It’s not always an easy task to identify or find a so-called investor-friendly real estate agent. It takes a good amount of training, investment-specific knowledge, and experience for an agent to qualify as a member of this sparsely populated category. But if you’re a serious investor, you do indeed want to find an investor-friendly real estate agent to help your business operate more efficiently and profitably. The simple fact is there is quite a difference between a traditional agent and an investor-friendly agent. So here are 6 characteristics every investor-friendly Chicago real estate agent should have.
1. General Characteristics
Let’s begin with the general characteristics every Chicago real estate agent should have. Without these skills and qualities, even a putative investor-friendly agent won’t do you much good. Here, then, according to The Balance Small Business, are the must-have characteristics for any agent of any stripe:
- Honesty and integrity
- Knowledge of purchase process
- Knowledge of real estate market
- Communication skills
- Negotiation skills
“There are others, including people skills and technical skills, but the above are the top items.” Now, let’s move on to the characteristics that are specific to investor-friendly Chicago real estate agents.
2. Full-Time Agent
The basic rule of thumb here is that your investor-friendly Chicago real estate agent should always be a full-time agent. Typically, part-timers are brand new to the business and aren’t established and making a full-time income, or they simply don’t have what it takes to make a full-time income as an agent. Your chances of getting a better agent are increased with a full-timer.
3. Licensed for Several Years
Chris Dawson at BiggerPockets puts it this way: “I wouldn’t work with an agent who has had their license for less than 4 years UNLESS they are working on a team where the team leader has more experience and will be available to help if needed.” Longer licensing is better because the simple fact is that it takes much more experience for an investor-friendly agent to become good at what she does. In every state, licensing information is available to the public and can often be accessed free online.
4. High Percentage of Business Working with Investors
Obviously, a large percentage of an investor-friendly Chicago real estate agent’s professional experience should be working with investors. “If the answer is 60% or less, I would find another agent. It it was my money being invested, I wouldn’t settle for any agent doing less than 85% of their business with investors” (BiggerPockets).
5. Large Number of Completed Investor Transactions
As with percentage of business working with investors, more is also better when it comes to the number of completed investor transactions over the past year. A top-notch investor-friendly Chicago real estate agent should probably have closed a minimum of 20 deals over the past 12 months. For multi-family investment deals that figure may be lower, but then the amount per transaction will be a great deal higher.
6. Proof of Transaction
Your investor-friendly Chicago real estate agent should also be able (and willing) to provide proof of those claimed completed transactions. Asking for proof may take the agent off guard, but it’s your investment money being put on the line. You can ask to see an MLS report to see transactions there. Or if the agent’s transactions were outside the MLS, you can ask to see some of those contracts. Either way, you really should get some proof of performance because, well, people do tend to stretch the truth at times.
Bonus Characteristic – Agent as Investor
If the agent herself is also a real estate investor (and some investor-friendly agents are), that’s a plus. It also inserts a certain amount of caution because the agent may try to pick off all the really good deals and leave the not-so-good ones for you. Still, an agent who is an investor almost always knows what she is doing when it comes to real estate investment, and you can turn that to your benefit. Look at it this way: “if an agent hasn’t invested for themselves, then how will they truly know all the ins and outs to investing? Look for an agent that has invested in the past or currently is investing, but one who won’t be competing with you for deals” (BiggerPockets).
It’s definitely a good thing to know the 6 characteristics every investor-friendly Chicago real estate agent should have. But it’s not always so easy to find an agent who possesses all the necessary characteristics. You could ask for referrals from those in the business, but demand is greater than supply for these agents, so that may not work out so well. Another option is to use an agency that can provide what you need. If you’re ready to do that and cash in on the advantages of working with an investor-friendly agent, contact us today! 773.233.2301