There is a lot that goes into deciding which real estate agent to work with. The right realtor will often have a direct impact on the success of your business. They can help you find properties that may not have otherwise been available, and get your properties sold as quickly as possible. Finding the right real estate agent takes as much due diligence as anyone else on your investing team. It is not enough to go with the first person you call or a name given by a fellow investor. Your real estate agent needs to be the best fit for you and your business. To see if they are a good fit, there are a couple of questions you should have answered. The responses will go a long way in determining if you are working with the right realtor. Here are 4 questions you should ask, and the subsequent responses you should be looking for:
1. “Are you more of a listing or selling agent?”
A great listing agent may not always be a great selling agent. There are two sides to every real estate transaction: the buy and the sell. Some agents are proficient at working with buyers and finding new listings. Others prefer working with sellers, and know how to handle that side of the transaction. It is important to find this out before you enter into an agreement with a Realtor. If your investing business is more focused on rehabs, with the intent to rent, you have minimal need for a good selling agent. Conversely, if you look to immediately put your properties back on the market after rehab, you need a good agent to help get top dollar. Most real estate agents are better at one side of the business. Find out where their strengths fall and if they fit with what you are looking to do. A highly successful listing agent doesn’t do you much good if you are looking to buy.
2. “What is your strategy?”
All good real estate agents have a plan. If they are hesitant to tell you what they plan on doing, they may be hiding something. You would certainly ask your contractor how they plan on working. Why not ask your Realtor? A real estate agent that focuses on buyers may have access to bank owned listings or other means to find deals. You don’t need to know their specific source, but you should feel comfortable that they have something that others don’t have. A listing agent should do more than simply put your home on the MLS and wait for the phone to ring. If your real estate agent is upset by you asking how they are going to work, you may not have the right fit. Be careful not to let the current success influence your decision making. Sometimes it is better to go with a more inexperienced realtor with a vision rather than a successful one that is stuck in their ways.
3. “Where are you getting your data?”
Nobody wants to feel like they are being sold. A good real estate agent should be more about the numbers than trying to act like a salesperson. Anyone can tell you what you want to hear. They can list your home for whatever number you want, but are they really going to get it sold? It is important to fight the temptation of falling for a line without seeing actual data. If your Realtor tells you they are going to find ten new properties a month in your price range and market, ask them how. If they tell you they can sell your listings for 15 percent higher than the current market, ask to see what methods they plan on using. By choosing the real estate agent that only tells you what you want to hear, you run the risk of hurting your business. Instead of pushing your business forward, your listings will sit on the market and your portfolio won’t grow. You want your real estate agent to be confident in their abilities, but never overconfident.
4. “Are you available if I have any questions?”
The single most important part of any relationship is communication. You can have the best real estate agent on your team, but if you can’t get a hold of them you will never know. There is a certain amount of diligence you should expect to do on every property, but you also need to have support. It is not unreasonable to expect a return call, email or text in a few hours. Your real estate agent works for you. If they can’t find a few minutes to answer a question or deal with an issue, you should find a Realtor who will. Most deals that hit the market are time sensitive. A few hours can change everything. Having a busy real estate agent means they are doing something right, but it can also mean they don’t have time for you. Before you work with them, ask what their policy is for return calls. How they answer will tell a lot about them.
Not all real estate agents are the same. When you find the right one, you will know it. Take the time to ask questions prior to working with anyone. You can always make changes after, but it is much easier to get it right from the start. This process may take several weeks and lead you to several meetings. In the end, when you find the right real estate agent for you, it will be worth it. It may just be the one thing that changes your business.