Today the Silicon Valley Investors Club is happy to have Nikki Miller join us to talk about how to make yourself desirable to real estate agents and find the right agent to help you achieve your investing goals. Nikki Miller is a Realtor with Keller Williams and her team services both Northern and Southern California and she is a trusted SVIC partner.
There are few things as important to the savvy real estate investor as their real estate agent partner. Agents are often the best source for off-market deals, contractor referrals, lending partners, property managers, local restrictions, and market statistics just to name a few. Having the right agent in your investing corner can mean the difference between achieving your real estate investing goals and not. That said, with so many real estate agents out there how do you know which one to choose, and more importantly, how do you get the right one to choose you?
In this article, I will walk you through what to look for in your real estate agent and how to make yourself desirable to them as a client. Whether you’re buying your own first home, investing in real estate for the first time, or on your 100th investment property, the right agent is the most important piece of the puzzle.
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Everyone has a Realtor
I am convinced that every single person walking this planet knows a brother, friend, cousin, sister, or long lost relative who’s got their real estate license. Everybody knows a real estate agent. Candidly, the barrier to entry isn’t high and plenty of people get their license just to “have it”. To make matters worse, most consumers don’t know which questions to ask to know if their agent is the right fit for their needs. Feel free to reach out to me via the SVIC referral generator for the top 10 questions I recommend asking your prospective real estate agent.
But you’re not just looking for an agent or anyone who’s got a real estate license; you’re looking for the best. You’re looking for the person who is going to help you achieve your real estate goals.
Here’s what you want to look for:
- Specialization: Does the agent specialize in working with investors? Helping a client execute an investment strategy is completely different from helping them buy or sell their personal residence. You want to ensure the agent you work with specializes in working with investors so you’re speaking the same language and they can help guide you through the transaction. This is especially important if you are a first-time investor.
- Experience: Especially if your goal is to invest, you want to ensure the agent you’re working with is experienced in facilitating client’s investment strategies and goals. Are they an investor themselves? Do they know how to work with investors to help them achieve their goals? Do they understand the type of investing you are doing? Can they give you references of past investors they’ve worked with and successfully helped them facilitate their real estate investment strategy?
- Knowledge: It’s important the agent you work with doesn’t just understand what your investment goals are but also whether those goals are feasible in the area in which you’re looking and if they aren’t where to direct you. It’s about knowing the market and what drives real estate in that market. Dependent on how thorough the agent is in asking you questions about your strategy upfront will determine their level of experience and ability to facilitate your investment goals.
- Chemistry: You and your agent are going to be communicating A LOT. Make sure that the communication style and chemistry between you two is something you’re comfortable with.
- Strategy: Your agent should have a clear strategy on how they’re going to help you achieve your real estate investment, ownership, or sale goal and they should be able to explain that strategy in detail.
Ok, so you’ve found the perfect agent, what now?
Ok, so you found the perfect real estate agent and now you’re ready to go! Not quite, remember, just like you’re interviewing the agent, the agent is also interviewing you. The best agents don’t have the bandwidth to take on every client because they’re in high demand, so if you want to work with the best you’ll want to ensure you’re prepared to show the agent that you’re a serious potential client.
Here are some of the things you should have prepared before your interview:
- Show me the money: You should be clear on how you’re going to finance this property if you’re purchasing or what you would like to net from the sale if you’re selling.
- Know thyself: Be prepared to share your clear criteria.
- What are your real estate goals?
- Do you want to buy/sell/flip/hold are you looking for single-family, multifamily, a commercial product?
- If you’re planning to purchase, what product are you looking for?
- What are the must-haves versus negotiables?
- If you’re planning to sell, what is your timeline and when do you need to have the home sold by?
- Be realistic: A savvy real estate agent can spot an unrealistic buyer/seller/investor right away. Trust me, we all want a property that’s going to appreciate 300% year over year, we all want to buy low and sell high, we all want to buy the best deal possible then turn around and sell for the highest price possible. That said, be realistic with your expectations so your agent can guide you on how to achieve your goal.
- On the clock: You should be clear about your timeline. When do you want to have this property purchased or sold by? Real estate transactions take time and if you’re clear on when you want to achieve your goal by your agent can guide you as to when you should get started and what the appropriate next steps are. And if you’re just getting information and aren’t in the market just yet, share that too! Most great real estate agents are happy to answer questions and guide you even if you’re not ready just yet.
- Win with me: I always ask my clients “How do I win with you?” and it’s the most important question of our interview. Be prepared to tell your agent how you can best work together, how you like to be communicated with when you are available for communication, and anything else that will be important in your working relationship.
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Things you should never say if you want to land the perfect real estate agent
Here are a few ways to convince a savvy real estate agent to refuse to work with you:
- “Find me a deal”: Everyone wants a deal but no one can tell you what a “deal” is. Everyone wants to buy low and sell high but no one actually knows when we’re at the top or bottom of the market. The truth is, a deal is in the eye of the beholder and the savvy real estate investor wants to find a property that fits their strategy, proforma, or requirements. This is how we know someone is a real investor or not, real investors don’t say “find me a deal” they say “here are my requirements to invest, is this realistic and, if so, can you help?”
- “I’m going to work with a few agents and go with whoever finds me the best deal”: This would be like saying to your significant other, “I’m just going to date multiple people at once and go with whoever buys me the best dinner”. A great real estate agent is going to work extremely hard for you, they’ll be apprised of off-market deals and upcoming listings, both of which are a valuable source for investors. If they’re not sure you’re as serious about them as they are about you they’ll give that deal to another one of their loyal investor clients.
- “Give me a discount, don’t worry I’ll do most of the work”: Unless you’ve been a real estate agent at the highest level, you’re likely unaware of all the work and liability that goes into facilitating a transaction for a client. It’s more than opening doors and sending properties. Trust me, you’re not doing most of the work, the easiest part is finding the property, the real work comes after that.
- “I think the market’s going to crash, I want to buy a foreclosure property, I’m going to wait until the market goes down”: If you’re saying any of these phrases, it likely means you’re not ready to invest just yet and that’s ok.
Related Link: Getting Over the Market Crash Hurdle
Recap and Additional Questions
Overall, if you read this far you’re already a step ahead of most aspiring real estate investors and you now know how to build the most effective agent relationship that will help you to reach your real estate goals. Having the best agent on your side is a sure-fire way to get the knowledge, contacts, and inventory you need to achieve your real estate goals. If you need help figuring out how to find the best agent, take a look at the questions above or email us and we’ll walk you through the best way to find your real estate partner.
If you’re an SVIC member and searching for a home in California feel free to reach out to me via the referral generator to receive a special discount for SVIC members. Finally, remember you and your agent are interviewing each other to ensure that together you can make your real estate goals a reality.
Related Article: SVIC’s Guide to Getting Started in Real Estate Investing
- How Investors Can Find The Perfect Real Estate Agent - February 2, 2021
Silicon Valley Investors Club (SVIC) is a global community of STEM professionals interested in making smarter investment and career decisions.
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