How does someone pick the right agency who has investors in their best interest. I'm new to the Tampa area and do not know the neighborhoods well. I have worked with one so far and I fear she does not have a good grasp on the Tampa and surrounding areas. Is there such a thing as a "real estate investment advisor"?
Go check out your local REIA. Usually the agents who are well versed in the investment side are investors themselves and will be more active on the investing side than they are on the agency side
@Blair Poelman makes a great point. It's going to be a lot of trial and error at the start. I only work with investors and am happy to speak with you to share my thoughts and answer questions if you'd like to have a chat.
I'd highly recommend reading chapter 4 of Bigger Pocket's The Book on Rental Property Investing (It may be free for BiggerPockets members, but I can't remember for sure). It's all about surrounding yourself with a solid team (Real Estate Agents, Accountants, Lawyers, etc). To give you the spark-notes version of picking a real estate agent, they recommend finding a real estate agent who's also an investor (this way they'll see your point of view when searching), ask fellow investors for references, and most importantly INTERVIEW them! This will give you the opportunity to see how compatible you are together, how hungry they are to find you a deal, how knowledgeable they are about their marketplace, how tech-savy they are, etc... Be prepared with a list of questions before meeting with them, and have your goals and strategy determined because they will likely be interviewing you as well (most real estate agents will want to make sure you're serious about investing before working with you).
Go to REIA's and find some good wholesalers. You will be better off with someone who understands and deals specifically with the investment market rather than a realtor. And I'm saying this as a licensed realtor. Feel free to PM me for some recommendations and I would be happy to help.
@Yen Ryder I'm a Broker Associate and Partner in a local real estate investment brokerage. I'm a native of Tampa and also host one of the 8 monthly meetings for the largest REIA (tbreia.com) in Tampa that my partner is an owner in. PM me!
I'm an agent too, investor and wholesaler, just like the two guys I mentioned. The community is not that big and you will get to know everyone pretty quickly. I have worked with Phil many times and I can tell you he is a stand-up guy and has been helping investors in the area for a while. As Phil mentioned, if you have questions, feel free to reach out as I come across a lot of deals I pass on and that are wholesale (non-MLS) that can be passed along to others.