Real Estate Investing: Finding a Good Agent
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Real Estate Investing: Finding a Good Agent

There are over a million agents in the country. But probably more than 95 percent of them cater mainly to people who are looking for a home in which to live. They may not know the difference between a home that will make a good residence in which to live and one that will make a good investment. The agent you want should be handling investment properties as his or her primary line of work.
                      real estate agent expertise

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How do I find an "investor's agent"?

Every investor has to ask this question. There are over a million agents in the country. But probably more than 95 percent of them cater mainly to people who are looking for a home in which to live. Yes, if you ask about a single-family home as an investment, they'll show them to you. But they may not know the difference between a home that will make a good residence in which to live and one that will make a good investment. The agent you want should be handling investment properties as his or her primary line of work. Residences for occupant/owners should only be a sideline. Don't hesitate to ask your agent the type of properties he or she has sold over the last year. If the answer is single-family homes, then ask if the buyers have all moved in. If they have, then chances are you've got the wrong agent. You want one who will tell you that he or she has sold strip malls, apartment buildings, office buildings, bare land, investment homes, and more. This is an agent who can lead you to good investment properties and get the right kind of deal for you.

Is my agent experienced?

You want not only an agent who is trustworthy in the sense of looking out for your interests and straightforward and honest, you also want an agent whose experience you can trust. This means someone who's been in the business a while and seen it through many deals, who can truly advise you not just on buying a home, but on investing. While the majority of agents come into the business for a few years to try their hands, only a relative few stick it out for decades and make a career of selling real estate. Nevertheless, every town does have some of these career real estate people. Traditionally, such an experienced agent would be a one-person office. You could simply ask other agents who has been around the longest, or call the local real estate board and see if they will tell you which brokerage has the greatest longevity. However, in today's modern world, most successful real estate people have gone under the umbrella of a national or franchise company. However, even in one of these offices, there is often an agent who specializes in investment property. That's the person to look for. You want someone who's been around for a minimum of 5 years and preferably for 20 years.

How do I avoid the wrong agent?

You're looking for an agent who will take the time to work with you to find just the right property. Too many "hot" agents just churn and burn. They hop from prospect to prospect, and if you don't buy within the first showing or two, they'll dump you and move on. After all, they have a certain volume of sales to maintain. That's probably fortunate, because if you stuck with this person, you might end up with a property you wouldn't want. As an investor, you don't want to be the victim of someone who processes real estate buyers in a quick and dirty fashion and whose eye is riveted to his or her bottom line. Rather, what you want is someone who is successful enough to have the time to invest in his or her clients, who is willing to take as much time as necessary to service them, who is determined to get for them just what they want.

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