Real estate investors are a different breed of home buyer and as such they need a different breed of Realtor®. There are many factors that go into the purchase of an investment property that the buyer of a primary residence and her agent wouldn’t even think of considering. For example, someone buying a home for themselves might be interested in a big kitchen with granite counter tops, cherry hard wood floors and his and her’s walk-in closets while an investor is going to be looking at cash flow, repairs needed and cash flow.
Those are some pretty big differences in motivation. The problem for real estate investors is that real estate agents who understand the former are a dime a dozen. Those who understand the latter are much more difficult to find, yet they can be found. Investors just need to dig a little deeper to find the right match.
I need (want) to make money from day one: Most any Realtor® understands the financial motivations for buying a home that will be occupied by the owner: “Not paying rent to a landlord and I just love the kitchen!” Far fewer real estate agents understand the financial considerations necessary to evaluate a potential investment property: Is the purchase price at, above or below market value? How much will the property rent for? When it is time to sell the house will this house appeal to owner occupants or just investors?
No spam, please!: No one wants to have a new listing hit their inbox every 15 minutes only to find a house that doesn’t meet ANY stated criteria for a rental property. Being able to tell the difference between a great rental and a bad one is an art form that few agents master.
If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again: It is not uncommon for investors to make offers on multiple properties before one of them is accepted. It’s all about the deal and if the first deal doesn’t come together with the right numbers then you move on to the next deal. Investors should be looking for a Realtor® who understands this and isn’t afraid of or annoyed by writing multiple offers.
Plays well (experience) with others: Not just experience but success with other investors. A little homework goes a long way and investors should ask to speak with clients of the real estate agent being considered. Serious real estate investors should be looking for an agent whose investor clients keep coming back for more.
Um, yeah, my sister lives there: Wrong answer. Real estate investors need someone connected to the market in question. Not someone who vacations there, not someone with relatives there but someone who eats, drinks and breathes the market being considered. Would it be wise to let an orthopedic surgeon operate on your lower intestine? No. Nor is it wise to take advice from someone who doesn’t understand the local rental market inside and out.
Thanks for the deal, good luck with that rental!: Buying an investment property is just the beginning. How do you find good tenants? Sure you can find a lease online to copy and use but do you know if it will hold up in court? What happens when the hot water heater breaks? Look for an agent who is able and willing to help with issues like these even after the purchase has closed.
For real estate investors, a little homework and asking the right questions can go a long way toward finding an agent who can be an asset to making money on investment properties.