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RISMEDIA, March 16, 2011—With homeownership rates decreasing and distressed properties increasing, it’s not surprising that investors make up 20% of the current buyer’s market. And their activity will only increase over the next four to five years. As investors actively assess the current inventory, many are looking for skilled agents to arrange and manage their endeavors.

If you’re willing and able to read the needs of investors and customize your buyer agency approach, then there’s limitless potential for a steady stream of transactions—not to mention opportunities to build your own real estate portfolio.

Agents who are best suited to work with investors share some key attributes.

Full-Service Mindset
An investor agent should be prepared to do what investors prefer not to do themselves. This can include a range of services from simply searching for properties and e-mailing premium listings on a regular basis to completing a transaction from beginning to end with little more than the investor’s go-ahead.

The full-service scenario can even include managing the rehabilitation, rental and resale of a property on the investor’s behalf—all without the client ever setting foot inside.

While some investors spend time looking for projects to manage themselves, others want nothing more than to provide capital in return for project and profit reports. Wherever an investor client sits on this spectrum, you must be prepared to deliver.

Sharp Eye for Value
Agents who demonstrate their ability to evaluate potential investment properties as critically as they would if their own money was on the line are an investor’s dream service provider. You’ll likely find yourself evaluating properties in ways not often required with traditional transactions. These can include appreciation trends, rental climate in the area and rehab recommendations and quotes.

Investors respond to the big picture, and providing that full view to them upfront will set you apart—and could earn you their confidence as a possible co-investor.

Knowledge and Motivation
A straightforward way to signal your commitment to working with investors is to specialize. Two new certification programs are excellent options for learning about the world of real estate investment and the needs of the clientele. The Certified Investor Agent Specialist (CIAS) certification was developed by the group that offers the Certified Distressed Property Expert (CDPE) designation and the STAR POWER programs. The Certified Agent for Real Estate Investors (CARI) certification was developed by the Real Estate Investors Association.

Both courses provide valuable insight and information, and can help you demonstrate your real estate investment knowledge and motivation.

Working with investors is about determining their goals—whether they involve long-term holdings or short-term gains—and adopting them like they’re your own. Do this and you’re bound to see more investor leads and referrals.

Margaret Kelly, CRB, is chief executive officer of RE/MAX LLC. For more information, please visit