How to Hire the Best Real Estate Agent to Buy Rental Property

Please, don't use the realtor your mom referred you to.

Here's why...

Investors want the opposite of everything a normal home buyer is looking for.

The normal buyer wants the perfect kitchen, new flooring, and maybe a pool, and will certainly be drawn to any already renovated listings.

These are all red flags for a real estate investor.

Therefore as an investor, you need to be careful who you bring on to represent you in your purchase.

You NEED an agent who knows what you're looking for, and ideally, they also invest in real estate.

How to Find a Real Estate Agent for Rental Property

There's a lot to unpack here, so feel free to jump to what is most relevant to you:

  1. What to look for in an investor-friendly real estate agent
  2. Why many agents don't like working with investors
  3. What to say to your agent to be successful and set expectations
  4. How to actually find a rockstar real estate agent

1. What to look for in an investor-friendly real estate agent

First, the absolute best way thing a real agent can say to an investor is that they also invest in real estate.

This alone almost guarantees they will better understand your goals and point of view and they will have the experience needed to identify and find you good deals.

An agent who doesn't invest could still be a good fit, but you have to do more digging and make sure they still understand what you want as an investor.

If they don't invest themselves, there are 3 more redeeming qualities to look for:

  • they work with other real estate investors
  • they do property management
  • they are hungry and willing to learn and hustle for you

The first 2 points are hopefully self-explanatory. If the agent works with other investors they will have a better understanding of what your needs are. Or if they do property management then they deal with rental properties all the time which is good too.

But lastly, if a friend or family member recommends a real estate agent to you and they don't invest, have never worked with investors, AND don't do any property management... the last possible redeeming trait is simply that they must be willing to learn and adapt to your needs as an investor. A real estate agent that is willing to hustle for you and put in more work will always be better than a pro who knows their stuff but won't even pick up the phone for you.

And it should go without saying if the agent you are considering meets none of these requirements you are putting yourself in a really really bad position. Just go out and find someone who meets ALL of them and you will have a massive advantage.

2. Why many agents don't like working with investors

Traditional home buyers are all the same.

They want their dream home which all new appliances and recently remodeled everything. Any damage or problems during the inspection are major red flags.

For real estate investors, you truly want the opposite.

A property that's already remodeled means there's no room for you to force appreciation or improve the property, and you're going to have to pay more to acquire it in the first place.

And when problems come up in the inspection they are blessings! They mean you can negotiate an even better price because of things you were going to probably replace anyway!

But many real estate agents do not understand this and struggle to change their mindset to more closely align with yours.

With a traditional home buyer, they can focus on selling the dream and get the buyer to pay more. But investors want the most distressed property available for the lowest dollar amount, often leading to many lowball offers, intense negotiations, backing out of deals, and more overall time crunches to get their lowball offers in first.

None of which make the real estate agent's job easier.

So keep this in mind when finding your agent and be prepared to be rejected by the first ones you contact.

3. What to say to your agent to be successful and set expectations

Given that not all agents are good for investors and many don't even want to deal with investors, it's imperative that you set expectations clearly from the beginning in order to build a successful relationship with your agent.

A few things that you should decide on:

  • what kind of property are you looking for
  • what property condition you are looking for
  • what area are you looking to buy in
  • who is going to find or source properties
  • will you view each property in person
  • how quickly do you expect offers to be sent
  • do you expect to put multiple offers out at the same time
  • are you going to offer above or below list price
  • what contingencies you are willing to waive if any
  • expectations you have around communication

There are no rules set in stone when it comes to investors and real estate agents.

Figure out what you can take on and if you expect anything from your agent make sure they understand and are willing to take on that responsibility.

My first agent sent me a few properties but nothing fit my criteria so I took on that responsibility and sourced them myself. I wanted properties in really bad condition (and at a screaming deal) and they were always hesitant to make offers. If we established those expectations better upfront we would've been able to work together much more efficiently.

4. How to actually find a rockstar real estate agent

Since we don't want to use just any normal real estate agent we want to narrow our search and pay attention to our criteria as real estate investors.

While most home buyers are recommended to get referrals from friends or family, that's generally not the best route to go as an investor.

Our criteria is different, and ideally our agent has as many of the below qualities:

  • they invest in real estate
  • they work with other real estate investors
  • they do property management
  • they are hungry and willing to learn and hustle for you

Therefore the best way to find a realtor that matches these traits is to search the Zillow Agent Finder.

Enter the location you want to invest in and start your search.

You'll get pages and pages of potential real estate agents with ratings, reviews, and full descriptions of their backgrounds and experience.


Keep in mind the traits we are looking for in an agent.

Click through highly rated agents and read their descriptions. It's up to you to consider exactly what you are looking for but a few things you should think about:

Do you prefer an individual who you can build a relationship with? Or someone with a team where you'll work with various different people?

  • The pros of a team are that they have more specialists for various parts of the transaction, with the cons being that you wont build the same relationship and understanding that you would with someone working on their own

Do you want someone who does TONS of deals? Or someone with only a few?

  • Agents with too many clients will be harder to contact and have other obligations to balance (but they are probably in demand for good reason)
  • Agents with fewer clients will be able to focus on YOU and you will always be top of mind

Do you want someone with many years of experience or someone who's hungry to start their career and build their business?

  • Experience is incredibly valuable, but over time people can get complacent and lose their hustle and work ethic
  • Less experienced agents should be hungry for clients and generally have more time to devote to you which can be a huge positive

Closing Words

Ultimately, investors can be a lot more work for your typical real estate agent.

BUT they can also be rockstar clients who give agents a ton of business.

So invest time and focus up front in finding the right agent who understands what you want and will be able to help you succeed in your real estate investment journey.

Good luck!

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Hey, I'm Nicholas Dill.

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