In my last blog post I started to think about finding deals through estate agents (read here); however, there can be some challenges with this. Quite often, if you walk into an agent’s office and state that you’re an investor, you’re likely to be faced with indifference or irritation because it’s probable that the agent has had numerous other individuals walk through the door earlier that day saying that very same thing. The truth of the matter is that most who walk into an office saying “I’m an investor”, are unlikely to really know what they are doing.
So, what can you do so that you don’t come across as “just another investor” that hasn’t got a clue?
To come across as a serious investor and to be in with a chance of persuading an agent to try you out with a few deals, you need prepare yourself BEFORE stepping foot in their offices. In my opinion, the very first thing that you need to do is make absolutely clear to yourself what it is that you want to buy (and why buy you want to buy it), so that this can be conveyed to the agent.
Whilst this probably sounds obvious, many misunderstand this step – and that includes my former self.
When I first started trawling the estate agents many years back, I wasn’t entirely clear on what I was looking for. To be honest, I didn’t really know why I was looking for a particular type of property and certainly was overly sure why I was looking in a specific area. So, step one would be to have clear in your own mind what it is that you are really looking for.
What about if you go into an estate agents and ask for different types of properties for different types of strategies – can you do this?
Yes, you can, but my advice is probably not to take this approach when you are visiting an agent for the very first time. Essentially, when you first meet with an agent what you are trying to do is build rapport and persuade them that you know what you are doing and are serious – and it’s much easier to do this when you have a clear plan in mind.
But, how can you go about showing an agent that you mean business?
The best way to go about this is with your actions, attitude and presence. For example, if you are looking for buy to let properties, you should know beforehand which areas of town you are looking to buy in.
To help you to do this, I suggest visiting the local lettings agents. Many new and beginner investors believe that when it comes to finding investment properties, the best place to start is at an estate agents. In my opinion, this is wrong. First and foremost, you should visit a lettings agent in your target area and ascertain what tenants in this area actually want. For example, which areas are they looking to live in and what property types are they drawn to. Armed with this information, you can then approach the estate agents and can outline in detail what it is you are looking for. A clear plan is what will help you to come across as a serious investor.
If you choose not to do this and to instead walk in and state that you’re an investor that’s looking for “anything” that’s the right sort of price, you’ll be met with indifference and irritation. After all, this is vague and fluffy thinking that is unlikely to instil confidence.
So, my advice to you this week is to prepare yourself in advance so that you can be very specific on what you are looking for. Be clear what type of property you are considering and the area that you are interested in, so that you can be taken seriously and hopefully be offered a few deals.
Peter Jones B.Sc FRICS
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