How to Find a Top Agent

Relationships of trust depend on our willingness to look not only to our own interests, but also the interests of others.
— Peter Farquharson

Becoming a market expert means I was actually killing two birds with one stone. Not only was I learning about the area, but as I was speaking to around 20 different agents every week I was soon able to suss out the ones who would be helpful to me with my investing and with whom I felt I could work well.

Find top agents and form good relationships with them

I wanted to find good career agents who knew what they were doing and who would get me the good deals. Out of the 20-odd agents I spoke to in a week, about four of them would be receptive to me and actually show some interest.You would be amazed at the number who didn’t even ask for my name or number when I rang to enquire about a property. They’d just give me the address, hang up, and I’d never hear from them again. Needless to say, I crossed those ones off my list with lightning speed.

I began to make a shortlist of receptive agents and eventually I ended up with four or five whom I considered to be top notch, each one working for a different real estate company. I’d define a top agent as one who works hard for the vendor and wants to achieve the highest sale price possible. Great if I were selling a property, you might ask, but as a buyer why on earth would I want to work with someone like that? Well, the truth is that I have very rarely bought a property from one of these agents because it is too hard to get a good discount. Instead it is my policy to buy from the hopeless agents, and sell using the good ones. However, what I have done on many occasions is use my top agents to find hot deals that are listed with other agents, and then use the top agent to negotiate on my behalf.

Stay in touch with your agents

Each Monday, I take 45 minutes or so to ring my top agents to get an update on what is happening. Most real estate action happens during the weekend so by Monday morning they will have talked to the other agents in the office and know everything that is going on ready to pass on to me. I also regularly take them out for coffee or drop in to see them at the office. Keeping in touch like this ensures that I am at the forefront of their minds and makes them feel that I value our relationship. So when the deal of a lifetime comes along (which it has done on more than one occasion), I am the first person they call. They know that I will act fast, and they are also motivated by the commission involved.

Stay loyal to your agent

Dealing through top agents works both ways. You see, if I work through them rather than the listing agent, they will get 50% of the commission on any properties I buy. So, whenever I see an interesting property listed for sale, rather than contact the listing agent I will instead ring the relevant top agent who works for the same real estate company. Here’s an example. I call my agents, Arn Mehta and Phil Thompson, at the Ray White agency in Manukau to ask about a property listed with John Smith at Ray White Manurewa. I ask Arn and Phil to get the information about the property from John to see if I can do a deal. Because Arn and Phil know me and how I work, I don’t have to explain the way I like to make offers and structure deals, which I would have to do with an agent I hadn’t worked with before. Being top agents, Arn and Phil are prepared to split their commission 50/50 with the listing agent – so it is win-win for everyone involved.

Find agents that you get along with and that are interested in what you are doing, working together will benefit you and the agent.

The above post is based on the book “The 15 Million Dollar Man” by Sean Wood, to read more click Property Investment and download 2 free chapters.