Selling and finding investment properties can be a very stressful and emotional affair. With all that is at stake, this is one of the most important financial decisions most people will ever make in life. Therefore, finding the right investor real estate agent is very crucial for ensuring a smooth transaction and a good return on investment.
Here are 6 helpful tips for how to find an investor friendly real estate agent:
Understand the Different Types of Agents
The kind of investor friendly real estate agent required will depend on whether the investor is selling or buying an investment property. Agents that work with investors selling a property are called ‘listing agents’ or ‘seller’s agents’. On the other hand, those agents that work with people buying investment properties are called ‘selling agents’ or ‘buyer’s agents’. There are also ‘dual agents’ that represent both the seller and buyer during the transaction. However, such agents face a conflict of interest when negotiating since the sellers want to make the highest profit possible and buyers want to get the property at a low price. As a result, dual agency is not legalized in most American states.
Know Where to Look
Here are some of the ways property sellers and buyers can find an investor friendly real estate agent:
- Search online and offline listings – There are numerous online directories such as Mashvisor and real estate agent websites that list agents and investment properties by ZIP code. Investors could also check local newspapers and magazines for adverts of property being sold in their target neighborhood
Book a demo to talk to one of our experts at Mashvisor who can help connect you with an agent.
- Track neighborhood signs – Investors can get agents’ contact info from the ‘For Sale’ signs in their target neighborhood.
- Attend open houses – Going to open houses allows investors to meet and engage with an investor friendly real estate agent in a non-threatening environment. Pay careful attention to how the agent is carrying out their work. Do they seem conversant with the neighborhood? Are they informative and polite? Are they good at listening and responding to questions asked by prospective buyers? Do they distribute any promotional material about the property? The observations made from an open house are invaluable for making an informed decision about a real estate investment agent.
Interview Prospective Agents
After searching and making a shortlist, real estate investors should get in touch with the agents. While a telephone interview could work, it is always advisable to meet face-to-face. Meeting in person allows investors to get an idea of who this individual really is, whether their personality is a good fit and what their values are.
Here are some of the details that need to be established during the interview:
- Years of operation – It would be advisable to work with a real estate agent that has been licensed for not less than five years. Someone who has been in business for a long time is more likely to know about the best real estate deals available in the market.
- Market knowledge – An investor friendly real estate agent needs to be very conversant with the market in the investor’s target neighborhood. They should be able to tell how much a property is likely to sell for and after how long. If the agent has a real estate team, it would be advisable to also check their credentials.
- A full-time agent – Investors should look for individuals working full time as real estate agents, not just doing it part time as a hobby.
- Communication preferences – A lot of communication happens in the process of buying and selling a property. While some people prefer to communicate by text or email, others would rather talk on the phone. Therefore, investors should make sure they are on the same page with real estate agents regarding communication methods and timings.
Verify Their Credentials
An investor friendly real estate agent should not only be experienced but also accredited by a recognized body. Here are some of the credentials investors need to look out for:
- Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR) – Indicates that the agent has been trained to represent buyers in transactions
- Certified Resident Specialist (CRS) – Indicates that the agent has been trained in handling residential real estate
- Senior Real Estate Specialist (SRES) – Indicates that the agent has been trained to help buyers and sellers over 50 years of age
However, just because an agent has these initials after their name does not mean that they are actually accredited. Investors should visit the Association of Real Estate License Law Officials (ARELLO) to verify if the agent’s license is legitimate.
Besides being licensed, an investor friendly real estate agent should also be a member of the National Association of Realtors. Members of this association are bound by a strict code of ethics, thus ensuring that investors are protected through the process.
Talk to Past Clients
Before doing business with an investor friendly real estate agent, it is very important to talk to some of their previous customers. Investors should get contact details of at least two customers the agent has worked with in the past year. Get in touch with them and ask questions such as:
- How did the real estate agent market your investment property?
- How long was the property on the market?
- Did the agent respond quickly to email and phone calls?
- Is the agent a good listener?
- What was the list price of your property?
- What was the final sale price? Do you think that this was the best price possible?
- Would you work with this agent again? If not, why?
One of the best ways of finding an investor friendly real estate agent is by asking family and friends. If they have first-hand experience with the agent, their advice could prove invaluable. Investors should also seek recommendations from other real estate professionals such as title agents, private money lenders, contractors, property managers, attorneys, and commercial agents. However, such endorsement should not be a substitute for investors doing their own due diligence on top real estate agents.
Though finding an investor friendly real estate agent can be a long and tedious process, it pays off in the long run. However, if working with a real estate agent proves stressful, property buyers or sellers should fire them immediately and look for someone else.