Why, you ask?  There are several reasons but I would like to focus on just two.  You can add your own if you like.

First of all, real estate agents have access to the great and powerful MLS.

1.) MLS Access

Your agent will have access to information such as comparable sales, tax records (yes you can do this research on your own, but it’s faster as an agent) and the history of a property or neighborhood.  This is great information to have not only when purchasing a property but when choosing your exit strategy.  And of course the exit strategy should always be in the forefront of the investors mind.  Don’t wait until you’ve acquired a property to come up with one.  That can be the kiss of death.

Speaking of your exit strategy, if you intend to flip your subject property instead of  holding on to it, you’ll want to get it listed on the open market.  I know there are flat fee listing services out there and if it works for you, great.  However, nothing beats having an agent in your corner that knows the area and your competition.  I personally don’t put a whole lot of stock in open houses and sexy looking print ads.  The savvy person knows it’s all about the internet these days.  Most MLS’s distribute listing information into sites like Realtor.com where everyone seems to go these days.  According to the National Association of Realtors, 80% of home sales happen through the MLS.  Now, that’s not to say that as an investor you should put all your eggs in one basket.  You’ve got to look at your market (every one is different) and your property to see what works.  But those kinds of statistics shouldn’t be ignored either.

The second reason I recommend working with an agent is for Negotiation Strategy.

2.) Negotiation Strategy

I know I will get some argument from this and again, this is my opinion.  Having an agent brings in a 3rd party element that takes some of the heat out of the fire.  Although you may be calm, cool, and all business, you are more than likely dealing with an emotional buyer on the other end.  Sometimes it’s good just to have that go between.  If I allowed some of the responses to some of the offers through to our buyers in certain situations, WW III would have ensued.  It’s important to have someone with tact on your team to represent you.  It’s essential that you are honest enough with yourself to realize that may not be you….Fortunately for us, my husband recognizes that.  But I digress.

Again, these are my opinions and what has worked for us.  Having your license is a powerful tool in today’s market, but if you choose not to get yours (it is quite painful to attain) then partner with a good agent or two.  Now if you find agents that you are satisfied with, take good care of them.  Don’t two-time them or pit them against other agents, yet be real and honest.  Take care of them and you’ll have loyal agents for the life of your business.

What are your thoughts?

Happy investing.