Dealing with Real Estate Agents

Dealing with Real Estate Agents

(This article is written by real estate attorney Bill Bronchick)

Dealing with Real Estate Agents
by Bill Bronchick

The real estate agents have a valuable source of potential deals for the real estate investor - the Multiple Listing Service. Unfortunately, real estate agents have a monopoly on this information, so they may be a necessary part of an investor’s game plan.

Dealing with real estate agents can be difficult as an investor. Agents prefer home buyers with cash to put down, good credit and conventional buying power. Their interest is getting a commission with as little hassle as possible. Most agents have never done a creative real estate transaction with an investor, so they are not often receptive to unusual offers. Most agents equate a “nothing down” offer with a buyer who is not serious.

Offer a Reasonable Earnest Money. You cannot present an offer with a $50 earnest money and expect an agent to take you seriously. You can expect to pay at least $500 as earnest money to get their attention. If you are presenting a solid cash offer, you should put up more money. If you are concerned with losing your earnest money, consider using a promissory note.

Offer a Short Closing Date. Another way to get an agent to take you seriously is to offer a fast closing. Nothing makes an agent salivate more than the thought of a commission check in ten days. If the agent has another offer presented to him, he will usually advise his client to take the offer with a larger earnest money and faster close than an offer which is higher in price.

Insist on Presenting Creative Offers in Person. If you present a creative offer to an agent, it will not be represented to the owner in the same enthusiastic fashion. As stated above, agents do not like creative offers - they like conventional offers from solid buyers. If you want the owner to hear all of the great benefits of your offer, insist on presenting the offer in person.

Appeal to the Agent’s Greed Factor. Let’s face it . . . real estate agents are in the game to make money, just like anyone else in any other business. If you can offer the agent an incentive to make money out of the transaction, you will get his cooperation. If you present an offer which does not permit enough cash to come out of the deal to pay the agent, why would he cooperate with you? If you present a lease/option offer on a listed property, how will the agent receive a commission? You need to find a way for the agent to get paid, even if you pay him out of your own pocket.

Do Your Own Comps. Sometimes you will get the opposite of an uncooperative agent - an overzealous agent. Be suspicious of an agent who tells you what a deal you are getting on a property. If it is such a good deal, why didn’t he buy it? Don’t take his word as to the value. Ask for a printout of comparable sales (not listed properties). Be aware that information contained in the MLS computer was entered by the listing broker and may be exaggerated. If a comparable sale shows the same square footage as the house you are looking at, take a drive by and see if it is accurate. Do your own assessment of value.

Fax Preliminary Offers First. Don’t waste your time filling out a contract offer until you have preliminary approval. Most agents are not this formal and will take any offer in writing to the seller. Simply summarize your offer in writing and fax it to the listing agent. Once you have an oral approval, then take the time to fill out a contract and an earnest money check. NEVER put up earnest money until the offer is accepted!

Don't be Bullied by Uncooperative Agents. If you cannot finesse an agent, don’t be afraid to stand up to him. Some agents are unethical and will refuse to present your offer. Many times the agent will lie and tell you that your offer was rejected when, in fact, it was never presented. If this is the case, do not be afraid to go over his head to the listing broker. If the listing broker is uncooperative, deal directly with the seller (unless, of course, you are also an agent).




Unethical agents

My agent told me last week why she won’t make verbal offers. She once had another agent give her a false verbal counter-offer from a bank, that drove her client to counter-offer a higher price than needed. When she found out what he had done (after the sale) she confronted him. Not only did he NOT try to cover, he said to her face “So?”
There was no proving anything because she didn’t have the bank’s counter in writing. So, lesson learned.


"Obstacles can slow you down, but they can only stop you with your permission." Dean Graziosi (BARM pg 101)

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

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thats terrible, and sad how the world is. Just more fire for doing the correct amount of diligence with everything you do in business. Gotta protect yourself and ALWAYS be ethical. Its better to have short term pain and long term gain the short term pleasure and long term pain. So keep in mind you are representing your investment career and be cautious of your core group of people because they will be representing YOU! That agent will be getting a bad rep I'm sure and his sales prolly won't look to hot in the long run.


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Cash Flow Financial Solutions, LLC
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"Make a distinction between being interested and being committed. When you are interested in doing something, you do it only when it’s convenient. When you are committed you follow through – no matter what – no excuses. – Mike Krzyzewski , Duke Blue Devils


Yeah..RE should always be in some kind of writing.

My agent is now accepting email acceptances in some cases (most recent was an email acceptance of the bank's counter offer).

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