How to Find Deals: Estate Agents (Part 2)
Last week we began to think about using estate agents to find deals and this week we are going to expand upon this.
In my opinion, one of the big stumbling blocks with using agents is that when you walk into their offices and say that you’re an investor, it’s likely that they’ll roll their eyes at you. More than likely they will have had ten “other investors” walk through their doors that morning who have said that very same thing. Quite frankly, most of the time those that are looking for deals and who claim to be “investors”, don’t really know what they are talking about.
So, what can we do to make sure that we don’t come across like this?
Well, there are ways that we can prepare ourselves before we step foot in an agents’ office and there are certain things that we can do to make sure that they take us seriously. And if we do this, then it’s likely we can persuade them to try us out with a few deals.
First and foremost, and following many years of experience, I can tell you that being absolutely clear on what it is that you want to buy and why you want to buy it is probably the first step. When I first started out all those years back and when I first started trawling around the agents, my big stumbling block was that I wasn’t entirely clear on what I was looking for. I didn’t really know why I was looking for a particular type of property and I wasn’t particularly sure why I was looking in a particular area. So, whilst this probably sounds very obvious, you need to be absolutely clear on what it is that you want – for yourself, and also so that you can convey this to the agent.
I’ve been asked many a time if it’s possible to go into an estate agents and ask for different types of properties for different types of strategies? The answer is yes, although it’s probably not advisable on your first visit.
Think of it this way… when you step into an agent’s office for the very first time, what you need to try and do is to build rapport. You need to try and persuade the agent that you are serious and that you know what you are doing.
By this, I don’t mean arguing with them – I mean by showing this with your actions and attitude. With your presence, you can show that you mean business and that you know what you are talking about. For example, if I was going to approach an agent for buy to let properties, I would need to know exactly which area of town I wanted buy my properties in. To ascertain this before going into the agents, I would suggest talking to the local lettings agents.
A fundamental misunderstanding that many new and beginner investors make is to jump straight in and visit estate agents, believing that this is the best place to start. I would argue that this is the second best place to start. Firstly, you should talk to the lettings agents in your target area and find out what tenants in the locality really want.
For example, you should find out whereabouts tenants are looking to rent and what types of properties they are actually interested in. Then, you can narrow it down by asking where you are likely to find those types of property. Armed with this information, you can then talk to the estate agents in detail about what you are looking for – and this will make a massive difference.
Or, you could consider the alternative. You could walk into the estate agent’s office and state that you’re an investor, before experiencing the subsequent eye-rolling. When asked what it is you’re looking for, you could reply that you’re not too sure; you will consider “anything” that is at the right sort of price.
This approach is too vague; it’s too fluffy and doesn’t mean anything. So instead, I advise visiting the estate agents with a clear plan. Be very specific regarding what you are looking for – the type of property you are interested in and the area that you want, so that you can be taken seriously.
This would be my first top tip on how to find deals through estates agents. Next week, we’ll take this a step further and consider how to talk to agents when you are pursuing multiple strategies.
Here’s to successful property investing.
Peter Jones B.Sc FRICS
Chartered Surveyor, author and property investor
By the way, I’ve rewritten and updated my best-selling e-book, The Successful Property Investor’s Strategy Workshop, which is an account of how I put together my multi-property portfolio, starting from scratch and with no money of my own, and how you can do the same. For more details please go to: www.ThePropertyTeacher.co.uk/the-successful-property-investors-strategy-workshop