An investment real estate agent helps you find opportunities in your desired markets. These agents look at a property the way investors do: its investment potential, profitability, and costs.
If you need an agent now, we recommend a free agent-matching service like Clever Real Estate. Clever takes the effort to understand your individual needs up front, seeks out local agents who best fit them, and even offers cash back.
What does an investment real estate agent do?
An investment real agent understands financial metrics (like operating expenses, taxes, cash flow) and the special challenges investors face.
These agents can facilitate a number of investment property deals, including:
- House flipping. Investment agents can help investors locate off-market deals that can be bought, rehabbed, and sold for maximum ROI.
- Rental properties. They understand what an investor is looking for in a rental. They consider factors like cap rate, fair market rent, and more to help investors find the ideal property.
- Commercial properties. Commercial real estate agents help investors find properties that are ripe for opportunity and navigate the complex process of closing.
How to find an investment real estate agent
Use an agent matching service
One of the best methods of searching for an investment agent is to use a free matching service.
These services will ask you questions up front to understand the types of investment properties you’re looking for. They’ll then use this criteria to filter agents in your area. After you get a selection of handpicked realtors, you can interview two or three and finally pick one you’d like to work with.
» JUMP: Questions to ask
But be careful: not every agent matching service distinguishes between investment real estate agents from regular buyer agents, so be sure to ask the rep you're working with to focus on investment experience.
|⚡️ Connect with an investment agent through Clever!
Clever matches you with experienced local agents with no obligation. And you can qualify for 0.5% cash back — that’s 2,000 on a $400,000 home purchase! Learn more.
Find an REI-certified realtor
A Real Estate Investment (REI) certification from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) is one of the most prestigious certificates an agent can hold, hands down. The intense 14-hour coursework trains agents specifically to handle investment properties.
The only problem: the number of REI-certified agents is often low, so you might have a hard time finding a local one.
» FIND: REI-certified realtors
Network with other investors
Networking can introduce you to a slew of investor-friendly realtors. It does require more time and effort, though — a real drag if you’re a full-time investor — and there’s no guarantee you’ll find a perfect fit.
Jump-start your network by joining real estate investing focus groups and clubs in your area. Two groups could introduce you to agents:
Real Estate Investment Association (REIA)
You can connect with other investors and their agents, maybe even get property leads. Most major markets have at least one REIA, but check the website to see if yours is served by one.
Real Estate Investing Club (REIC)
This educational network offers webinars and events for real estate investors. The in-person events are prime for finding contacts, investors, and agents alike.
What to look for in an investment real estate agent
A large, established network
Investment real estate agents who are deeply immersed in the investing world will have many contacts.
The best agents in the field can introduce you to experts such as:
- Wholesalers, real estate investors who sell off-market properties for cash
- Contractors and other professionals for rehabbing and repair projects
- Lenders or banks who might help you finance a property deal
- Other investors (a.k.a., your competition) who might be selling properties from their holding
- Other investment realtors who can help you snag more property deals in other markets
Deep local knowledge
Understanding the local market in which you want to invest is a crucial part of finding great deals. Your agent should give you insight into:
- Areas of opportunity
- Neighborhoods to shy away from
- Upcoming developments you could capitalize on
Direct investment experience
Your agent should have either personal experience in real estate investing or a robust education (e.g., certifications) to make up for it.
Agents with first-hand experience know how to look for property deals. They’ll analyze properties in the same way you do, with relevant metrics. They keep their ear to the ground, always on the hunt for the next best investment opportunity.
|🚨 If your agent is an active investor in your market, they could be competing with you for investment deals. Look for agents who work in a different area or use a different investment strategy.|
Questions to ask an investment real estate agent
Ideally, you’ll find two to three investment agents who you’re interested in working with. To narrow it down to one, here are some questions you should ask in your initial interview.
Are you a full-time agent?
If they’re only part-time, they might be inexperienced or be too late to snag good opportunities.
Do you know how to maximize the value of a property?
You don’t want an agent to just find you houses: you want someone who can make you money. They should know how you can improve a home’s value to earn the highest rental income, as well as which improvements have the best returns.
Do you offer property management services?
Some investment agents also double as a property manager, which is a major win-win for you. Not only can they help you find deals, but they can help you manage the deals you’ve already acquired.
If this is the case, make sure you thoroughly review their management experience. Find out how many properties they're managing and for how long.