How to Find an Investment Real Estate Agent in 2024

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By Erin Cogswell Updated June 18, 2024
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Edited by Steve Nicastro

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Finding the right investment real estate agent is crucial for identifying profitable deals in your real estate market. These specialized agents find and evaluate properties based on their investment potential, offering valuable insights to help you make informed decisions.

You can locate these experts through agent matching services, REI-certified programs, or leveraging your network. Each option has pros, cons, and considerations, so it's important to choose the one that best suits your needs.

Top agent-finding services, like Clever Real Estate, work exclusively with experienced agents with a proven track record of helping investors close profitable deals. Clever connects you with local agents who meet your criteria, with no obligation to sign. Plus, you can qualify for 0.5% cash back — that's $2,000 on a $400,000 investment property! Learn more.

What is an investment real estate agent?

An investment real estate agent specializes in properties you can rent out or renovate and flip. Their focus on this niche real estate market helps you find properties with the potential for a strong ROI.

These experts often have access to different types of investment properties, such as single- and multi-family homes and commercial properties. Moreover, their strong ties to developers and builders mean they get priority access to both on- and off-market properties — which you can take advantage of.

“Teaming up with a real estate agent offers major perks for investors,” says Angelica Ferguson VonDrak, an associate real estate broker, home renovator, and stager.

According to VonDrak, these benefits include: 

  • Access to exclusive listings
  • In-depth market analysis to help you find high-yield properties
  • Expert negotiation skills
  • Handling all transaction logistics, making the process smoother and more profitable

Investment agents offer more than basic real estate knowledge. They have a deep understanding of both the overall market in your city and specific neighborhoods. Using data such as cap rate, cash-on-cash returns, and after-repair value, they help you make fact-based property decisions instead of relying on emotions.

How to find an investment real estate agent

There are multiple ways to find an investment real estate agent. Connecting with one with the qualities, skills, and local experience you need is essential. If you’re trying to figure out where to start, here are three solid options:

Use an agent-finding service

An agent-finding service is the fastest and easiest way to find a qualified investment real estate agent. This free service, offered by a real estate company, features pre-screened, experienced agents with proven success and high customer ratings.

The company will ask what type of property you’re looking for. Within a few hours, it recommends multiple local agents to compare based on your needs.

Top agent-finding tools, such as Clever Real Estate, Ideal Agent, UpNest, and HomeLight, have more than 10,000 partner agents nationwide. They make it easy for you to connect with and interview two or three top agents in your target investment area so you can find the right one. Other benefits include built-in savings on realtor fees. 

Find an REI-certified realtor

The National Association of Realtors® database contains listings for REI-certified realtors. The Real Estate Investing (REI) certification, provided by the Residential Real Estate Council, is designed for agents who want to specialize in working with investors.[1]

To earn this certification, agents must complete courses such as:

  • How to Analyze Investment Properties Using an APOD
  • Increase Wealth with Rentals and Other Investment Properties
  • Property Management Essentials

REI-certified agents learn to create financial models, analyze cash flow, and measure ROI, equipping them to help you make informed decisions about the profitability of your investments.

However, the knowledge that comes with certification is only one piece of the puzzle. While an REI-certified realtor can perform income analysis and offer property management advice, it doesn’t necessarily mean they have local market expertise.

Network with real estate investors

Connecting with other real estate investors in your area can also help you find an agent. Experienced investors can recommend experts they’ve worked with and may have insights into lucrative property deals.

At the very least, a fellow investor can serve as a mentor. They can help you vet potential agents and suggest certain traits to look for. While real estate investing can be competitive, building a network of peers can shortcut the learning curve and allow you to learn from their mistakes.

To grow your investor network, connect with the Real Estate Investors Association, which has over 120 local chapters across the U.S. and over 40,000 members.[2] Also, attend industry webinars and events and follow other real estate investors on social media. A quick search on LinkedIn alone shows more than 1,400 groups.

Investment real estate agent: What to look for

Avoid hiring the first investment real estate agent you find; interview them first. Each agent will have specialties and advantages, but generally, there are three key traits to look for: 

1. A big network

The best investment real estate agents have deep relationships in the investment and rental markets and a wide network of contacts, including wholesalers, contractors, and lenders.

These professionals are crucial to closing deals. If your agent already has ties to them, you can streamline purchases, saving time and money. You may also gain access to exclusive investment opportunities through a well-connected realtor.

“They can also connect you to a network of people and vetted vendors you may need for your project,” VonDrak said. 

2. Deep local knowledge

Look for an agent who knows your market inside and out. They should have experience in your area and know where the opportunities lie, and which areas to avoid.

An investment real estate agent familiar with the neighborhood can help you find more deals and analyze them accurately. They can evaluate various properties using relevant data and metrics and help you manage expectations regarding what you can expect from renters, occupancy rates, and resale potential. 

3. Direct investing experience

Agents with personal experience in real estate investing have been in your shoes, so they know the challenges and risks ahead. They know how to evaluate deals and can take a more proactive approach.

“Sometimes transactions require creative solutions to get to the closing table, and you want an expert with actionable ideas to help you achieve your goals,” VonDrak said.

However, if your agent is an active investor in your market, be cautious. While they’ll have deep knowledge, some may also compete with you for investment deals. Instead, look for agents who work in different areas or invest in other property types.

Key questions to ask investment realtors

What types of investment properties do you specialize in?

Ensure their expertise aligns with your investment goals, whether residential, commercial, multi-family, or another property type. Understanding their specialty helps determine if they have the necessary knowledge to guide you in your specific investment strategy.

Can you provide references from past investor clients?

Speaking with other investors who have worked with the agent can provide valuable insights into their effectiveness and reliability. References can give you a better understanding of the agent’s track record and how well they’ve supported other investors in achieving their goals.

What are your fees and commission structure?

Clarify the costs involved in working with them to ensure it fits within your budget. Understanding their fee structure upfront helps avoid any surprises later and allows you to factor these costs into your overall investment calculations.

Can you help with financing options?

Some agents have connections with lenders and can assist you in securing financing, which can be a significant advantage. An agent who can help navigate the financing process can streamline your purchase and potentially secure better loan terms.

How do you handle negotiations?

Knowing their negotiation tactics can give you confidence in their ability to secure favorable terms for your deals. Effective negotiation skills are crucial for maximizing your investment’s profitability, so understanding their approach can assure you of their competence in this area.

Related reading

Article Sources

[1] Residential Real Estate Council – "Real Estate Investing Certification".
[2] Real Estate Investors Association – "Find a REIA".

Authors & Editorial History

Our experts continually research, evaluate, and monitor real estate companies and industry trends. We update our articles when new information becomes available.

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