Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Dealing with Realtors After a Seminar

"You're not going to be throwing a low ball offer at me, like the last 4 investors, are you?"

I hear this a lot from realtors. I hate hearing this because of course I'm going to make a low ball offer as one of my purchase techniques. It's just not my only technique. That question, however make me think about what happens when many potential investors come out of the seminars.

Most realtors know when a seminar has been in town. They get flooded with low ball offers from unknown people with no money and no credit. Plus, all the offers tend to look the same. I hate to tell you but almost anything they get in those email floods gets tossed out. Think of it from a realtor's standpoint. Why should they put a lot of effort working with 20 offers from some newbie unknown that have very little chance going through escrow?

So, you've spent 1-4 days learning some great stuff and you're all fired up. It's Monday and you want to dive in and put your new found knowledge to work for you. In most cases the person giving the seminar gave good advice on how to find deals. Why then do so many people think that they can get a realtor to do all their work?

In most seminars, students are taught to avoid realtors and look for direct sellers. Why then do the realtors get a flood of offers after that seminar? Because a lot of people who want to be investors are lazy. It's easier to send stuff to a realtor than to look for your own deals, market for and court your own sellers and do all the footwork that is normally needed.

It isn't that realtors, themselves, are lazy. They will do a lot of footwork. They will fax offers, meet with clients, and do a bunch of your paperwork. They just won't do it for you unless they know you and trust that you can perform and get them their commission check at the end of all their hard work.

Thus, we get to the usual catch-22. They won't work with you until you're successful and you can't get successful unless they work with you. Fortunately, this is not insurmountable. Smart realtors know that everyone has to start somewhere and if they can get in the ground floor with "That Client" they have it made for life. How do they know that you're That Client? First, lets look at the things that indicate that someone isn't That Client. Most people who fail in real estate are either lazy or they don't stick to it and follow through (and usually they are both).

The goal here is to show that you are not lazy and you do stick to it and you do follow through. To do this court the realtor. Set up lunch dates if you are local or phone dates if you aren't. First thing is keep the appointment. Next, find out what the realtor is looking for. I could tell you 95% of what they'll say but I still ask because they see that you are taking the time to find out. Also, there is still that 5% that might be key to a good relationship. During this conversation, remember that we have two ears and only one mouth. That is an important ratio. Then tell the realtor what your strategy is and how it fits into what they want.

At this point, I ask for something easy like emailed MLS listings matching a specific criteria. In most states, this is something that takes them 5 minutes to set up and it is then automatic. Then write your offers and either fax them to the realtor or convert them to PDF and email them to the realtor. That way all the realtor has to do is forward the file or punch in the phone number. Since the realtor knows you and this isn't much effort for the expected payout, they'll do it for a while. At this point, if you perform, they'll love dealing with you and you can get them to do just about anything that's legal.

Another thing that you can ask for are non competing referrals. They get referrals from people they send referrals to. So if you need a good loan officer, escrow company, real estate attorney or title company in that area, ask the realtor.

Remember that a realtor can be a valuable ally but anyone who is desperate or inexperienced enough to let you walk all over them, isn't going to be a valuable ally. When hunting for a realtor look for a partner rather than a lackey and you will do much better.