Working With Investor Clients as a Real Estate Agent

Use These Tips to Improve Your Game as a Real Estate Agent for Investors

Jacqueline Kyo Thomas

Jacqueline Kyo Thomas

To be a successful real estate agent for investors, you must learn a lot about real estate investment properties. But guiding yourself and your clients through this landscape can seem daunting. Between financing options, tax obligations, property types, and market research, where do you start?

Start here with this beginner-friendly guide.

In this guide, we’ll provide you with the tips and knowledge you need to help your clients invest with confidence. From understanding their goals to managing their new property, we'll walk you through each phase of the investment journey.

Let’s get started.

Different Types of Investment Properties

We’ll start with the types of properties you’ll be working with as an agent for investor clients. To be the best advisor for your clients, you must know the different types of properties. By knowing the most common investment properties, you can help your clients make informed decisions.

Each type of property offers unique benefits and fits specific investment strategies and goals. Here's a breakdown:

Residential Properties

Single-family Homes - These are standalone houses designed for one family. Investors might be interested in single-family homes for rental income or for flipping (buying, renovating, and selling at a profit). These properties are popular due to their broad market appeal and potential for long-term value appreciation.

Multi-family Units - This category includes duplexes, triplexes, and apartment buildings. Clients might invest in multi-family units for the opportunity to generate multiple streams of rental income from a single property. Multi-family units offer a more stable cash flow compared to single-family homes.

Residential properties are generally seen as a starting point for new investors due to their simplicity and the consistent demand for housing.

Commercial Properties

Office Spaces - These properties are used exclusively for business purposes. Investors are attracted to office spaces because they have the potential to produce long-term leases with higher price tags. The value of office spaces is influenced by their location, the quality of tenants, and current market trends.

Retail Spaces - This type of property includes shops, malls, and free-standing stores. Retail properties can be appealing for their visibility and the potential for long-term leases. As they say, location is everything. The location usually plays a huge role in a retail business’ success of the retail business. It’ll be your job to find a location with good foot traffic and/or high visibility.

Industrial Properties - Warehouses, factories, and distribution centers fall into this category. These properties are often sought after for their high yield and longer lease agreements. Investors might be drawn to industrial properties for their resilience to economic fluctuations and lower maintenance costs compared to other commercial types.

Commercial and industrial properties require a higher initial investment and more knowledge of the market but can offer higher returns and more stable cash flows through long-term leases.

Special-Purpose Properties

Vacation Rentals - Properties located in tourist destinations can be rented out on a short-term basis to vacationers. These investments can offer high rental income, especially during peak seasons.

Mixed-Use Buildings - These properties combine residential, commercial, and sometimes industrial spaces in one. They offer diversification within a single investment and attract clients who are interested in a mix of steady rental income (from residential units) and potentially higher income from commercial leases.

Vacation rentals and mixed-use buildings provide diversification and can be lucrative in the right locations.

Each type of property aligns with different goals and has different levels of risk. As a real estate agent, understanding these nuances allows you to better serve your clients. You can help them select properties that match their investment strategy and financial goals.

Financing Options


For your clients, the first and perhaps the biggest challenge to investing in properties is figuring out the money part. They might not know all the different ways to finance their investment or which option is best for them. That's where you step in to help.

Traditional Mortgages

Conventional Mortgages - These are the most common type of financing for real estate purchases, and can sometimes be used for investments depending on their loan terms and the property buyer's plans for occupancy. They are offered by banks and other financial institutions. Conventional mortgages typically require a down payment of 20% of the property’s purchase price, although some programs may allow for less. Interest rates can be fixed or variable.

FHA Loans - While typically for primary residences, Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans can be used for multi-family properties (up to 4 units) so long as one of the units is owner-occupied. These loans often require a lower down payment.

Investment Property Loans

Portfolio Loans - These are loans that lenders keep in their investment portfolio rather than selling on the secondary market. They can offer more flexibility in terms but typically come with higher interest rates.

Hard Money Loans - These are short-term loans from private investors or companies. Hard money loans are often used for properties that need renovation before they can qualify for traditional financing. They have higher interest rates but can be obtained quickly and with less stringent credit requirements.

Government-Sponsored Loans

VA Loans - Available to veterans and active military members, a VA loan is a mortgage program offered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). This loan can be used for multi-family properties if the borrower intends to live in one of the units. These loans offer competitive rates and terms, including no down payment options.

Creative Financing Options

Seller Financing - In this arrangement, the seller acts as the bank. This allows the buyer to make payments directly to them under agreed-upon terms. This can be advantageous for buyers who might not qualify for traditional financing.

Lease Options - This allows a potential buyer to lease the property with an option to purchase at the end of the lease term. It can be a way to lock in a purchase price and build equity through rent payments.

Partnerships - Investing with a partner can provide additional capital and potentially improve loan qualification by combining financial resources.


Real estate crowdfunding platforms allow investors to pool their money together to invest in real estate projects. This option offers access to real estate investments with relatively small amounts of capital. But be wary as a real estate agent: your license lets you broker the sale and purchase of real estate, not deal in specialized areas of finance. Stick to the investment property purchase itself, and let your client and their advisors deal with any crowdfunding or specialized deal structures.

Be Thoughtful About Financing

When talking to an investor client about a property purchase, you must consider their investment goals, risk tolerance, and the specific property they’re interested in. It’s crucial to remind them of the importance of due diligence and to have them consult with the appropriate financial and legal experts to explore the best financing options for their unique needs.

Understand Your Client's Goals and Expectations


To effectively guide your clients through the investment property maze, you’ll need to know their goals. What are they looking for and why? The why can help you advise them to consider properties they may not have considered previously. You’re the real estate professional, and your clients depend on your expertise to guide them.

So, how do you get this ball rolling? First up, set up a detailed meeting. Take this opportunity to deep dive into your client's goals and parameters. You'll want to cover everything from their budget and how much they're willing to spend on an investment, to their comfort with risks and how involved they want to be in managing a property.

It's also your chance to walk them through the different flavors of investment properties currently available on the market. You may even have to educate your clients on the properties that match their goals. Don’t shy away from offering your professional opinion because it could make all the difference in their success. And if your client seems in over their head, don't hesitate to suggest they take a pause to learn more about investing before moving forward.

Market research is your friend. Be sure that you know the numbers for the properties that you specialize in, whether that’s multi-home, retail, industrial, or a unique mix.

How to Find the Right Real Estate Niche

Be sure you know the answers to the following questions:

Is the inventory increasing with new developments? Are there any new job opportunities that might drive demand? What are the top amenities in a building or area that might attract renters? These factors can make a big difference in the success of any investment property.

Don't forget to analyze the numbers too. You’ll need to know these numbers inside and out so that you can help your clients calculate potential rental income, and consider property taxes, insurance costs, and maintenance expenses. It's all about finding that sweet spot where the investment makes financial sense.

Also, encourage your clients to think about the long term. Real estate isn't a quick investment for most investors. It's about steady growth, adapting strategies, and sometimes even weathering market downturns. With your guidance, your clients can learn to identify properties that not only fit their current goals but also have the potential to adapt to their evolving investment strategies.

By breaking down these initial steps into understandable and actionable parts, you're not just helping your clients buy properties. You're teaching them how to think like investors, setting them up for success in the real estate market.

The Basics of Property Management

Some investors prefer to manage their properties to save on costs, while others opt for a property management company to handle day-to-day operations. You can potentially provide that service for your clients depending on your state's licensing requirements, and pull in an extra (steady) income from doing so. It’s pretty common for real estate agents to also work as property managers.

This dual role can offer a seamless experience for your clients who want to rent out properties. By handling both the sale and ongoing management of a property, you provide a one-stop-shop service that can be very attractive to investors, particularly those who are new to real estate investing or who prefer a hands-off approach.

So here’s how to do it effectively:

Communicate Well - Good property management starts with good communication. You'll be the first call for both sides. This includes everything from handling maintenance requests to dealing with late rent. Being clear and prompt in your communication can prevent small issues from turning into big headaches.

Stay on Top of Maintenance - Keeping the property in great condition is good for everyone involved. It makes the tenants happy and preserves the property's value which makes the owners happy.

Finding the Right Tenants - A good tenant is worth their weight in gold, and important to take care of. Set and document objective criteria for rental applicants with your client ahead of time, and screen applicants carefully in accordance with your pre-determined criteria.

Keep the Finances in Order - Part of your job is to make sure rent is paid on time and to keep track of any expenses. This might not be the most glamorous part of the job, but it's crucial for keeping everything running smoothly.

Be Ready for Anything - Sometimes, property management can throw you a curveball. Be prepared for emergencies because they will happen.

Offering property management services isn't just about taking care of buildings; it's about taking care of people and their homes. It's a role that requires a mix of people skills, practical know-how, and a cool head, but get it right, and you're not just a great agent – you're a lifeline.

Final Thoughts

When you work as a real estate investment agent, you’re not just selling properties. You’re also a trusted advisor. Whether it’s understanding the market's ins and outs, identifying properties with potential, or advising clients on how to maximize their returns, your role is to help clients make informed decisions. Use the above tips to be a successful agent in the real estate investment space.

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