5 Key Steps In Hiring A Real Estate Agent


I am always amazed when I see the typical real estate agent do their one deal of the year. Mostly, their customer is a family member who felt compelled to work with them because after all, “it’s family.” But what about all of the people who just work with the first agent that they find?

When I see one of these (I’ll just say less than stellar) ill-prepared agents just dragging their customer to hell and back, I really have to wonder why the customer didn’t do a better job of agent selection. It’s not like the tools aren’t available to figure out some basic background information on every productive agent. Funny Real Estate Agent Video

But if you are a professional real estate investor, you better have a much smarter way to hire a real estate agent.

First things first, I am a real estate agent so my opinions are biased. But I also have been a real estate investor forĀ  nearly 20 years, so I know a thing or two about how to screw things up when buying, selling, or turning a transaction. Most of these mistakes can be prevented by hiring a great real estate agent, and this can be done by following these general principles.

The 5 Key Steps In Hiring A Real Estate Agent

  1. Determine Your Goals First – Do not hire a real estate agent by default. What I mean is don’t call on a home, meet an agent, and then just start working with them. This common practice leads to more heartache and more lost momentum for investors than any other practice that I have seen. Write a plan first. Determine your specific goals, whether buying or selling investment property (or both). Make sure your plan is simple, but thorough (a good test is give it to one of your children and ask them to tell you what it says). Remember the old adage, “nobody plans to fail, they just fail to plan.”
  2. Do Your Research – Once you know what you want, go to Google and start a search with a focus on the attributes that you know you want in your real estate agent. If you cannot find them on the web, then they most likely are not wired into all of the resources that will help you optimize your returns. There are some great traditional agents … who are now retiring. Make sure your agent is somebody who is linked in to all of the modern real estate technologies.
  3. Demand The Best – This might come as a shock, but you typically pay the same for a crappy agent as you would for a great agent (in terms of commissions, not in returns!). The best real estate agents are very busy, and they will demand your loyalty on each specific transaction. If you have done your research, you should embrace working with an agent who requires a buyers brokerage agreement. Most do not (and most are not very good!).
  4. Nothing Lasts Forever – This is a sad fact of life, buy most relationships are not forever. If you feel that your agent is not giving you 100% attention and service, get another one! While there are only a handful of really good agents in your market area, you need to know that your agent values your long-term business and will ensure that your investment decisions get full attention.
  5. Pay Attention – Even great performers have a lapse. Create a checklist that you use every time you buy, and create one for every time you sell. As you become more experienced in your real estate investing, your lists should grow to include “all the ways you can screw things up.” Needless to say, I have a pretty long list :).

If you follow these basic rules for hiring a real estate agent, you will end up being a much more successful real estate investor. Fewer mistakes in the transactional process will most likely be a major part of your long-term ROI. Finally, whether you invest full time or just most of the time, make sure you surround yourself with the best minds in the business.

About Author

Joe Manausa, MBA is a 20+ year veteran of real estate brokerage in the State of Florida and has been investing in real estate since 1992. He is a daily blogger with content that focuses on real estate analytics and investing in the residential market.


  1. Joe,
    I agree with you. As an agent I’m surprised how many people don’t want to sit down and interview the agent that might be assisting them in one of the biggest purchases they make in there life time. Or at least perhaps the most expensive. I like to interview the buyer or seller to see if we are a good match as not everyone can work together. We all have different styles and at times they don’t match and it’s best not to work together. Once I get through the interview and we both agree to work together than I give it 110% as I want repeat and referral business as well as I want to treat them as I would want to be treated if I was the buyer or seller.

  2. I’m amazed at the amount of agents that don’t use buyer brokerages. This not only helps the agent, but also the consumer. At least here in California there are certain requirements the agent is required to perform or the buyer can legally fire the agent and get out of the contract.

  3. Hi Joe

    I have been a real estate agent with my own office and now semi-retired. Over the years it constantly amazed me that salespeople expect to have a career in real estate but would not put themselves out to learn about real estate investing as part of their training. There are so many intricacies that apply to investing that do not apply to home purchasing, but most never seemed to get it. I guess that is why they did not last!

  4. I love real estate agents who fancy themselves as ‘trained’ to handle investors too. When I still worked in my local San Diego market (I’m coming back now.) it was like taking candy from babies. I look forward to more of the same.

    You’re absolutely on the money, Joe. Good stuff.

  5. Hi Joe,

    Good list! I really feel that #2 is a big one. Research, research, & more research.

    Like you suggested “Google” your agent, does he/she have a Facebook page, is he/she using Twitter, are they actively promoting themselves online? These are all important things to consider when looking for the right agent.

  6. A lof of our investor clients love the fact that we are investors too so perhaps when the investor starts speaking with the agent they can ask the question if they own any properties or do any buying and selling themselves. It is nice when agents and investors (clients) are on the same wavelength.

  7. Thanks Joe-I needed that!
    Seems like I was the only one here on BP, for a while who spent most of my time making comments, defending the need for Investors to find a Mentor/Agent who had Investment experience and could talk their language. Too many Investors are either told that they don’t need an agent or that WE don’t exist! Although we are few in number, we’re out there-you just have to find us. I also find Investors, especially newbies as well as others, making the same big mistake as first time buyers. They find a property and the first thing they do is call the Listing Agent who works exclusively for the Seller! My Advice is: “Hire one for your Side”.

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