*Must-Have* Traits to Look For in a Realtor
A talented, driven realtor is the centerpiece of a strong house-flipping team. We’ve written about hiring a diligent contractor, working with a trustworthy and knowledgeable partner, and using a speedy title company, but having a savvy realtor on your side is the easiest way to improve your bottom line. You want a driven, local expert with strong negotiation skills and a wide network. Like any other profession, you’ll find all types of personalities when you are searching for a realtor. Some are efficient dealmakers while others drag their feet, and some are born negotiators while others stick to the listing price. Here’s our take on the must-have traits real estate investors should look for when searching for a realtor:
It’s not just your realtor’s book-smarts that will come in handy during the flip. A real, on-the-ground, knowledge of the market and your local neighborhoods is what you are looking for. Being intimately familiar with the local real estate market and what other properties are offering in the area is a critical trait that without, realtors aren’t worth the cup of coffee you met over. Having a neighborhood-level understanding of trends and housing inventory is the number one trait of a great realtor for real estate investors.
Included in their knowledge should be an understanding of the industry that gives them the ability to speak with confidence. Knowledge of the local demographics for any areas they service allows for a tailored pitch of your final product. They may even be able to tweak your renovation plans to maximize local returns. Knowing the ins-and-outs of the deal will also allow a realtor to be creative in structuring a deal for their clients, thus, becoming a much more valuable. Imagine a realtor that can create a contract or scenario that works best for your financial situation. The good ones can do that and they do it by attempting to be as omniscient as possible.
A realtor’s knowledge is meaningless if they can’t close a deal. Some people are gifted with the ability to sell anything, while others need to develop this skill over time. Your realtor should have a strong record of closing deals quickly at or above asking price. Since consumers have the ability to fact check anything in a matter of seconds by pulling out their phones, you’ll also want a realtor who doesn’t inflate the truth.
They need to know the demographic of the area, popular decorating styles, school districts, recently sold properties in the area, and even qualitative characteristics of an area like the culture of the town. These are the basics for a realtor to know, so if all these boxes don’t have checks, move on. To talk about the right way to sell is impossible, because everyone has their own technique, but we can certainly say that knowledge is an essential trait to selling, and selling is an essential trait to a realtor. Nothing speaks louder about this than their sales track record – ask for it!
Attention to Detail
Attention to detail is a requirement when scouting out an A-list realtor for your house flip. To the common person passing through a house with no vested interest, a countertop is a countertop, floors are floors, bedrooms are bedrooms, and the locations of all the above are certainly of no concern. On the flip side, to someone most likely making the largest purchasing decision of their life, every minor detail has now been enlarged. Countertops are not countertops anymore. They are quartz, laminate, granite, marble, or butcher block. As someone investing time and money in a realtor, you better be convinced they know who the customer will be and which they prefer.
Experience matters because of the connections one will have made over the course of their career and the various scenarios an experienced realtor has navigated. As we know in many professions, it is not always what you know, but knowing someone who can help, and a great realtor will have a strong network to refer to and lean on. We, as a lender, treasure those who can put us in touch with someone who can resolve whatever issue we may have. A realtor with an uncanny ability to get the job done through his or her contacts can be extremely valuable to an investor who could use a personal recommendation or connection.
Having a strong mix of the above traits will make any realtor great at what they do. In the house flipping industry, the importance of these traits is magnified because of the risk, fast pace, and return on investment involved. Having a great realtor can save you time, money, and stress. In this business, we could all use a little more of the all three. At the end of the day, if your realtor has the aforementioned traits, you will have a much easier and efficient path to success.