By Mike Baird
As a veteran real estate agent and house flipper, I typically don’t have to hire other real estate agents for my flips. But most new investors won’t already have their real estate licenses and it takes a significant amount of time and effort to get properly licensed. For a lot of new real estate investors, it makes sense to hire an agent to help you buy and sell your flip properties. But you need to hire the right agent for the job or you’ll be looking at a lot of hassles and difficulty selling your properties.
Get Referrals from Other Real Estate Investors
It can be hard to find a great real estate agent, but it’s a lot easier if you can narrow the field down a little from the very beginning. If you’re friends with other house flippers in your area, ask them who they’ve used. If you don’t have a lot of connections in the real estate industry, go to a few investment club meetings and talk with people there. You’ll have a good chance of making connections and getting some names of great agents who have experience working with investors.
Don’t Make Your Decision Based on Their Commission
Basing your decision to hire a real estate agent solely on who has the lowest commission rate can be a disaster. If someone charges a flat rate or a very low commission, you’ll want to take a very close look at what they do for their sellers and/or buyers. Basically, you get what you pay for, and if you pay a low commission, you’re usually not going to get a great agent.
Check Out Their Credentials
You know how doctors and lawyers have different specialties? Real estate agents do, too. If you check out the credentials on an agent you’re interested in, you’ll probably see some extra letters at the end of their title. CRS stands for Certified Residential Specialist, which means they have gone through extra training specifically aimed at handling residential real estate.
If they have ABR in their title, they’re an Accredited Buyer’s Representative, which means they’ve gone through the educational training necessary to represent buyers in a real estate transaction. Look up these and other credentials to find out how much training your agent has in the areas you’ll be focusing on. CCIM is a great one to look for, as this means they’re a Certified Commercial Investment Member.
Browse through Their Listings
As you narrow your choices down, take a look at your potential agents’ listings. Are they selling the kinds of homes you’ll be rehabbing? How long do their properties typically stay on the market before they sell? Looking at their track record and their current sales will help you determine if they’re the right agent for you.
Don’t Just Look at Quantity of Sales
As you’re checking out their credentials and their track record, don’t base your decision solely on how much they sell. Look at the market values in the areas where they’re selling and what they sold their properties for. Some agents will boast how many houses they sell and how quickly they can do it, but when you look at their sales numbers, you see that they’re not getting the best prices on those sales. You may want to go with the agent who’s made fewer sales but has gotten great returns on them instead.
If you follow these tips, you should have no trouble finding a great real estate agent to help you grow your real estate business.