Forbes: 14 Tips For Finding An Investor-Friendly Realtor

If you’re looking to invest in real estate, working with an agent is often a smart decision. A professional who knows your desired market can provide insights and resources that DIY research simply can’t match.

While there are many knowledgeable agents out there, it can be a challenge to find the right one for your needs and goals. To help you find an A-plus agent, we asked the members of Forbes Real Estate Council how to find an investor-friendly realtor. Here are the methods they recommend, and why they believe each is so effective.

1. Produce A Video

We found it helpful to film a video on how and why a realtor can and should do business with us. Then, as we run into realtors in our normal everyday business, we direct them to the video and establish great future referrals. We don’t seek them out as our lead generation doesn’t require or need them. – Chris Prefontaine, Smart Real Estate Coach

2. Find The Busiest Agent

Seek out an agent well-versed in the investing industry. Look for the busiest agent you can find. Then, when you interview them, ask tough questions. They should be able to speak confidently about portfolios, including the acquisition and liquidation. A strong, investor-savvy agent should also ask you about your processes, systems and inventory management if you are flipping homes. – Christopher Lazarus, Sellect Realty, LLC

3. Offer Reasonable Expectations And Loyalty

Real estate investing is becoming increasingly specialized, so have reasonable expectations of an agent. You can’t expect an agent to analyze an investment. That is the investor’s job. A good agent should keep you out of trouble by providing honest feedback and watching your blind spots. Attract the right agent by offering loyalty, giving the agent every listing and purchase. – Matt Lavinder, New Again Houses

4. Look For Experienced References

The most valuable realtors are those with actual experience as an investor. Their value comes from focusing on truly substantive issues, familiarity with actual inputs on return calculations (such as including taxes and maintenance), knowing lending sources, etc. These realtors are generally more difficult to find, as they are doing their own properties, but references are a great place to start. – Robert Jafek, Boomerang Capital Partners

5. Find An ‘Investor Expert’

Every agent out there is “investor-friendly.” It is more valuable for the investor if the agent has skills and expertise in the investment arena the buyer is considering. An investor should seek an expert that listens to the goals of the investor. An absolute must is an agent that understands the difference between appreciation speculation and ROI, CAP Rates and operational cash flow. – Michael Thomas Chambers, Chambers Theory

6. Look For An Ambitious Agent

A lot of investors want an agent who knows how to invest, but I think this is a big mistake. Agents who know how to invest may be your biggest competition. An investor should not need an agent to tell them what to buy, but an agent who has time for them and can act fast. Choose a young agent who is ambitious and has time for you. – Mark Ferguson, InvestFourMore

7. Search Local Real Estate Investment Groups

No one has ready access to local market information—or knowledge and insight that you can’t find on the internet—like a top local real estate agent who works with investors. You can find one through a local real estate investment group. Nearly every market has one and they are only a quick Google or Facebook search away. A successful investor referring you to an agent is the safest way to go. – Kevin Hawkins, WAV Group, Inc.

8. Ask For Case Studies, Not Reviews

Oftentimes, the best way to get a guarantee is by learning about their past experiences and asking for a case study. Ask your brokers for cases that they’ve worked on that are similar to your case. When they provide you with similar cases, they will earn your trust and demonstrate their interest in helping you out. – Rodolfo Delgado, Replay Listings

9. Attend Investor Networking Events

Just like anything else, all realtors are not created equally. The real estate industry has many verticals and working with investors is one of many. It takes a special kind of realtor to work with investors. I strongly suggest attending investor networking events and ask other investors who they work with and why. Most successful investors work with several realtors. Get someone who’s proven! – Bobby Bryant, Ask Doss

10. Provide An Incentive To Work Together

Remember that brokers only get paid when deals get done. We get no salary. When I first started, I had one key client who paid me for basic jobs, such as finding him rent comps. He did this as he knew I was struggling—but even more so, he did it to start forging a strong relationship. He got many “first looks” on deals due to his generosity and investment in me. – Heidi Burkhart, Dane Real Estate

11. Look For An Investment Sales Broker

Don’t look for a realtor, look for an investment sales broker. This is more than semantics. “Realtor” is a trademark name defined by membership in an association, which is typically residential. Most investment sales brokers are not realtors. Most successful investment sales brokers will have a website with their transactions. Make sure they have experience in the product type you are seeking. – Lee Kiser, Kiser Group

12. Find Someone With Access To Resources

Finding an agent or broker who is also an investor in that city provides access to valuable resources in addition to the comps and market data that are available to pretty much all licensees. An investor will know electricians, plumbers, HVAC, fire safety and a number of other vendors who are reliable and who you will need to help conduct due diligence as well as maintenance and repairs. – Catherine Kuo, Elite Homes | Christie’s International Real Estate

13. Be A Realtor-Friendly Investor

The best way to find an investor-friendly realtor is to be a realtor-friendly investor. Align the incentives: let them double-end the deal when you’re done with your flip or value-add. Realtors are busy! Know your strike zone and be specific on the price, area or unit count. Follow through on your word. This is a pull strategy that’s guaranteed to have people forward you deals all the time. – Jason Hsiao, Shaw Investments

14. Perform And The Best Investor Agents Will Find You

For experienced investors, go with the listing agent on the buy (let them double-end the deal) and give that same agent business again on the sale. This strategy works great when entering a new market. Once you perform, the off-market deals start flowing both from the agent and every other investor agent who saw the transaction. – Heath Silverman, Stessa

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Lee Kiser