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Working with Estate Agents – How I found ‘Deal of the Year’ 2015

The question I am most asked from people just starting out on their property journey is ‘How do you find your deals?’ I’m normally faced with surprise when I say that 90% of my deals have come through working with Estate Agents. People tend to expect you to tell them of some really clever and creative strategy of dealing direct to vendor.

So why build relationships with your local Estate Agents? My answer is simple, the vast majority of properties sold in the UK are sold through Estate Agents so its short sighted not to target this avenue for sourcing your deals.

One of my deals in 2015 was voted ‘Deal of the Year under £200,000’ at the Property Investor Awards Dinner and it was sourced through an Estate Agent. I had worked hard hard over a couple of years to build that relationship but it resulted in getting a phone call when a great deal came across her desk. In fact I was the first person she called which allowed me to be the first person to view and subsequently offer on the property.

One of the great benefits of building relationships with agents is that they can influence the seller. In my case even though the offer wasn’t as high as the vendor ideally wanted it was accepted because speed and certainty were more important and the agent portrayed me as a professional investor who could act quickly.

So how do you get the agent onside? The starting point is to look at things from their point of view. They work for the seller and their job is to get the best price for their client but they need to sell the property to get paid. What annoys them are people wasting their time who view and talk but don’t buy!

The objective is to get them to take us seriously and to get on their list of buyers. How I did this at the start was to simply go in for a chat at the branch. I was very clear in what I was looking for which was 4 bedroom plus in a particular area in need of work with vacant possession. I was also given a great piece of advice when I started which was to engage them in a story about you which makes you memorable. Mine was to tell them about my Christmas Tree business and that i wanted a project to keep me busy in my off season and if a 4 bedroom in need of work with vacant possession came up ring Dan the Christmas Tree man. It sounds silly but really worked for me!

Once the agent starts putting deals in front of you its important to give them feedback on why that deal does or doesn’t work for you. This feedback is vital in building the relationship over time because in the beginning they will pass you properties that aren’t even close to what you’ve asked for! This is when your consistent message is vital. Eventually it will sink in and the good deals start rolling!

At some point when the right deal comes along you have to put your money where your mouth is and buy! otherwise they will put you in the time waster pile which is where we definitely don’t want to be.

There is no special secret to building positive relationships with agents. All it takes is a consistent approach over time. The goal is to get the agent to remember, know and like you. If you can do that the deals will come.