Property investment is primarily a people business. Sure, you’re buying properties, but this means interacting with people.
One obvious group you’ll deal with is estate agents. Doing so results in better deals, better service, and hopefully early warning about the market. So, here’s how to build great relationships with estate agents.
1. Go and see them
First and foremost, go and visit the estate agent’s office. Phones are great, and Zoom is fine, but there’s nothing quite like seeing the whites of someones’ eyes. And – SHOCK HORROR – shaking their hand.
Building a relationship in person is significantly easier than over the phone. And, building a relationship via email is almost impossible.
What’s more, you should continue to visit them. Try to go regularly. And, if you want to grease the wheels even more, take them a coffee. Building a relationship like this is designed to keep you in their mind so you’re their first call when a new property becomes available.
If you really want our patented pro-tip try this …
- Itemise ALL your agent contacts (a CRM is best but a spreadsheet works just fine).
- Make sure you have peoples’ names as well as the agency
- Categorise as: one man band / local independent, larger independent (judged by lots of signboards locally), regional, national chain
- Target them ALL but mostly the larger independents
- Allocate to each one of : fortnightly, monthly, quarterly, 6 months
- Add a column for notes to say what you did (phone, in person, email) and when (date / time), and any specifics you might want to add
- Then simply follow your process and get in touch on a regular basis following your schedule.
- Don’t be afraid to change things up as you learn and grown, and find out more about them
2. Prove you’re credible
If you consider yourself to be a property investor, you should know your market. This means understanding the property you want to buy, where you want to buy it, and why you’re buying it.
Approaching an estate agent with this information proves you’re credible and serious about buying. After all, you’re probably not the first investor to approach them, so go armed with the right information and you’ll make the process much smoother.
Don’t be over-eager to show off your knowledge. You’ll only come across as a newbie, and they’ll think it’ll be hard work. But don’t be afraid to share either. And relentlessly ask questions, stopping just short of being annoying.
3. Speak their language
This goes along with proving your credibility. Know the language of property, from building codes to industry lingo, makes it much easier to talk about important issues.
For example, if you want to convert a commercial property into a residential one, you’ll need to ask questions. Importantly, you’ll also need to understand the answers.
4. View properties
When an estate agent calls you to offer a viewing, go along. Visit the property, even if it’s not the kind of thing you’re looking for. If nothing else, you can have this conversation with the estate agent and show them (with examples) why this property isn’t for you.
The more properties you view with an estate agent, the easier it’ll be for them to understand your needs. Over time, this should result in better potential properties.
5. Actually buy property
There are few things more irritating for an estate agent than someone who views but doesn’t buy. They put in a lot of work to prepare and show a property, and this is time they don’t get back.
So, make sure you actually commit to buying a property from them. Of course, it should still match your criteria. If the estate agent thinks they’ve got it right, tell them. Similarly, if they haven’t, tell them that too.
Building a relationship with an estate agent is no different to building any other professional relationship. Take the time to know them and to discuss business with them.