Really any agent can represent a real estate investor there is no special certification to working with investors. But what is the difference between a regular real estate agent and an investor friendly agent?
The Invest Themselves:
If you are a real estate investor it is important to work with someone who invest themself. When I bought my first property I had no idea what I was doing.
Where do I find a lease?
How do I screen people?
What is legal what isn't?
What is a good property management company?
Do I need a commercial license and a rental license where do I get them?
What kind of book keeping software should I use?
How do I find tenants?
Should I shoot for top of market rent or go $50 below market and just get it rented?
Bonus question - What if you have a tenant with a tenant with a Pitbull certified as a helping dog. Technically you cannot deny someone due to having a service dog but your home insurance has restrictions against Pitbulls. So what do you do?
Luckily my agent that I used at the time was an investor and pointed me to all the right resources. Which is what I do for my clients now. You do not learn everything all at once but over the years I have read tons of books, listened to thousands of hours of podcasts/audio books, and been to many networking events. When I help a client get an investment property I can lease it out for them or if they want to do it on their own I teach them what the steps are.
Their Network Becomes Your Network:
As an Agent who invests I spend most of my free time reading books, or working on my properties. It's really my hobby and I want to perfect my craft! My networking groups some are large Philadelphia wide groups that have a lot of people and some are small where we have 6 or 7 people at someones house. Of course over the years I have had my series of repairs so I have built out an extensive list of contractors from plumbers to electricians. Any agent can probably provide you a list of contractors but can they provide you with contacts for hard money lenders, private money lenders, wholesalers, tax sale properties, great investors to seek advice from, real estate lawyers if you need one, business consultant/accountants? What if you go to buy an investment property and the lender says you need 6 months of reserves for all your properties and your primary residence that can be a lot of money. Is that the end of the road then, or does your agent know someone who can do 90 day reserves for only the investment properties? I know these people because I have made the dozens of calls myself to lenders and found the all of them operate differently. These are very nuanced issues but matter when you are going to buy that next investment property.
Philadelphia and the surrounding areas have been extremely hot the past couple years and it seems to just keeping getting hotter. It is important you have someone who is responsive and can get you in to see a house the day of if you need to. Now this does not mean finding a new house everyday that you may think could work but really are just throwing darts at the wall. Real estate agents are people too so just respect their time like you would anyone else. There are a lot of so called investors who will unfortunately have you show 100 houses and never buy anything. When agents spot one of these they usually choose not to work with them again so respect each others time. But if you find that right property you need someone who can get you in and right an offer day of. Being prepared to spot a deal is your job but get the deal closed is mine and being the first one their is key!
Leveling Up to 5+ Multi-Family
Eventually most investors want to go from single family to multi-family we learned this in monopoly...4 green houses for 1 apartment building. In real estate anything over 4 units (5+ units) is considered commercial multi-family. These deals are hard to find. Sure you can go on LoopNet ... there are some great deals that sit on there but not many. So how do you find good multi-family deals? The key is working with an agent who has networked the multi-family market. No I do not have any 5+ unit buildings myself but I do know how to find them. Most multi-family deals are off market or I have cold called owners for them. Underwriting is also a key part of seeking multi-family deals, there are certain assumptions for vacancies and expense that we know in this market. A lot of deals we get initially are presented with a 10% expense ratio which is far off from realistic. Does your agent know what a good vacancy and cap rate are in the area?
Finding The Investor Friendly Agent
Luckily if you're here you have already found me (shameless plug). But if you are in another market where do you go? I would suggest going to local real estate meetups there will be a lot of agents there. Go and talk to a few and you may find the right one there. Bigger Pockets is also a great place to ask for an investor friendly agent in your area. Or if you know someone who invests in your area ask who their agent is and why they use them. Seek someone who invests, has experience, is honest, kind, and responsive for when the right deal comes.
Matt Tallent is a Realtor with The How Group. His passions include rental property investing and helping others achieve their real estate goals.
Real Estate Investing
Buy and Hold
720 Fayette St, Conshohocken, PA 19428