Are you a residential real estate agent wondering how to become a go-to agent for real estate investors? For many today, the answer is yes — and for good reason.
Investors represent one of the most lucrative segments in real estate. Sales close fast, often with all-cash offers, and many complete multiple deals yearly.
These are clients who know what they want, freeing you up from some of the less glamorous chores of home-shopping with often more indecisive residential clients.
Investors are active in nearly every local market, with agents playing key roles for helping to discover opportunities and facilitate sales.
However, the world of investors can be intimidating for agents used to working with owner-occupier buyers and sellers. The right steps are necessary for success.
Here are 8 ways to become a go-to agent for real estate investors in your area.
1. Get Educated
Filling in the gaps in your education is one of the first steps to becoming a serious real estate investor agent.
Many state real estate commissions don’t require a deep knowledge of investment real estate topics for a license — and that means some pre-licensing courses skip over important details.
Figuring out what you don’t know, but should, can take a while, and it’s to be expected that you’ll learn some things as you go. Still, opportunities to get a better handle on the topic today are everywhere.
Online, you’ll find plenty of course options, but many local real estate boards and associations also offer classes. A real estate investing certification is another option and one is available through a National Association of Realtors program.
Whatever path you pick, the key is to get comfortable with the language investors speak, including terms like “cap rates,” “IRRs,” “1031 exchanges,” “cash-on-cash returns,” and so on.
With such a different kind of client, goal and process, there can be quite a learning curve. But knowing the lingo and issues that are important to investors will help you be a better agent when working with them.
2. Know Their Goals
Investors generally have very different goals than residential clients. But one thing is the same — knowing your client’s own goals is crucial.
That’s because knowing what a client wants out of a property transaction will shape everything you do for them.
If a first-time homebuyer client wants a low-stress transaction for a turnkey property, there are certain steps you will take to try to make that happen. Those steps will be very different from the steps you’ll take with another buyer who wants to pursue a fixer-upper with big potential.
While every investor client will also have their own unique goals, many fall into one of three categories:
- The Fix and Flip Investor
- The Buy and Hold Investor
- The Speculator
An investor’s go-to real estate agent understands the goals a particular client has. Every new partnership starts with figuring out what those goals are and how to help meet them.
3. Be the Local Expert
One of the things that makes a real estate agent valuable to an investor is their expertise in the local market.
In investing, the first to know about an opportunity is often the first to profit from it. Agents can plan an important role in being an expert in local markets and submarkets.
For investment real estate, local market knowledge often goes a lot deeper than knowledge of the local residential market.
Go-to investor agents stay current on new developments, public works initiatives, zoning changes and more, in additional to typical real estate news and market data.
While investors have access to news of some of the same business happenings, a Realtor’s perspective on what that news means can be informative and valuable.
Agents often have a better sense of what areas will be positively impacted by changes due to their on-the-ground experience.
4. Find Opportunities
Investors are always on the lookout for opportunities, but are often limited by their own time and resources.
When an agent can bring potential opportunities to the table, it makes it that munch easier to make a deal.
But take note: not all opportunities will appeal to all investors.
Some are devoted to one particular business model, and these can be quite specific, such as:
- Holding single-family rentals in a trendy zip code.
- Flipping undervalued strip malls with potential.
- Speculating near new mixed-use developments.
The types of opportunities different investors like will vary quite a bit. Like agents, everyone has a niche that works best for them.
So bringing an investor an opportunity isn’t just about knowing what type of investor they are and what makes a good deal financially.
It can also be about matching the right opportunity to the right investor’s business model.
5. Build a Network
In order to be a local expert and find opportunities, you will need help.
A great network is invaluable for an agent working with investor clients. Investors are instantly attracted to well-networked agents because of the potential for your network to become an extension of their own network.
Through a well-developed network, you can:
- Be the first to hear what’s going on in the local market.
- Find out property info that isn’t publicly available.
- Get tips about potential deals and opportunities.
However, networking for a real estate investor agent is really two-fold.
There are all the people you’ll meet who can help you on the front end with deals and opportunities and then there are those who can help your investor clients with more mundane tasks.
Do you know…
- A good appraiser?
- A photographer who owns a drone?
- A lawn guy who’s available today?
Any time you meet someone who offers exceptional service, unique capabilities, priority scheduling or valuable specials or discounts, it increases your value to investor clients.
6. Have a Plan
A successful real estate investor knows the value of having a plan and sticking to it. An agent with a similar philosophy is a natural match.
A plan can help focus you on your goal and purpose: being a go-to agent for real estate investors. It also tells your clients that you take their needs seriously.
- Start with the big picture, an elevator pitch that tells potential clients who you are, what you can do for them and what distinguishes you from the competition.
- Then focus on your process — how you accomplish your work helps set you apart. Efficiency and consistency are very important from an investor standpoint.
- Next, think about where you’re headed. If you’re going to be working with the same investors through their entire process, you may need to bring on a partner agent.
A partner can let you bring in more business while also avoiding dual agency hazards. You can facilitate the initial deals and your trusted partner handles the resale of any improved properties.
When you can bring this sort of professionalism to the table, it’s very attractive to local investors.
7. Know Your Value
From the outside, the real estate investment space can look intimidating. But understand that you may have something investors want and need.
Experienced local real estate agents have an up-to-the-minute, on-the ground understanding of local residential buyers and sellers. You know the ins and outs of the local market in ways someone who isn’t an agent can’t.
You have a unique insight into:
- Where people do and don’t want to live and why.
- What home features local residents want and why.
- What neighborhood amenities people want and why.
- How people generally feel about the local market.
Plus, your own extended network of agents and brokers means you have access to important info about potential deals and opportunities before they become headlines.
When a potential investor client asks what you can bring to the table, this is where you should start: with your experience, your network and your wins for past clients.
8. Get Organized
With such a potential for a steady stream of deals, it’s no surprise that a lot of agents want to work with real estate investors. So what else can you do to make yourself stand out?
Getting organized can help any real estate agent improve their standing with clients. That person who is always on top of deadlines, messages and files can’t help but shine.
One trick that has helped thousands of real estate agents shine over the last few years is Folio.
Folio by Amitree is a smart email assistant designed for real estate professionals. A simple add-on that lives inside your inbox, Folio lets you organize deals and clients in just a few clicks using its AI-powered algorithms.
Folio helps streamline your transaction communications, along with their related files, documents and deadlines — making you look like a pro without any extra work.
If you’re jumping into working with real estate investors, it’s smart to get your inbox organized.
Try Folio today and impress your next investor client.
Who we are
We've built Folio: the first AI email assistant for professionals.
Folio plugs directly into your work email inbox and automatically organizes your email, giving you contextual access to all the information you need to increase your productivity in minutes.
We are a team of passionate product people and engineers that gets excited about solving complex processes and creating value for people.
We're a venture funded company backed by Accel Partners, Vertical Venture Partners, and other leading venture capital firms and angel investors such as Ash Patel and Jerry Yang.