With so many agents out there & each one proclaiming to be an "expert" how do I know who really is an expert?

Asked by AL BRENT, Rocky River, OH Fri Apr 10, 2009

I'm an investor and need to know how to separate good deals from the bad and how to know what the house will be worth after I fix it up to sell.

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Jeff K, Home Buyer, Bristol, PA
Fri Apr 10, 2009
Hi Bob,

You'll need to do much of what I did - interview a lot of agents. Have a good dialog with them. Some will be full of bs, and some will disappoint you. Here's what will help differentiate the Good one's: When they talk, they are asking a lot more questions than they are making statements. They'll be trying to understand your needs, and listening intently. Perhaps even taking notes.

An agent that really suits your needs is one that has spent time working with investors and will be very comfortable discussing properties from a numbers standpoint. The guy that I'm working with has a background in finance - that really helped us to see eye-2-eye.

You may wish to chat directly with the owning brokers to get their opinion of the 2-3 agents that they would position to you from their office (but don't work with the managing broker directly - they have too many distractions). Make sure they know that you are a serious buyer, and looking for a strong and serious partnership. So you just want their very best buying agents that know what to look for for an investor. He'll want to make sure that he sets you up with the right 2-3 agents for interviews - otherwise he loses your business (he gets half their commission - more if they also find your buyer).
1 vote
AL BRENT, , Rocky River, OH
Mon Apr 13, 2009
I'm the person who posed this question. Many people answered the explanation I gave, but didn't answer my question.

My favorite answers came from "Jefferson", "Vicky Chisner" and "Victor Kaminski".

I know the answers to my question. I am a broker with 30+ years of experience in brokerage, investing, flipping, buy and hold, property management, etc. Sean Dawes made a very good effort with his/her advice.

The reason I posed the question is many real estate agents advertise they are an expert. The one local "expert" who inspired me to ask the question has been in the business 6 months. I'll bet he thinks he's an expert because he took the basic courses (4 in Ohio) and perhaps sold a few houses.

I know some of you will give me grief because it was a trick question, but I was curious as to how my local "expert" would respond.

Sorry. But thank you for ALL of your responses.

Even the negatives from realestate#1
1 vote
Rhonda, Home Owner, Ohio
Mon Mar 26, 2012
I can't answer your question, but do have a good investment opportunity......I need an investor to buy my house and sell, lease or rent it back to me before it goes to sheriff's sale! It's been in the family for over 40 years, my in-laws passed away here and my little children (3, 6, and 8) were born and brought here! I need someone to help me! We are desperate and need some advise. I've been working with a lawyer for over a year. The mortgage company was not working with us at all....now weeks away from a sheriffs sale, they said if I come up with 93,000 dollars they will let us buy the house! I don't have it and would never be able to get the financing for it! I could put several thousand dollars down, (5-7)......someone please help!!!! thanks
0 votes
William Tier…, Agent, Cleveland and Akron, OH
Thu Nov 17, 2011
I would ask the Broker or Agent how many houses they have personally been in envolved with. If the quote "expert" has never either helped facilitate an investment property or purchased one themselves how could they be an expert?
0 votes
Sean Dawes, , Philadelphia, PA
Mon Apr 13, 2009

How come in every answer you post, it is always realtor bashing comments?

He should not seek the advice of any realtor but why must you say all Realtors? There are plenty of realtors out there buying properties themselves and being very successful doing so. They would make great mentors and even business partners if Bob is interested. Realtors are on the "front lines" of the market and can spot deals right away. I know some realtors who check the hotsheets every 15minutes for deals.

Sean Dawes
Long and Foster Real Estate
Web Reference:  http://www.SeanDawes.com
0 votes
Connie Case, , Knoxville, TN
Mon Apr 13, 2009

Find an agent that you like, you will be able to tell if they know what they are talking about!
Well, on the good deals, It is hard to determine which are good deals sometimes. If you have experience in remodeling, and get a home inspection, plus have a Realtor give you a Market Report for the area, that is about the best you can do.
0 votes
Victor Kamin…, Agent, Edison, NJ
Sun Apr 12, 2009
There is no short answer to this question but to start you definitely should know the market in the area you are looking and be able to spot a good deal when you see one and you should not be searching for anonymous 3rd parties.

Try talking to a few to start off, discuss what your looking for and see if they have they can or will assist you. Ask if they work with any other investors, and through your dialog see if they ask a lot of questions and then shut up to hear your answers or not. That is a good way, the best agents do more listening than talking but when they talk should be asking you a lot of questions, not idol chit chat, bragging or other BS! The best agents are the busiest ones.

If you're an investor you should have experience with agents, if you're a new investor you should be bright enough to detect if the agent is knowledgeable or even easier has a lack thereof.

Real Estate has many fields and many specialties, what area do you need the realtor to be an expert in?
Commercial, Industrial, New Construction, Land, Condos, Co-Ops, Resale Residential, HUD properties, Foreclosures, Short Sales/Pre-Foreclosures, tare downs, needing major rehab or rehabs just needing updates, single family, multi-family or...?

There are many kinds of "investors", you said you're a rehab guy. Are you looking for realistic deals or trying to get homes for 10 cents on the dollar that just need updates?

There are many types of investors and the realtor will need to find out which one you are: Builder, Rehab, Flipper, Landlord?

Are you buying all cash or will you need a mortgage if so do you have the necessary cash to put down and are you willing to show proof or just act like a hot shot saying money is not an issue? Money is always an issue, when I hear that line, I ask so if I found you a good rehab job that will payback big time but the property will cost a million dollars, you'll be okay with that kind of purchase. That is when you get some insight how much money really is an issue. Investors need special financing, not 3.5% down FHA loans!

Experienced agents know "investors" are not loyal to agents at all and much like agents there are a million investors out there, many of them of the "wanna be" variety that just watch too many late night infomercials and attend way too many investor conferences without really having the knowledge, resources or cash so if you find a good agent, you'll need to show a little interest and loyalty to work with them.

The same way the realtor bashers portray agents is the same way Realtors look at a lot of "investors" because usually the agent makes little out of these deals if the investor is loyal and actually purchases thru the agent, usually won't use the agent to resell the property and will expect the expert agent to waste a lot of their time researching hot deals and keeping you in mind and bringing the deal to you instead of one of their loyal clients or even buying the good deal investment themselves!

Those are just a few things to keep in mind. As a businessman you'll need to think from the agents point of view as they will be your deal hunter.

Investors typically think nothing of wasting a lot of agents valuable time so they may blow you off if you don't want to share any info and just want the agent to search constantly for properties for you and email or fax them to you! NOT a good start. You can get many new agents to jump at your feet for that. You have to present yourself well to the agent as when introducing yourself as an investor because investors aren't shy telling you want they WANT but don't want to reciprocate with a little info which is the quick way to get blown off. Experienced agents have good BS sniffers and not afraid to call you on it or walk away from people they think will just waste their time.

The only true way to find an expert is experience, relationship building and word of mouth, you may have to go through a few bad apples before finding a gem or one that will want to work with you. Investors and part time agents usually don't make a good match however I have seen a few of these relationships work successfully where the investor both buys and resells through the same agent and continues to use them instead of bouncing from agent to agent.

Listening to posters like Realestate#1 will get you nowhere and that is obvious. These types of people here on Trula always advise not to use Realtors and just bash us at every turn usually having more than one profile to do it with to. http://www.trulia.com/blog/victor_kaminski/2009/04/fake_trul…
0 votes
Sean Dawes, , Philadelphia, PA
Sun Apr 12, 2009

If you are starting out or are an investor, you should generally have market knowledge yourself. A realtor can find deals and send them to you but if you do not know if its a deal when the realtor says "I have a 3bd house in 'xyx' are of OH for $200k" then you need to do more market research.

Are you a new investor or seasoned?

Sean Dawes
Long and Foster Real Estate
Web Reference:  http://www.SeanDawes.com
0 votes
Vicky Chrisn…, Agent, Purcellvile, VA
Fri Apr 10, 2009
Tough question. I don't think there is a magic answer. Interview agents and see who you like. Ask them how they can help you... and listen. Ask more questions. Get a feel for the agent. Interview a few. Then, pick the one you like.

Be careful - as a fix and flip guy you need to be aware that this is not a strong market to be doing this. You must be willing to take a serious financial hit if you get it wrong. I don't know YOUR market, but my understanding is that most of OH is still declining. That means you buy it, fix it, sell it for what you paid - and it was a financial loss.

On the other hand, if you'll be doing longer term investment it should be less risky.

No agent can give you assurance of what future market performance will be. If they tell you they can... run.

I have a potential fix and flip client. He asks me to call him when I find a good deal. I haven't called. Why? I like him. He's important to me. I don't think I've seen anything I'd bet on. And, telling someone ELSE to bet their money on it - well, I don't think I could live with myself if I was wrong. His brother, on the other hand, is a long term investor - I sold him 3 houses... and, by the way, he probably could have sold all of them - at least 2 of the 3 - after he fixed them up and made a profit. But, that's not his goal.
0 votes
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