How to build a good relationship with your agent: 8 tips

09/04/2024 | Originally published 18/02/2020

Through building a strong relationship with agents, we have bought multiple deals through the same agent. This is not a coincidence: it is down to relationship building, trust and having a proven track record.

It is especially true for commercial agents (but also applicable to residential), that if you buy just one property from them, you could be their biggest client that year. Not many agents sell more than one property to one person within a year. This article is intended to help buyers organically grow a good business relationship with an agent.

By a means of introduction, I am Jack Jiggens, the director of a South England-based SME property development company. We pride our work on being agile, creative and of high quality. XP really value our investors, partners, services and agents, and like to take a well-rounded approach to the modern-day of development. We like acquiring, planning and developing sites, and are currently developing £14m of value in property. Below are 8 key points that have helped our business and relationship with both commercial and residential agents over the past 6 years.

1. Work with the agent

An agent wants to make a sale. You as a buyer, want to make a purchase. Sounds like a match made in heaven. I constantly see developers chasing marketed properties but not building that relationship.

The agent is more important than one deal (unless they have terrible deal flow or selling a site outside of their area). They will find it easier the shorter list of buyers they have, and if you can make it shorter for them by being a reliable and useful contact, they will thank you.

So take the time to work with them – they could be the best source of your deals and they expect no ‘finders fee’ or ‘salary’. Spend the time upfront building that foundation with the hope it will save you time and money in the future of your business. 

2. Make Regular Contact

The agent’s job is to sell property. Not to always think of you when selling. To ensure you get a sighting on mostly everything, even prior to it coming on the market, you must be consistent. XP are always looking to buy, we find this key to keep the ball rolling especially for the classically sporadic development world. If you are overwhelmed with purchasing/ projects, make sure you still maintain the agent relationship, you may know someone who is interested in the site if it’s not the right time for you. For example, we have sold on two development sites this year to create a win-win situation for the agent, another buyer and XP.

3. Give The Agent Your Criteria And Know What You Do

This point is key to help build your relationship with agents. It’s a simple one. Short and sweet, if you cannot explain what you do, or your needs and requirements, how will the agent know? Keep it simple but most importantly make sure they know exactly what you want.

This is more applicable for Residential agents as we all get the call… Sometimes weekly… ‘Hello, just a common courtesy call to see if you are still looking’. At XP, we have a three-page criteria brochure, cover page, purchasing criteria and contact details (available as a free template here!)

It is simple, agents normally share internally and everyone goes away with a clearer understanding – not to mention, this is also fairly unique, and sets you aside from other buyers!

4. Provide Feedback And Be Honest

If it doesn’t work for you tell them why.

Overpriced? Tell them. If you think a buyer (like a family or owner occupier) could pay more than you, tell them.

But, always let the agent know on what terms or what price it does work for you. Often I share a stack summary with the agent and how I arrived at the price or terms I did. On a rare occasion, one of us has missed something which is constructive, but also, they again understand further how deals look through your eyes.  

5. Always Bid. Do Not Be Embarrassed!

We have a rule, no matter what the agent says or what the vendor wants, there will be a point where the property/ deal will work for you. Make sure that is tabled.

I have been taught by a mentor of mine, there are only two variables on negotiation for ANY Property: money and terms. If they want top money, they need to negotiate the terms, if they want preferred terms, pay less money.

This ensures the agent understands your way of thinking, but also reserves the deal if circumstances should change. Put it in your ‘offered’ stack and keep an eye on it. 30% of deals fall through before exchange, that means 30% of properties you have offered on have come back to the market. You need to be first in line and the only reaching out the agent needs to do then. 

6. Spend Time With Them: It Doesn’t Always Have To Be Social

I see people on stage at events telling everyone that they buy agents chocolates, beer and champagne. Then attendees go out and do the same.

This is all well and good but in reality, agents are not motivated by any of the mentioned. Yes, it is a nice gesture, but the agents I have met are more interested in honesty, integrity and committed people who do what they say they will do. That could merely be actions like following up, introductions and even as simple as emailing back. They are motivated by the transaction.

Spend time with the agent, discuss what is selling, what you’ve bought and what you’ve viewed and personal stuff also if you wish. Most importantly do not force anything too hard just treat them normally. It’s not rocket science but I see a lot of forced false stuff for social media and it makes me cringe. 

7. Relationship With Agents Through Emails AND Texts AND Phone Calls

One key lesson I learnt from my sales career, is having more than one point of contact for someone will flourish a relationship much much quicker.

If you can speak to them on multiple platforms, such as emails, calls and texts… Do. You would be amazed: if an agent is on a viewing and has two missed calls but yours was also followed up by a text, you are who that agent will call first. Some people prefer texting rather than calls or vice-versa, so I always try and ensure I have a complete circle of communication of anyone I would like to do more business with. I have an agent contact who texts me images of particulars prior to being launched on Rightmove or their website. Try it, it works. 

8. Make A List Of All The Agents And Regions They Cover

Back when I started out in property full time I made an excel sheet titled ‘contacts’, this then developed into a form of CRM. The contacts sheet included a tab for agents, Personal names (especially residential agents have high staff turnover), companies, contact details, commercial or Resi and geographical coverage.

This is beneficial in two ways. It provides a contact list you can routinely rattle through when deals are low. Enables you to locate contacts in the right sector and geography. Nothing better than calling an agent, letting them know you are bidding on a nice site in their area and value their opinion on the market… A simple way to grow that network and make sure you have no blind spots or miss any opportunities. 

I really hope you have taken some value away with you from this article. Whether we’ve never spoken before or you know me well, I would love for this article to be a conversation starter – so please reach out if this has sparked your interest!

We have many exciting projects coming up and I am all for sharing.

Remember, with regards to agents: if you buy 1 property off them, you might be their biggest customer… keep the momentum going.

Want to learn more?

We discuss this topic LIVE and in more detail in the YouTube video below. We record live sessions like this one every Friday, so make sure you tune in to the next one!