Just about any real estate agent will tell you they can work with investors, but very few of them will be familiar with the needs and financial calculations required for a quality investment. An experienced investment broker, on the other hand will know exactly how to locate properties that will bring you a consistent cash flow as well as increase in value over time.
Finding a reliable broker becomes even more important when you are investing in real estate outside your area. You will need someone that is intimately familiar with the cities and neighborhoods of the area. Having trusted boots on the ground is nearly as important as locating the property.
Finding a broker can be as easy as doing a Google search for brokers in the area, but you are going to want to find an experienced and reliable broker that you can work well with. These are a few of the questions you might want to ask about a potential broker.
How long have they been in the business? The real estate market changes constantly and it takes time to get a feel for what’s currently trending and what may be on the horizon.
How well do they know the area? Knowing the local businesses and future plans for a city can go a long way to predicting areas that are ripe for investing. Likewise, it’s important to know the areas to stay away from. Every city has its “war zones”.
Do they take the time to get to know you? Every investor is different. Whether it’s their financial situation, their investment strategy or the risks they are willing to take, it is important that a good broker take these things into consideration. He should steer you away from properties that don’t fit your personal investment plans. If you get the feeling that the broker is a “one size fits all” operation or pushes properties you aren’t comfortable with, you should look for another company
How involved will they be with your portfolio? You don’t want a broker whose involvement ends when you buy a property. What you are looking for is a broker that takes an interest in your entire portfolio and maintains a relationship with you for years. Their involvement should extend to personally checking on your properties when needed, helping to find local property management and maintenance contractors, and, of course, bringing new opportunities to your attention.
Do they communicate with you? Tell the broker how you like to communicate—text, phone or email. Ask if they’ll commit to a regular scheduled phone call or meeting. It can be as short as 15 minutes once a month, but regular updates are important. Also, find out whether they have a team or skilled colleague to cover for them if they are ever unavailable.
Do you get along with them? It’s a simple thing but often overlooked. Find a broker whose personality meshes with your own. It makes for a much smoother operation when all parties involved are compatible on a personal level
Finding someone that can sell you an investment property can be pretty easy. Finding a reliable broker that takes an interest in you and your portfolio might take a little time, but it is time well spent.