If you are new to rental property investing, the first person you will need on your team is a real estate agent. A good real estate agent is the most important person on your team because he/she will be the one that:
It makes you aware of what rental properties are available for sale and coordinates the showings.
It helps educate you on the details of the business as it relates to the local market (the best streets in the neighborhood, advice for handling tenants, etc.).
Provides referrals of professionals you will need as your investment activity progresses.
Coordinates the buy & sell transactions, including all negotiating, closing requirements, and associated documentation.
Requirements of a Good Rental Property Agent
You'll want an agent that specializes in investment properties because this segment of the market is dramatically different than the primary residence segment. First and foremost, the negotiating strategy is different. For example, investors are generally more patient than homeowners in terms of waiting for the best offer, as they are bringing in rental income.
Therefore, the sense of urgency is lower than for someone who, for example, must sell his home due to job relocation. Similarly, much of the emotional element of the transaction is eliminated when buying or selling a rental property, because in these cases the numbers are king.
Additionally, you'll find that an agent who specializes in rental properties tends to have access to "hidden" listings, as their selling clients are also likely to be investors, and it's in the best interest of the agent to have both the buyer and seller of the transaction by his/her clients in order to maximize his/her commission.