Regardless of how you do business and how you find deals, working with the right real estate agent is essential. Not only will the right real estate agent help increase your pipeline, but they will push the deals that you are working on towards closing. For every real estate investor, there is a complimentary real estate agent. The right agent may not be the most productive or have the most contacts. The most important criteria, however, is that they need to be a good fit for you and where you are in the business. If you are struggling on where to start your search, here are some tips to help you find the best real estate agent for you:
1. Define Your Business: Before you can talk to a prospective real estate agent, you need to know what you want. You should have a clear vision of what types of properties you want, in what price range, and in what location. If you are using lender financing, your prequalification letter should be updated. If you have private money, your proof of funds letter needs to be clear and easy to read. The more you know about your business and what you want, the easier it is for a real estate agent to do their job. Walking into a real estate office and telling a prospective real estate agent that you are ready to invest will not do you much good. Before you seek out a Realtor, figure out what you want from them and how you plan on doing business. The more you know about how you want to invest, the easier finding the right Realtor will be.
2. Do Your Homework: A good real estate agent won’t just fall into your lap. You will need to put the time in to find the best one for you. The best real estate agent is not always the one with the most listings or the most closed transactions. If you look for distressed properties in suppressed markets, you need an agent that knows how to deal with short sales and banked owned properties. Go to local networking meetings or investment clubs and talk to as many people as possible. It is not uncommon for your attorney, accountant or mortgage broker to give you a recommendation. From there you need to put the work in and see if they are a fit. Go to their website and check out any current listings and past transactions. If you like what you see, go ahead and plan a meeting and talk to them in person.
3. Set Up a Meeting: There is a lot that separates one real estate agent from the next. Even though they all have access to the same tools, not every agent is the same. The best way to see if you are on the same page is to set up a meeting. How accommodating your real estate agent is will tell you a lot about them. If they are too busy for a meeting it could be a sign that they may be difficult to work with. Personality is much more important than you may think. While you and your realtor don’t need to be best friends, you should feel a certain level of comfort with them. You should feel you can call, text or email them any time without getting a rude response. You may not be able to tell all this from an initial meeting, but you should be able to get a good idea. At this first meeting, you should get as much out in the open as possible. Discuss where, when and how you plan on making offers and doing business.
4. Start With One Deal: There is always value in being loyal. That being said, there are times when you need to accept that not everyone is a good fit. If you think you can work with a real estate agent, start with one deal on a trial basis. They will feel you out as much as you are doing the same. See how quickly they respond to you and if you are comfortable with them for the entire process. In starting off with one deal, you can get can an idea if you want to move forward. In a perfect world, you will have one prime real estate agent that you do a majority of your business with. However, this may not always be very realistic. Some Realtors will give you lip service as to what they can do, but fail when it is time to deliver. The only way to know this is by working together and finding out. After the transaction, you can evaluate how things went and if you want to work together again.
A good real estate agent can open doors and give you access to more deals than you thought were possible. There is a process that you have to follow to get to that point, however. Treat finding a good Realtor like you would finding anyone else on your team. Once you find a real estate agent that works for you, your business will change virtually overnight.