Working with estate agents isn’t complicated and is as simple or as difficult as any other professional services.
Do you find a bit of negative sentiment towards working with estate agents within the property industry?
Well, let me tell you:
As long as you understand, that they have a business to run and not entertain the likes of investors, you will be just fine.
Estate agents are sellers agents and not here to work for you as an investor.
If you are on the right side of their heads then you probably have sorted the most important aspect of property investment…..
Sourcing of your property deals to grow your portfolio at minimal or no cost.
Its a journey that you have to go through before that phase of trust and mutual reliance kicks in.
Here are few tips on how to work with estate agents growing your portfolio based on what we have experienced and realised.
1. Clarity On What You Want
When a question pops up from your agent like “What are you looking for to invest”?
The temptation of responding with am looking for buy-to-lets, below market value and with a view to refurbish them takes over. Additionally, am also looking for those that have potential to convert to HMOs and yes, if there are any small shops with flats above please…..
That does not go a long way other than you being added to few email lists.
You probably confused them on when to contact you, because you have given mixed strategies and lost your niche.
Here is the deal:
You sure want all those type of deals, however you will have to be clear in your mind for starters on what do you want for next 3 months?
Do you want to invest in buy-to-let? Then its time to be clear in letting the estate agents know exactly what you are looking for on buy-to-let properties.
There is always an opportunity to update them on your next strategy when the time is right. That time is when you are ready and have developed a bit of rapport with the estate agents team.
2. Know Your Area
When it comes to area, you may have to understand two things.
What are the areas that you want to invest in and have you actually performed the online research and offline research of the area. Have you understood the done up values and rental of properties from the likes of sites like rightmove and zoopla.
What areas does the estate agent in question operate in. You would want to do some research on the agency itself before you want to build relationships and how are they operating as opposed to others within the area.
3. Viewings Consistency
Your journey always has to start with being consistent in booking viewings for the properties that suit your criteria. The face to face contact during viewings helps knowing each other over that initial period of investment.
Having a trip to your investment area for a viewings day and not viewing again for another 8 weeks is not a way you can build your relationships.
Viewings is the next level where you build further rapport updating the estate agents on what you have been doing in the area and asking questions on streets to invest in.
You could also show interest in later meet ups on other potential properties that suit your different strategies.
4. Respond To Criticism
Its natural that there will always be a period of mental and emotional disconnect when you form any relationship.
As investor we look for below market value deals.
In that process, we do give lowest of offers that may shock the agency and landlords system.
Criticism whilst forming a relationship with estate agent is mutual. One wants the lowest possible offer price (i.e. investors) and the other wants the highest.
Accept the fact:
That conflict is expected.
The next best thing is how to respond to conflict as opposed developing an internal fear and dialogue giving those lower offers.
Here are few pointers for you to think and create your own lines to help respond to the criticism….
- Provide the highlights of refurbishment that needs to be done along with tentative costs before it can be “safely” tenanted out to a family.
- Work with estate agent with clarity that “you are an investor” and just like their business, you do have a business to run as well and you run your deals as per your deal profile so you can be repeatedly at their door step for deals.
- Being polite in your conversation and “openly admitting the fact” that the offer you go with may not be something the landlord may like, and you are here anytime to take the deal as a backup. Something l learned from the learned.
5. Trusted Few vs. Anyone Goes
In all honesty if there is a deal then you probably should go for any agent who have advertised the deal.
If you take a long term view of where the majority of deals will come from, then you will end up listing trusted few.
You can go scattered gun approach and build relationships with everyone but will need to spend a lot of time to do so.
Get to a list of no more than 4 agents whom you will work with in your and surrounding areas and that should fill your deal funnel with no difficulty.
Specifically if you are starting your journey within property investment.
6. Local vs. Country Wide
This probably is an experience you can relate to and if you cant, just take it as our personal experience.
Few agencies like Springbok who are operating at a national level, the service levels are sub-standard and if you are thinking of developing rapport with them, I can only wish all the luck in the world.
Compare that to local estate agents and you are smiling. We have had good experience mining the local knowledge, an element of honesty in the way they operate and more helpful providing their expertise and at time helping with mutual solution to ourselves and landlords.
Question then becomes:
When you short list estate agents whom you want to build your relationships with, who is going to make your list?
My vote will always go to local estate agencies who are easier to work with.
7. Confidence Building
Proactive communication when you have interest in a property and you have made an offer on the property goes a long way to build confidence within the estate agents.
If you provide them with following when an offer is accepted or even let them know that you are ready with the below list when you place an offer, it shows your seriousness on buying the property.
- Mortgage decision in principle
- Proof of deposit funds or in the event of cash purchase
- Identity and address proofs
- Solicitor details
Remember, as much curious you are to buy the property, estate agents are curious to move the stock out as well so they can get the fresh stock in.
8. Online vs. Walk In
One of the things that worked for us was to actually walk-in to estate agents office and formally introduce and communicate on what we are looking for than just call and leave our details.
The ability to remember you as an investor is much more likely when you show your face.
The ability to send you the deals over time that are relevant and make those minor concessions on property viewings times is much more likely when they know you in person.
Yes, its digital world but don’t think its that age where human interactions can be replaced just yet.
9. Honesty Always Worked
Being upfront and honest about what you can and cannot do or what you are good and where you have to improve always works.
This isn’t showcasing to someone on how good an investor you are and hence, why you should get all the deals.
This is all about building that rapport with the estate agents based on you and your core values so they can get the best deals for you that are suitable to you.
The art of playing the long game with honesty is what gets you the deals you aspire for. It sure takes time but that time will be worth it.
10. Things To Avoid
You sure want to be mindful and avoid few things in your conversations even if you have developed rapport with estate agents.
- I am looking for below market value properties
- Am looking to see if there are landlords open to sublet their properties. That probably is a line you want to use with letting agents instead.
- I invest based on no money down basis and like…..
All you have to be focused on is build the rapport and make your offer that suits you. You don’t have to explicitly say you only work with below market value properties.
Don’t let anyone tell you that we have a below market value deal for you.
Thats 10 tips we understood sourcing our deals from estate agents within our journey. Feel free to share you experiences within the comments of this post at anytime.