We have talked before about the importance of building a great team. For while property investing may feel like a solo activity, successful investors surround themselves with great partners for every step of the process. Having a great real estate agent on your team is critical to your overall success. Here are some things to look for when you are trying to find a great real estate agent to add to your team.
The real estate industry moves quickly, and it has a lot of components. You can’t expect an agent to drop everything whenever you call. But you do need someone who will get back to you quickly if he or she is not immediately available. Particularly in hot markets, properties can go under contract within hours of being listed. In today’s technological world, there is no reason for an agent to not be able to respond quickly. And don’t forget that you also need to be responsive. It’s easy to get sidetracked, but you owe it to everyone involved to be equally responsive to those who are waiting to hear from you.
Like most career fields, real estate is broad enough to warrant some specialization. Just as some attorneys practice family law, and others handle criminal defense, some real estate agents are great with first-time home buyers while others focus on commercial real estate. A great residential agent may not necessarily be familiar with the intricacies of investment properties. When you are talking with agents, ask what experience they have had with distressed assets, investment properties, and wholesale deals. This type of real estate is not for everyone. You owe it to yourself to ensure your real estate partner is well-versed in the types of situations you are likely to encounter.
Let’s be real—property investors can be difficult to work with. By nature, many investors are micromanagers, and they set the bar high. With so many moving parts, decisions have to be made quickly, which can lead to terse conversations at times. You need an agent who understands the business, but also someone who works well with your personality. If you are just getting started, you also need an agent who can help walk you through the process while you are still learning. Find an agent who is willing to answer a lot of questions. You will probably have many, especially in the beginning as you build a comfort level with the investment world.
Everyone wants to get a good deal when they buy a house. This is especially important for property investors. Since the end goal is generally to rehab the property and then sell or rent it, financial success hinges on getting the property at a price that allows for needed repairs and expected profit margins. A great real estate agent will negotiate on your behalf to get properties under contract for the lowest possible price. An agent who is focused exclusively on his commission and missing the long-term benefits of a continued partnership is not a good fit. Look for an agent who likes to negotiate, and who sees the big picture. The more successful you become, the more properties you will be able to buy, which means more commissions. A great real estate agent will see your success as mutually beneficial.
While this may not be an exhaustive list of all the qualifications that make an agent great, this is a great starting point as you look for the ideal team member. Your business hinges on acquiring properties at a good price and your real estate agent is a key component of this process. When you are looking for the right partner, take your time and ask the right questions. Do as much research as you can and look for someone you believe matches your communication style. Finding a good fit may take a little time, but it’s worth the effort.