How to be very choosy
In trying to figure out how to choose a Realtor for your investment property searching help, it is best to choose a reputable local area real estate agent with a broker’s license. You’re not simply choosing an agent, as I outlined in my last article. In the great debate over whether to use a real estate broker vs agent, the broker is always the one with the heavier experience, greater state-sponsored real estate education – and experience. And by reputable, I don’t mean the one with simply the well-known hyper-local reputation for their salesmanship skills. You know, the one with a plethora of listings, representing many different local sellers. To the inexperienced eye, one might get the impression that these “local legends” of real estate are the go-to people to represent your interests.
Don’t be deceived
Nothing could be farther from the truth. Consider these key elements in your analysis of who to hire as your agent – be it for buying or, when it comes time to sell, as your personal sales rep. An agent who has a ton of property listings is going to be very busy, for sure. Ultimately, how much time can they realistically devote to you as a buyer of investment property? Also, consider that agents that primarily list properties are known as selling agents. Temperamentally, they are more suited towards representing sellers, not buyers. In this same mode, they will be ill-prepared to represent you as a buyer – let alone fully understand your needs as a buyer, and as an investor.
Using their connections
In addition, consider that primarily listing agents, while being well-connected with large numbers of family and friends within a community (probably an area they may have grown up in to boot) may be thought of as a major plus, but there is a downside…a big downside. These same listing agents with the great local reputation for taking listings do just that – take listings. They obtain most of their listings by breathing. Years of family and friends throwing off sellers for them to represent have created what I call a monster. The monster of not thinking much, not being able to think creatively, nor the ability to push hard for those they represent. They are simply used to having listings handed to them.
Beware a stockpile of listings
These same listing agents with their perennial stockpile of listings don’t have to work hard for a living (if you think pushing paper is working hard). They also tend to be removed from the most basic understanding of what they originally had to learn: namely, their local state real estate law. For example, I just ran into one Realtor in my area that was representing a seller. And it has been a very ugly experience. Items on her listing sheet did not match town records. (And town hall and the local building department is the first place a proper listing agent needs to go when taking a listing – to ensure, or at least be able to explain, any discrepancy between town records and what is actually in a home. In my example, she had never checked that town records showed a half-bath in the basement where a full bath actually existed. When I questioned her about it for my buyer, she got extremely defensive, huffy and irate. Eventually she came back to me with a statement that she has never met a Realtor who checks town records. And, naturally, I have never met (until her) a Realtor that did not.
Speed to impress
So be very, very careful when interviewing these “know-it-all” agent types with their large stable of listings. Instead, ask how they would represent you as your buyer’s agent for investment property. What exactly will they do for you, and how often? At the very least, they should rattle of instantly that they will create automatic searches to be delivered daily to your email, of houses matching your criteria you’re looking for. They should also impress you by their speed at getting back to you in simple communications, and their overall investment property knowledge. Without a doubt, you must make sure they know how to read a pro forma income statement. It’s also a good idea to work with someone who regularly works as a buyer’s agent, representing buyers’ interests (whether investor or not). Buyer’s agents tend to be made up of a very different temperament than seller’s agents. They tend to bend over backwards to please you, and are really excellent, by and large, at listening to what your needs list is, and make great suggestions as to how to acquire a property that fits your description.
Filling in another piece to your team
If you look more discerningly as you choose your Realtor to represent you, you will be able to fill in another excellent piece to your overall investment property team. Make sure you ask the right questions, as outlined above. And never go on a Realtor’s local “reputation” alone. It could prove very misleading – and costly in the end for you. This is because you ultimately may miss out on exposure to prime buying opportunities due to their gross incompetence. Make sure the Realtor you select is proactive, and not used to their old way of doing business as usual. It’s just one of the keys to investment property success.
photos courtesy of orlando-mortgage.org, cutcaster.com, starproperty.my, redoaktx.org, yourdictionary.com