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How should an investor approach an agent?

By Sasha Karen

With ‘agent’ being a bit of a “dirty word”, investors may find it difficult to see eye-to-eye with them. One of these very agents provides his insight on how investors and agents can get along.

Sooner or later, investors need to interact with agents to expand their portfolios. While there may be a reluctance to work with agents, it does not need to be so difficult.

Speaking on The Smart Property Investment Show podcast, real estate agent Gavin Rubinstein at Ray White Double Bay said investors should not take agents emotionally, and just focus on the numbers. If something does not feel right, Mr Rubinstein said investors should call them on it.

“If they get emotional, it’s going to become a problem,” he said.

“But if there’s no emotion there, and there’s a gut feel or a feeling based on you know, feeling like it’s bullshit, call the bluff. And if you call the bluff and you expose the agent, well it’s like one big game. You win.

“And I think you can do that a lot easier being an investor rather than a homeowner because a homeowner, being emotionally invested and wanting to house the family, or the mother’s having the kids, a hundred different reasons I can give you, they can’t pass it up that easily.

Mr Rubinstein said each agent should be treated on a case-by-case basis, rather than condemning every agent, as there is a low barrier to entering the real estate industry, which means the quality of the agent can be varied.

“Anyone can really do it. But generally speaking, there’s one or two [agents] who I don’t love, and everyone else I’m impartial about. You’ve got to remember, and again everyone’s different.”

When an investor finds an agent that works out in the investor’s favour, Mr Rubinstein recommends to build a rapport with that particular agent.

“Put effort and time into building rapport with agents. So, you know, if you think about some regular clients I’ve got who I look out for, we’ve built rapport through just doing transactions and deals together,” he said.

“I know certain things about these guys. Certain things like, they’re cashed up, they’re ready to go, they move quick, they’re not difficult in terms of, you know when we get into contracts, making deals over things that are kind of immaterial but they make just a big deal. You know, genuine, real buyers, ready to move.”

When it comes to agents selling at the price a vendor favours, Mr Rubinstein said to keep in mind the agents are not out “to rip anyone off”.

“Often, I’ll have a conversation with an investor… [who] says, ‘We really want to buy it,’ and my simple answer is honesty is the best policy. I don’t sugar-coat things. If you want to buy it this is the price, you can buy it at that, if you don’t want to buy it, let’s find you something else,” he said.

Mr Rubinstein recommended going in without any emotive bias to the agent, which can, in the future, then work out for the investor.

“If you make the process smooth for the agent, and he knows you want more, frequency builds trust. Naturally that’s going to build and kind of evolve over time. And I’ve got plenty of clients who I’ll call straight away and give the heads up on things to come through at the start,” he added.

Thank you.

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How should an investor approach an agent?
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