Buying a property is simple, but when the property is located outside of the state, property investment suddenly becomes more complicated. In this case, you can make an offer without seeing the property but that comes with its advantages and disadvantages. Either way, you will need a reliable real estate agent to help you navigate the complex procedures and unfamiliar terms of real estate investing — all from a distance.
If you’re planning on buying a property, but you don’t know where to begin, you’re in the right place. In this article, we’ll show you how to choose a long-distance real estate agent whom you can trust even if you’re miles away.
Step 1. Do Your Research
When it comes to selecting a long-distance real estate agent, the Internet is your most powerful tool. Given your limited knowledge of your potential property investment location’s location, it’s best to conduct thorough research on the area’s requirements. Often, real estate agents are required to hold a license to sell properties within the state. However, it’s common for realtors to practice only in specific cities and neighborhoods where they know the market the best.
Don’t confuse that real estate agents and property managers are the same. The similarity between them often leads to confusion but there’re certain differences between the real estate agent and property manager.
Narrowing down your search to area-specific real estate agents can increase your chances of ending up with a realtor who truly understands the local market. From there, you can search for potential realtors online.
Where to Find Trustworthy Real Estate Agents Online
Sometimes, a quick Google search for “best real estate agent near me” can help you find the realtor of your dreams. You’ll likely end up on a Yelp page that’s titled “Top 10 Real Estate Agents…” or something along those lines. Be careful of sponsored agents, as their rankings don’t always indicate expertise since they paid for their spot. It’s best to scroll down to the “All Results” section for an overview of each real estate agent’s reputation and ranking. It’s a good sign when an agent has multiple five-star reviews paired with authentic comments.
Yelp isn’t one-hundred percent accurate (thanks to paid reviews), but it’s an excellent place to start looking.
#2 Realtor’s Website
Search engines can lead you to online portfolios of real estate agents. But be careful — just because they have a well-designed website, it does not speak for their skill as a realtor. Some real estate agents simply have websites that have great search engine optimization (SEO).
Still, it wouldn’t hurt to explore their website and to take note of essential details such as their credentials, testimonials, certifications, and so on. Be on the lookout for sections on their media presence, such as interviews and podcasts. If the local community considers them a reliable source of information, then there’s a pretty good chance that they know what they’re doing.
Step 2. Ask for Referrals
The most sure-fire way of finding a long-distance real estate agent is through referrals. Ask fellow real estate investors for names of real estate agents or property managers that they’ve successfully worked with. You could also try joining the Real Estate Investment Association (REIA) so that you can network with property investors who can connect you with their real estate agents.
But don’t stop there! You should also ask for referrals from local real estate agents that you personally know. Ask them to make a list of agents in your property’s location. Since realtors attend the same conferences and conventions several times a year, they’re bound to know an agent or two from other states. They’re also more likely to refer you to agents from other states because they aren’t a threat to their local careers.
Step 3. Narrow Down Your Search
Now that you have a list of potential real estate agents from your online search and your list of referrals, it’s time to narrow it down. The best way to do this is by reading online reviews.
All you have to do is to type the real estate agent’s name on Google. An agent with several bad reviews should be crossed off your list immediately. On the other hand, an agent with only five-star reviews shouldn’t receive your praise, either. It’s doubtful that not a single client had a less-than-perfect experience. This may indicate that the reviews and ratings were paid for.
Also, consider visiting each real estate agent’s social media profile. Go to the comments section on their posts to see if anyone left a bad review.
Step 4. Ask Questions
It’s time for you to play the role of the interviewer. Talking with potential real estate agents is an excellent way to gauge whether you can work together. Since it would be expensive to arrange a face-to-face meeting, you can schedule a phone or video interview. While communicating through email is acceptable, it won’t give you a chance to better get a feel of the agent’s personality. Are they arrogant when they talk? Did they bother to look presentable? These minor details can tell you a lot about their level of professionalism.
This is also an excellent opportunity for you to express what you need from the agent. Do you have a specific property in mind? What are you planning to do with the property? Do you intend on renting it out? Share this information with your potential agent and listen to the solutions that they plan to offer.
Step 5. Observe How They Communicate
Clear and consistent communication is vital when purchasing a long-distance property. Your agent should always be giving you updates, whether through call, text, or email. You do not want to receive total silence from your real estate agent. As the investor, you should be aware of the real estate agent’s plan every step of the way.
How long does it take them to reply to texts and emails? How quickly can they return a call? If the potential agent doesn’t seem to act with urgency, you should consider it a sign that they can’t rely on.
Step 6. Consider Hiring a Property Manager
A real estate agent can only help you acquire the property. To make your investment work, you’ll need the expertise of a property manager. Many out-of-state investors hire property managers to oversee the day-to-day operations such as collecting rent, filling vacancies, handling emergencies, etc.
Firms like Luxury Property Care have property managers who are also licensed real estate agents, which is more beneficial to you as the investor since you’re getting a “package” deal. Property management is a necessary expense if you want to protect and maximize your investment.
Get in Touch
If you’re looking for a long-distance real estate agent, look no further than Luxury Property Care. Our property managers will help you make an informed decision when selecting which property to purchase, whether it’s a single-family unit or a luxury home. Get in touch with us today by calling (561) 944-2992 or filling out our contact form.