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Agents: Friends Not Foes

Maree Tassell gives her advice on how to build a great relationship with a real estate agent.

By: Maree Tassell

30 June 2018

Over the years I’ve attended more than my fair share of property seminars and there is a disturbing message that I have often heard. It relates to how to “use” real estate agents, and much of the advice I have heard has been disrespectful – bordering on dishonest.

Examples of this behaviour:

  • When attending open homes lie about your name and give a bogus phone number (honestly folks, if you don’t want to be followed up you can just politely request this).
  • When the agent isn’t looking, open bedroom drawers and rummage through wardrobes to obtain as much personal information about the vendor as you possibly can.
  • To get a “good deal” get a friend to put an offer in on a property and then come in as back up with a lower offer.

Fortunately, the times are changing and I do believe you will hear less of this dodgy advice these days, but for new investors it helps to know what has gone on before.

So please understand that it’s no wonder that you may have noticed that some agents haven’t been delighted to deal with you when you let them know you’re an investor; some of these people have been treated terribly in the past. Most property investors know that their success depends on relationships with the right people. So, here’s my advice on how to build an effective team of agents to bring good deals to you:

  1. Establish a relationship with one agent in each agency you want to deal with. There’s a couple of ways you can approach this. If you really have no clue who to work with, you could try asking some fellow investors who they recommend. Failing that, feel free to ring the branch manager and ask who in their team they would recommend.
  2. Once you have a potential contact call them and ask if you can take them for coffee or lunch. Let them know you’re looking for a few top agents to work with and they have been recommended. This meeting is basically an opportunity for you to check the agent out, and it will become apparent pretty quickly if the agent is clueless about property investment. I believe it’s also important to enjoy the people you work with and have some kind of synergy. In the early days I went to a lot of lunches and coffees to find the right people. But once you find them they are gold.
  3. It’s critical to understand the confidential nature of the agent’s relationship with their vendor. Asking a whole lot of personal questions about the seller is just not necessary or cool. Doing so just makes you look rude and unprofessional.
  4. It IS okay to ask:
    1. “What can you tell me about the vendor’s situation?”
    2. “What is important for the vendor?” (It’s not always the price.)
    3. “Is there anything else that would be helpful for me to know as a potential purchaser?”

Knowing all the dirty details about the vendors situation is no guarantee for getting a good deal. You’re much more likely to get one if the agent (or private seller) has rapport with you and respects you.

Many agents, especially the good ones, are very busy. You may be the new kid on the block and these people already have established relationships with other investors.

My suggestion is that you be nicely “in their face”. Keep in touch, be polite, give.

A golden rule in business is to always give before you take. Be the one who buys coffee or lunch first. Be the one who gives them referrals.

So many of these agents are accustomed to being used or treated badly so it won’t take much to stand out from the crowd

iFindProperty is a licensed Investment Property Agency and our clients tell us we are great at helping investors find, analyze and buy great properties to build an awesome portfolio. Our team of Property Finders operate all over New Zealand and each are successful investors in their own markets. Successful investing starts with you and your property goals, so contact us today to talk about what you want to achieve and we will put a team in place to make it happen. Contact:[email protected] or 0274 866 146.

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