us. It’s a better way to build relationships with a lot of realtors!

Thanks so much for your response Peter. I really like the idea of being upfront, working with the agent until you buy or they leave, then moving on. And I'm totally with you on the hassles of getting your license not being worth it (at least at this point for me).

Originally posted by @Peter M. :

Yes I fully understand your sentiment. When I tried being a full time agent a couple investors wore me thin and didn't end up buying anything. One actually drove around on his own and walked into a house that was being renovated that happened to have the listing agent there and bought it right there without me. So I am much more conscious of wasting agents time now that I don't have MLS access. Even with wholesalers I try to run all the numbers and due any due diligence I can before going to the property to cut down on wasting mine and their time. Just a balancing act, be honest with the agent upfront and work with him/her until you buy something or they start ignoring you. Then find another one. You could always get your license to ease your conscience but is that little voice in your head worth the classes, fees, CE, and broker fees? In my case its a no so I am just judicious with which houses I see.

One thing you could try doing is contacting the listing agent and tell him/her that you will go unrepresented and they will get the whole commission. Sometimes it works or they assign you a buyers agent from their team and do a dual agency transaction. 

No way, my husband doesn't even want to fill out the paperwork! lol 

He's the boots on the ground part of the business.  He is the project manager for all of our deals.  We have a dedicated agent who sells all of our properties and my husband just takes the referral fee.  Perhaps one day I'll get my license so we can stop paying out that commission, but for now since we both have day jobs, this works just fine!

I am an agent. I am a very high producing agent. I am an agent that works primarily with investors.  I work with investors of varying skill and price levels, from first time purchases buying a cheap $150k condo, all the way up to multimillion dollar deals. I do an amazing job for my clients. 

I say all this to preface, someone like myself who does a lot of business....we typically interview the client to see if we are going to take on the client. I turn down a lot of business. My time is limited, and I dont take on clients who I dont think are going to close deals. I can usually size someone up pretty quickly if they are going to close something.  If they want a property at a certain price, I tell them A) if that is possible, and B) If it is, we craft a strategy to get the property at that price.  If they want to make an offer where their price is not possible....I might do it once, a second time, I fire them. 

I dont show someone 100 properties.  They tell me what they want, what their criteria is.....I either know where to find a property that meets that criteria, or it doesnt exist in my market.

I spend a lot of time educating buyers on properties, the market, renovations....but its typically going to be at my leisure if we are in the education phase and not the buying phase....and Im usually going to have them come to REIAs and meetups for that.  If they want to look at a property they are not going to buy, if I happen to have the time....sure. But most of the time, I dont have the time to show properties unless your actually interested in buying, in which case I send them to the open house.

But the flip side is, I make my clients a ton of money.  Had a client this past year, got him $250k off the list price. (It was obviously an expensive property). Just got a deal under contract last month, $75k off list which was 18% off.  Big discounts like that though, those are usually several months of process involved

@Brandon Pelfrey

I am an agent. I am an investor.

But I agree with previous poster. .

I dont show someone 100 properties. They tell me what they want, what their criteria is.....I either know where to find a property that meets that criteria, or it doesnt exist in my market.

Just be honest with your intensions. If an agent understands the process and what your looking for they can learn to be a great asset and bring deals to the table. In Socal I belonged to an investor colaboration and everyone worked together.

@Brandon Palfrey

I'm an agent as well..  You're definitely not alone..  I buy properties in a different state that I'm not licensed in, and I went thru several agents myself to find one that I mesh with, and that is understanding of what I'm trying to accomplish..  I feel that same way you do, like sometimes its asking too much to do or request certain things  

I go above and beyond for my clients, and really just look for someone that treats their biz like I do..  Its a delicate dance sometimes..  I think you'll feel it, if you're asking too much or its not the right fit..  


Originally posted by @Brandon Pelfrey :
Thanks for the reply Shamus, that's a really good point about the potential of an investor being more of a repeat customer than a regular home-buyer would be. It seems from the responses I've gotten here that the best thing to do is to be as up front and clear as you can from the get-go about what you're looking to do and what your strategy is.



Originally posted by @Shamus Wheeler:

Hey @Brandon Pelfrey,

It's all about finding the right agent. I've found that it is best to be communicative about your strategy and what you are looking for. Some agents will see the value in you as a long term, repeat customer, and most will not. You will know when you find the right agent. I personally talked with 4-5 agents before I found one that worked will with me. I felt the same way as you - like I was bothering people and that these agents weren't interested in helping me (they weren't). When I finally found an agent that I could work well with, things started rolling quickly. Now I can get information about my market as quickly as I need to. It's all about finding the right person.

Now for how to find that agent, other people probably have better answers than I do. I just messaged agents on realtor.com who had listings that I was interested in until I found someone that I clicked with. I'm sure others on here have more tactful strategies like meeting agents at networking events. However you end up doing it, you will find someone. Good luck!

 Exactly! One thing that I've found helpful in communicating your strategy and finding a good agent is being clear on your criteria. If an agent sends you a few prospective properties, reply with exactly WHY these are or are not good deals for you. Agents who want to work with you will start sending you properties that they think loosely match your criteria and ones who don't will stop sending anything. I like to give agents rough criteria such as "3 or 4 units at a price of $40,000 per unit" that they can use quickly with no analysis.  

When I work with a realtor, I respect the realtor's time and do as much upfront work as I can by myself (newspaper articles in the old days, Google searches in today's world). When I bought my house in the 1980s, for example, I had a list of questions (mainly about the house buying procedure). When I sold my house in 2015, my questions were about the selling logistics. I was also asked by my realtor both times why I wanted to buy and why I wanted to sell to make sure my needs were going to be met. I believe the only stupid question is the one that isn't asked.

It pays for realtors to work with their sincere clients. The realtor I retained to buy my house was the one I approached first when I sold my house, effectively giving her the right of first refusal. She earned her commission both times by making sure I stayed on track. Her specialized knowledge about real estate was more extensive than mine because that's what she does for a living.

When I buy a home again where I'm living now, I'll narrow down the list to half a dozen candidates and ask questions about those. Then I'll reduce my short list to a couple of finalists, tour those homes, and make my decision. I'm working informally with a realtor (nothing in writing, but I'm getting regular emails based on my search criteria). I'll give her the right of first refusal when I'm ready to throw the switch and make a purchase. I'll also solicit suggestions from her in case I might be overlooking a potential bargain.

@Russell Brazil

I couldn't agree more with Russell here.  When I work with my investor clients and we have our first call about their goals.  I can quickly find out if the investor is serious or not.  They will give me their parameters and I will quickly tell them if their goals are achievable or not.  That is exactly what a buyer needs from an agent.  They need an agent to tell them the truth right up front.  This saves both parties a ton of time.

If you are a buyer and you want more information to decide if you want to look into a deal further.  Go ask your agent nothing wrong with that.  Now if you are asking your agent for more information and know you won't buy it because of price, condition, area etc.  Don't do that.  You are wasting the agents time and more important you are wasting your own.

A high-level agent will not put up with time wasters. There is a big difference between an investor seriously looking for deals and just taking a long time and an investor just fantasizing about buying.  I have worked with clients that have taken a year to buy but I knew they were serious.  We would talk all the time and I would suggest them not to buy properties because it was overpriced or made no sense.   For new buyers.  If your agent suggests you not to buy something this is a sign you are dealing with an elite agent that knows their market. Remember this when you are working with an agent.

Just be upfront about it. Develop a relationship with an agent who you know you can call and they'll show you the property, send you the info, and they'll know you'll call them when you do buy something. Just don't expect them to drop everything and serve you if you're doing that and keep calling the same person! @Brandon Pelfrey

Thanks Russell, really appreciate your perspective on this. Sounds like you are a great agent! 

Originally posted by @Russell Brazil :

I am an agent. I am a very high producing agent. I am an agent that works primarily with investors.  I work with investors of varying skill and price levels, from first time purchases buying a cheap $150k condo, all the way up to multimillion dollar deals. I do an amazing job for my clients. 

I say all this to preface, someone like myself who does a lot of business....we typically interview the client to see if we are going to take on the client. I turn down a lot of business. My time is limited, and I dont take on clients who I dont think are going to close deals. I can usually size someone up pretty quickly if they are going to close something.  If they want a property at a certain price, I tell them A) if that is possible, and B) If it is, we craft a strategy to get the property at that price.  If they want to make an offer where their price is not possible....I might do it once, a second time, I fire them. 

I dont show someone 100 properties.  They tell me what they want, what their criteria is.....I either know where to find a property that meets that criteria, or it doesnt exist in my market.

I spend a lot of time educating buyers on properties, the market, renovations....but its typically going to be at my leisure if we are in the education phase and not the buying phase....and Im usually going to have them come to REIAs and meetups for that.  If they want to look at a property they are not going to buy, if I happen to have the time....sure. But most of the time, I dont have the time to show properties unless your actually interested in buying, in which case I send them to the open house.

But the flip side is, I make my clients a ton of money.  Had a client this past year, got him $250k off the list price. (It was obviously an expensive property). Just got a deal under contract last month, $75k off list which was 18% off.  Big discounts like that though, those are usually several months of process involved

Its all about letting the agent know your plan. That way the two of you can discuss when to call, when and how to explore on your own.  If you like your agent there are steps you need need to follow so you dont end up "tied" to a different agent.  A good agent will take the time to explain these steps to you 

Thanks Anne. Could you explain these steps you mentioned to me? 

Originally posted by @Anne T Tanner :

Its all about letting the agent know your plan. That way the two of you can discuss when to call, when and how to explore on your own.  If you like your agent there are steps you need need to follow so you dont end up "tied" to a different agent.  A good agent will take the time to explain these steps to you 

The best thing I'd to have a buyer consultation.  Talk to the agent about what you should do if you "run into" another agent whilevout and about.  Ask about buyer agency also.  When you see a property that you may be interested in make sure you contact your agent and always let agents you run into know that you are working with an agent - especially at open houses, new builds etc.  

Anne Tanner

Real Estate Business Coach 

@Brandon Pelfrey I am an investor. I would never visit a property that I have have no plans to make an offer on. You should be able to use the MLS and other public information such as Zillow or Google Street View to make a small list of perspective properties. If you are not ready or don't have money to place offers, then you have no business wasting an agents time.

As @Russell Brazil pointed out, successful agents are evaluating you just like you evaluate them. No good/successful agent will be interested in working with you just because you say you are an investor. Investors make offers and close deals. 

I get the feeling you are starting out and trying to feel out the market. Nothing wrong with that! Just don't waste peoples time until you are serious. You can drive neighborhoods, visit open houses and analyze deals all day without once reaching out to your agent. 

Nobody wants to work for free.  Will you?  Question is, are you using this agent to seriously buy and find good deals? He will most likely know on the first week.

I just don't go out and look at properties to see what they offer, I do my assignment before hand, and if is a good deal, and I think is doable, I contact my agent and then talk about it before even set an appointment.  

That said, you have to be honest with your agent up-front.  You can say I'm ready but I'm looking for a very very good deal.  he may understand unless you are overdoing it and he feels you are not serious.  My experience with my broker is that, I let him know when I'm fishing or getting a feel for the market, or serious and ready, and it has work out very well for me. 

Originally posted by @Joe Splitrock :

@Brandon Pelfrey I am an investor. I would never visit a property that I have have no plans to make an offer on. You should be able to use the MLS and other public information such as Zillow or Google Street View to make a small list of perspective properties. If you are not ready or don't have money to place offers, then you have no business wasting an agents time.

As @Russell Brazil pointed out, successful agents are evaluating you just like you evaluate them. No good/successful agent will be interested in working with you just because you say you are an investor. Investors make offers and close deals. 

I get the feeling you are starting out and trying to feel out the market. Nothing wrong with that! Just don't waste peoples time until you are serious. You can drive neighborhoods, visit open houses and analyze deals all day without once reaching out to your agent. 

 I do visit properties that I'm not ready to get in, but you never knows.  In my opinion is good to look at them, but also I let my broker knows that I'm not ready and just gathering a feeling of the property/area.  He understands, because I have closed two deals with him. So we have a business relationship and we understand each other.  Not OK to use someone to show properties if you are not interested and have done 0 business with them.