By Property Soul (Guest Contributor)

After I sold one of my properties exclusively by my property agent, another agent who used to lease that property for me learned about it and said, “What? Only $XXX,XXX? I could have easily sold thirty to fifty thousand higher for you!”

I know how the deal can be pushed higher. There are many agents and owners in this market who will do anything to sell properties at the top price.

But I am also aware that these transactions almost always come with special conditions — that I don’t think is worth taking the risk. But even without any condition, I am not keen to bag that extra tens of thousands from another offer.

The peace of mind from engaging the service of someone whom I can truly trust is beyond money.

Over the years, my agent was the one who coordinated between my tenants and her contractors to get all the repair work done. She could have added her ‘management fee’ or inflated the repair costs. Instead, she bargained hard to get a reasonable price, settled the bill on behalf of me, and sent me the invoices later.

If she doesn’t mind forgoing the ‘tips’ for all her extra work, why do I have to chase that extra thirty thousand?

When there is trust, there is business.

We all want to find a good property agent to represent us when we are renting, leasing, buying or selling our properties.

But how can you tell the good from the bad ones?

Say ‘no’ to a bad agent

Bad property agents share similar attributes. Like bad boyfriends, they are a big disappointment.

It is not uncommon to see them glorifying their past performance or exaggerating their experience in the industry. But when there are hiccups and you need their help, they are nowhere to be found.

Some agents have obviously mastered the skills of playing a vanishing act. They disappear after pocketing their commission, leaving you alone to deal with difficult tenants, late payments, neighbors’ complaints, etc.

Don’t pick an agent out of convenience. Don’t use anyone just because the person is a relative or an acquaintance. Don’t use anyone without strong recommendations from a reliable source.

Forget about agents who don’t put your interests first. It’s time you looked for a new one when:

• Your agent knows no better than you about most of your property questions;

• Your agent keeps marketing to you specific projects that don’t meet your requirements;

• Your agent asks you to compromise on an unreasonable offer just to close the deal;

• Your agent always refers you to contact someone else when there is any undesirable task; or

• Your agent presses you to do something that you don’t feel comfortable with.

Qualities of good agents

Always look out for the following qualities in property agents:

1. Passion: Possess a burning fire of enthusiasm even after many years in the industry.

2. Experience/knowledge: Know current market trends, project details, market prices, etc.

3. Negotiation skills: Act calmly and patiently. Target win-win for both parties.

4. Honesty: Never oversell. Tell both pros and cons and let you make your own decision.

5. Trustworthiness: Build trust by keeping their word. Deliver what they promise.

6. Reputation: It is easy to speak highly of themselves, but it is far better if former clients speak highly of them.

A long-term relationship

As an investor, it worth spending the time to find an agent that you can trust, someone that you can work with in the long run.

When you are building your property portfolio, your agent can be your assistant or advisor to secure the good deals. When you need someone to manage your properties, your agent is your indispensable partner to ensure that things run smoothly.

My property agent told me that she gets her job satisfaction not from the compensation, but her ability to help her clients in property-related matters.

Good property agents understand the fact that building a long-term relationship is far more valuable than getting the highest commission from a single deal. It is also the close partnership with clients that helps them ride though all the ups and downs in a property cycle.

Know your rights and ways to protect yourself when dealing with property agents. Remember, successful investors get the edge from using a good agent.

By guest contributor Property Soul, a successful property investor, blogger, and author of the No B.S. Guide to Property Investment.

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