dealing with realtors

. the realtor i use now , i have bought and sold with for about 2 years now . all the rehabs i did up until now i bought from a realtor or from a auction company. now i just started advertising to find better deals . i am goin to need to be able to ask my realtor for comps to help me with the leads i get that arnt listed… so i want to ask her for expired listings so i can mail them and also to get comps for me for a house that is not listed …soooo my question is , do i offer her a small amount of money for these services? or maybe a fee per house that i close on if she helps me determine the value when i buy it ? just wondering how every one eles deals with there realtor , as i do realize she is a asset to me and i dont want to ask for to much with out some compensation in return.

First, she IS an asset to your business. That said, before you decide to speak with her about this, think what you’re buiness would be without her (both now, past and future) AND what you would expect in her situation.

Second, when you do discuss this with her, keep in mind that she is a professional, too. In other words, don’t use the words “small fee” when talking. Running comps (good ones) takes time. If you’re not capable of learning value without her help, then it’s not “small” help. Offer to pay and pay well for the services.

As to the expired listings, in most MLS’s, giving you expired information would probably be considered against the rules. Even if not, you’re using the services of an agent and the agent should be paid accordingly (for example 3% if that’s the ‘average’ commission for your area).


ok thanks Raj.
i have depended alot on the past comps she gave me for fixxer uppers that where listed . she would always send me a property and then comps for the neighborhood, active and recent sold listings . i really like looking over the comps real well , it definetly helps me decide on weather or not to buy to property. so that being, i find this info very valuable to me . is there any other way to get this info on my own?
also do you think it would be better to pay her everytime she comps stuff for me or just pay her if i end up buying a house as a result of her help ?
also if i meet with a seller that needs a higher price than i am willing to pay i could offer to pass them over to her so she could have a chance at listing the house, and hopfully make commision on it…

do you think it would be better to pay her everytime she comps stuff for me or just pay her if i end up buying a house as a result of her help ?

Hmmm. Well, let’s put it in perspective. Why don’t you ask your attorney to run title searches on every house that you’re interested in, but you’ll only pay him for the ones that you actually buy. Think he’ll go for it?

Seriously, this kind of junk really gripes me. Why is it that investors think that the agent’s time is worthless? You have already said how “invaluable” her services are to you, yet you’re still trying to figure out how you get use and abuse her without the benefit of paying for it.

Pay your people well and you will be rewarded for it. Pay them not, and you’ll also be rewarded, though I doubt that you’ll like the gift.

And yes, if you are not able to “help” a seller that isn’t listed, then you should be passing it on to your agent. It’s simply good business. Hopefully, you two will work out some sort of give/take that works for both of you.


Great advice Raj…

The heart of the question is the problem. We investors shouldn’t be relying on agents for comps… We should be able to do value a property our self… We all should understand the market that we are buying in better then most agents.

Heck most agents wouldn’t know functional or economic obsolescence if their career depended on it… Try getting an agent to explain how to fill out a BPO or guide you through the pluses and minuses for view, lot location and likeness.

The MLS is not a safety net for valuation information; it is a place to list houses for sell. Besides Buyers and seller buy and sell houses agents just handle the paperwork and present offers. Few even know how to do that correctly.

As for the expired listing there are a lot of agents who will give you that information free. But Raj is correct you get what you pay for… Myself I am a California Broker and member of the MLS so I can get mine myself…

But if you need a great agent here is what you do.

Call your title/escrow company and ask for the sales manager… Ask the sales manager for the top 5 agents names in your area … This guy will have this infor as his life is all about knowing the top dogs…

When you get this list interview the people and hire the one who you feel is the best agent… Things to look for

  1. How much advertising do they do personally, not Broker sponsored advertising? these guys buy full page ads… See if you can co-op a small corner.

  2. how many Buyers agents do they have under them? The more buyers agents the more buyers equals faster listing sells. Don’t get caught up with double agency… Most states give the seller the fiducery benefit

  3. Average days on market of their listings? Its all about speed.

  4. Average sales price of their listings? You want to make sure they aren’t under pricing the market to get their listings sold.

  5. What is their policy on referrals? You should refer listing to the agent you use for a fee or reduction of your listing costs.

  6. Who do they use for vendors… Ie. termite company, roofing company. etc then call these guys and ask them about the agent.

  7. Will they take less of a split for volume? 3.5% to the selling agent 2.5% to the listing agent.

  8. If they weren’t an agent who would they use?

Good Luck

Michael Quarles

For “For Sale” comps, try using and search for homes in the town and rough price range you are estimating. I use the map feature to pinpoint the location since the site doesn’t provide exact addresses. Also provides a wealth of information, just be sure to take their estimates with a grain of salt. They do enable you to get factual info on nearby houses. I also use a NJ government site (I invest in NJ) I look up houses by street and search each house returned for recent sales to get good “Sold Comps”. An added benefit is that the data is not limited to MLS only. It can be very helpful in helping convince potential sellers that prices quoted by the agents MAY be BS.

Not as easy as having your agent hand comps over to you but each method provides a piece of the puzzle and by mix and match of the info from each I get a pretty solid comp picture.

I would say that Michael was right about knowing your area. If you’re serious about being in business, then YOU should become an expert in your local area. Look at 100 or more houses that are for sale (inside and out). Keep up with houses that are sold learn the value of properties in your area.

I disagree about finding the top realtors in your area. Most of the time, the best realtors aren’t going to waste their time doing comps or looking for cheap propeties for an investor (especially a newbie). I would suggest finding a relatively new realtor that is anxious to do deals. Then, make sure that they are well paid when they find deals that you buy. Often, because investors are buying properties at a BIG discount, the commission is low. So, I simply pay my realtor extra when she finds me a great deal. After all, if I’m picking up tens of thousands of dollars of equity and getting a positive cash flow, why shouldn’t the realtor that found it make a little money?


I can easily feed a Top Producer an additional 50 listings a year… I think they will listen to me…

And I understand your point… However at a time in my life I was that “Green” Realtor who didnt know where to have a contract signed and I would hate to run into one of them as a brand new Investor… Talking about the blind leading the blind… Oh My.

Michael Quarles