- Elias Zeekeh, MBA, CPA, CMA
7 Things to Look for in an Investment Realtor
The process of finding an Investment Realtor can be challenging. There is no such thing as the perfect Realtor like there is no such thing as the perfect spouse! While looking you may actually find there are some Realtors who are unwilling to work with investors entirely. This may not be completely rational, but there are some underhanded investors who waste the time of Realtors. If you get this response just dust yourself off and keep your Realtor search going.
Below is a list of 7 things to look for in an investment Realtor:
Patience. Real estate investing is a marathon not a race. Look for a Realtor who will take the time to understand what you want, both short and long-term. In some markets the supply of good investment properties will be in short supply and the patience of both you and your Realtor will be tested in finding the right investment property.
Integrity. The Realtor you hire is an extension of yourself. If they have nasty business practices or behave in an unethical fashion with other agents or third parties this can reflect poorly on you. Realtors may also interact with your tenants when you’re selling to coordinate property showings. There is a saying that “you are who you surround yourself with”. Only work with Realtors who display the highest standards of integrity at all times.
Market Knowledge. A solid understanding of current market conditions is a vital attribute for an Investment Realtor. The length of industry experience can be helpful in achieving this, but I should caution is not always a determining factor. Your Realtor should be able to display an understanding of the leading indicators of property appreciation, such as infrastructure improvement and job growth trends within markets they are suggesting to invest.
Network. An experienced Realtor will have connections to industry professionals such as lawyers, mortgage specialists, contractors, and home stagers. This can be very helpful to a new investor building their investment team. Furthermore, being reputable amongst other Realtors can also be of benefit on both the buy and sell side. As mentioned under point #2 on integrity “you are who you surround yourself with”.
Competitive Advantage. Does your Realtor have a competitive advantage? For example, a Realtor previously in the property development industry may be able to provide unique perspective on how to renovate a property to increase value; or a Realtor that previously worked in finance might be better at quickly identifying cash flow properties.
Investment Experience. A Realtor with investment experience will have an advantage in finding investment properties. This means less time wasted looking at properties that don’t suite your business model. Ultimately, you still need to take the role of the investment expert in your relationship with your Realtor. Even if they have investment experience their role is still to guide you in the investment process and facilitate a transaction, not to make the decisions for you. If you purchase the wrong property the buck stops with you.
High Standard of Customer Service. What will the Realtor do if you become unhappy with the agreement? Will the Realtor allow you to cancel the agreement? This is a question you should ask upfront. Furthermore, they should be able to provide you a list of references from satisfied investment clients.
Lastly, I suggest to fire early and fire often. If you’ve hire a Realtor and see early on they won’t be a good fit, confront the matter immediately. The Realtor will be more understanding and you’ll be able to severe the business relationship more amicably than if you drag them through the mud and waste their time. Acting with integrity helps to protect the credibility of both you and fellow investors.
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