This really should go without saying but I find more often than not it doesn't. Therefore I am issuing a reminder. The Realtor who has specialized in the area of residential investment real estate is a different breed from your average Realtor. If you are considering a Realtor who has anything remotely close to the following posted, beware:
"Specializing in Luxury Homes, Vacation Rentals, Commercial Real Estate, Residential Investment and Bank Owned Properties"
You get the idea. Specializing requires significant exposure. The time investment required to specialize in any one of the above categories is not trivial. Each of them requires a different skill set. Selling commercial is not the same as luxury and luxury is not the same as residential investment property. These are niche markets and if you can find a Realtor who has invested a lot of time in that niche, you're in the gold.
So if you're looking for a Realtor who specializes in residential investments, how do you find them?
Know who they are first. They have several identifiable characteristics.
•(1) The professional is looking for the same thing you are, the maximum return on investment. YOU are their investment. When you're interviewing them, they will be interviewing you. It's a two way street. Reasoning? The title "Investor" has gotten a bad rap in many corners of the Realtor community because it has been abused rampantly over the past decade. The name is commonly used to refer to the buyer, who takes a Realtor around to thirty houses, spends fifteen hours of total time viewing, buys one house, and the Realtor receives a $1000 commission. If that Realtor has a split with their broker that $1000 whittles away quickly. Add to that taxes and you can see why many Realtors are reluctant to work with investors. If you're the type of investor who thinks that is a good deal, please stop reading and go somewhere else.
•(2) They will tell you what to expect upfront. They do not like to waste time. So if you receive questions about your financial capability, experience, exit strategy, financing or cash sources, good standing with the state(s) your corporations or LLCs are in, and documentation of all of the above then chances are you've got someone who knows what they're doing. These are questions that need to be answered in advance of an offer being written. If your Realtor knows in advance the answers to these questions, the fewer speed bumps you'll hit later in the purchase. In turn, you should be able to get a few references from either the Realtor's contractors or investors. These are important and it is not uncommon for the two to overlap.
•(3) Their inclination is not towards retail. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) correctly states that the seller who uses a Realtor on average nets more than the For Sale by Owner. In turn, surveys by the NAR also show that when the buying and selling public thinks of dealing with a Realtor they expect to pay retail. Think J C Penney's, Macy's, and Nordstrum's. Their natural disposition is to think discount. They do not "marry" a potential deal and can walk away from the negotiating table with ease. They will not put their car payment or house payment (if they have either) ahead of your success.
•(4) They are also going to be able to give you an additional advantage, a trained second set of eyes. Specialists are actively involved with contractors and home inspectors. They also may have done a few deals themselves. While you should never rely solely on your Realtor's opinion of costs and repairs, an added second or third opinion can help you spot things you might not have at first seen. It may be the difference between putting in an offer and simply moving on to the next property; saving you time. When you're looking over your next purchase for unseen problem spots, the professional is doing the same. The goal is not to sell you a particular house but to be sure that you win.