How to get the best out of your buy-side agent

Be responsive.

What do I mean? Well, at any time, my agents are working with a handful of active buyers, plus some more “passive” types who have expressed interest in doing something but aren’t motivated.

So, how do the agents decide whom to focus on?

Simple: The more responsive and engaged buyers get the lion’s share of the attention, because the agent naturally expects those buyers to be more likely to actually write offers and close deals.

So, if you want our best, here’s what you have to do:

  • Have reasonable expectations (so, no, you can’t buy a 9% cap in LA… that was impossible in 2009, let alone now)
  • Clearly define for us what you’re looking for
  • Respond promptly when we send you deals that we think make sense based on the criteria you have expressed
  • Forward along other deals that you see that we may have missed (we’re good, but sometimes stuff does slip through the cracks)
  • Trust us, at least as far as writing an offer (later you can come up with all of the reasons not to buy the building)

On the other hand, here is how to ensure you don’t get our best:

  • Expect miracles in terms of returns
  • Waffle about what type of property you want (today it’s buy and hold, tomorrow it’s a renovation project, then you want to build small lot, whatever…)
  • Take more than 24 hours to respond to ideas we send (in fact, if you wait 12 hours, that’s a bad sign… when something good comes along, you want to MOVE)
  • Get involved in long philosophical conversations when it’s time to write the offer, rather than just writing (there’s little-to-no risk in writing; you can back out before sending your EMD if that’s what you decide you want to do)

Just remember: All the agents have to sell is their time. They’re going to be pretty ruthless about allocating it to the buyers who demonstrate real willingness to act when a good opportunity presents itself.