Do real estate agents know enough to advise you on investment properties?

By Lee Strauss

In my many years of real estate investing I have encountered quite a few real estate agents. Some of them are very helpful and knowledgeable, especially in providing information on specific areas. They are always friendly and willing to answer any questions I may have. After all, customer service is their business. However, I can’t count the number of times I’ve been given bad advice on real estate investing from agents.

Now, before I go any further, I do want to clarify that I always use one of my trusted agents when making a purchase. Real estate agents play a very important role on any investor’s team, as long as it is the right agent.

I have found that most agents simply don’t know any more than the Average Joe about investing in real estate, and that’s okay.  Most agents are dedicated to regular residential real estate sales and I’m sure are very knowledgeable about it.

My opinion is this: Just because you know how to sell real estate doesn’t mean you know how to invest in real estate. It’s like a car salesman telling you how to fix your car. You need to listen to the mechanic, not the salesmen.

With that said, I’ve been able to find a number of agents that actually specialize in selling real estate to investors, and guess what…they are investors too!  These agents understand the game, they understand the process and they understand the numbers.

If you don’t already have a real estate agent that specializes in selling real estate to investors, I suggest you find one. They aren’t hard to find. Many advertise in magazines, such as Canadian Real Estate Wealth, in flyers or newsletters at your local investment group. Put in the time and ask around, it will be worth it when you find the right one.

Watch for my article next month on tenant selection and how to properly screen the complete stranger that will be living in your house.

Lee Strauss is a real estate investor and firefighter based in Kitchener, Ont.

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