How to Interview a Realtor

Education & Training

By Doug Crowe

Before talking to Realtors, its best to know what YOU want. Make sure you have established a CLEAR goal of the type of property you are looking for, the geographic area you are targeting (based on your customer needs) and the price range. You are positioning yourself as a professional. In order to get OTHER professionals to want to work with you, you must portray an image of experience and confidence (even if you are just starting). So often, we hear of Realtors qualifying the buyers. This is understandable, of course, because they need to be sure to bring a qualified buyer to the table. If they did not, they would certainly waste precious time showing the wrong properties to the wrong people. Therefore, we need to take care of this phase rather quickly. From the outset, you must establish that you are NOT a typical buyer. Within the first few moments of the conversation, the best tactic to employ is to answer the qualification question BEFORE it comes up. It makes total sense to talk to the BROKER, first. The owner/manager/broker of the office knows all of the agents and is best suited to assist you in connecting you with the RIGHT agent. The largest numbers of agents are ideally suited to work with the typical home-buyer and NOT an investor. You must do everything in your power to avoid wasting your time talking to agents who are not trained, nor have the aptitude to deal with the investor mindset. Here are a couple of tactful and powerful phrases you can use:

 "Mr. Broker, my team is purchasing about a property or two each month for our portfolio. We pay all cash, and our contracts will never contain a mortgage contingency. With that in mind, we also expect to purchase somewhat below retail price, which agent would you recommend for us?" "Mr. Broker, my business relies upon buying fixer-uppers and selling them within a few months. In order to do this, I am looking for an agent who can help me find those handyman specials, and has the ability to sell them for me. The only possible challenge is that we work fast, and need to have our agent match our pace. Qualification is not an issue, as all of our offers will be 100% cash without any mortgage contingency. Which agent would you recommend for our needs?"

Let them know that you are a serious buyer and that any time they invest with you will not be wasted, as long as they are professional and can provide you with excellent, quality investments.

Here are a few "pointed" questions:

  • How long have you been a Realtor?
  • Do you work with other investors?
  • What do you like about working with investors?
  • Other than the MLS, what methods do you use to find properties?
  • I am going to focus on an investment strategy that allows me to establish some instant equity by buying properties strictly from motivated or distressed sellers-do you work with such sellers?
  • What type of profits/deals have you been able to achieve for your other investors?
  • How many investors do you work with?
  • Do you have any references from investor/buyers?
  • Do any of these investors rehab properties?
  • Do they also re-list the homes with you or your office after the rehab is completed?
  • Are you an active investor?
    • If yes, are you in the buying mode right now?
    • If yes, how do separate what you buy from what you bring to your other investors?
    • If not, where would you invest right now? Why?
  • If we enjoy working together, what would I have to do to get my name at the top of your investor list?
  • It sounds as though we can make a bunch of money working together, let's set a time to meet so we can discuss our mutual goals in person, would next Tuesday at 2 PM work?

By being upfront, engaging, and cordial, you will not only develop rapport and respect, but you will eventually build long-lasting relationships that are a vital part of your financial future as a real estate investor. Using Realtors doesn't cost you money-it saves you money.

Doug Crowe

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