Finding the Right Real Estate Agent for Rental Property Purchase

Buying a rental property, especially if you’re looking to house hack, is very different than normal home buying. It requires a Real Estate agent with some specific skills. But not just any Realtor, make sure you pick the right one. Here are some suggestions for finding the right real estate agent for your rental property purchase.

Here’s what I looked for in an Agent when starting on my path to becoming a real estate investor:

  • Extensive experience (sorry, no newbs!)
  • Deep ties and networks in the area where I’d be purchasing
  • Knowledgeable about the rental market in the area
  • Real estate investor/Landlord themselves
  • No slimy sales person feel
Finding the right real estate agent can feel like searching for a unicorn.

How to Find Your Unicorn

  • Open houses: I went to every open house I could and chatted with the Agents. The Realtors thought they were selling me a home, but I was really interviewing them. This served a dual purpose of market research, as well as networking. Note – You will acquire many business cards. They’re usually full color, heavy card stock, with some seriously filtered head shots. For some fun, start a Real Estate Agent card game, or do an art project!
  • Online Forums: I joined Bigger Pockets and surfed their forums. Unfortunately, my city is pretty small and there wasn’t much market specific help for me. The other social media platforms may have groups worth checking out, too. But again, small town, wasn’t super helpful for me.
  • Personal Recommendations: I asked people I knew for their recommendations, but I was always asking ‘for a friend.’ First, I wasn’t ready to publicize my plan to buy rental property and house hack quite yet. Second, every one has a cousin or nephew or ‘bestie’ that is a Real Estate Agent. People can get offended when you don’t end up using their recommendation.
  • Internetting: I spent hours reading Real Estate Agent profiles on websites and silently judging them.
  • Got lucky: A friend who was renting a house, suddenly bought a home. They got a good deal, and the house was never on the market. When I asked how that came about, he said, “my landlord is a Realtor, and she’s hooked in on all kinds of deals. She said that if we ever wanted to buy a house and used her as their Agent, she’d let them out of their lease.” Bingo! Sounded like a pretty hot lead…I causally asked her name ‘for a friend.’

Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.

– Seneca

Vetting your Realtor

Once I found a Realtor with the above criteria, I still had some ‘testing’ to do to see if she was actually the right fit. The other soft skills things I looked for:

  • Listening: Did the properties she presented to me show that she actively understood the goal? Nothing worse than feeling like you’re repeating yourself, or are being mid-understood.
  • Efficiency: Did she use my time, and her time well? Was she on-time, could she book three places back to back during a lunch break, was she an ninja with her iPhone?
  • Creativity: Did she come with new ideas, see things that I hadn’t?
  • Diplomacy: Was she going to be the right person to negotiate a Real Estate deal? One of the main reasons to have an agent is to be the middle person between you and the seller when it comes time to negotiate. And the negotiate really only begins when a place goes under contract. There’s lots to go through after that, and emotions can run high. Would she be able to manage all the personalities, ins and outs of getting a deal done?

You know you’ve really found the right Real Estate agent for your rental property purchase when the relationship doesn’t end when on closing day. I’ve been able to call on my Realtor when I need a repairman, and she will quickly shoot me over a couple of names. She said to let her know when I have rentals available, as people always asking her if she knows of anything. I have recommended her to everyone I know, (and 2 have actually purchased properties with her, because she is the bomb.)

Good luck to you on finding your trusted Real Estate Agent!

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