There may be a proliferation of property portals online selling and letting out properties, but the estate agent is still the person nine times out of ten that you have deal with in order to get through to the seller. That’s why building up good relations with a handful of local estate agents in your chosen location is crucial for success.

But how do you do that? Well, in order for an estate agent to take you seriously as a sourcer, you have to first prove you’re not a timewaster (you’d be surprised just how many of these they do meet).

You can do this by being upfront from the get-go. Tell the agent who you are and why you’re there. Prove to them you have investors lined up and who have the finance available, should a good deal arise. And when that deal does materialise, act fast and professional. In other words, don’t leave the estate agent wondering what’s going on, but keep him or her regularly informed as to the action you plan on taking next on your client’s behalf.

An estate agent, after all, wants someone he or she can work with in a professional capacity, and who isn’t going to let them down at the last moment.

The business relationship can also be a win-win, of course. The estate agent is looking for buyers and has the properties. You, on the other hand, have the buyers and need the properties. It almost sounds like a match in heaven…

How to get the most from your estate agent contacts

Keep in touch regularly with the estate agents you plan on building good relationships with. That means ringing round maybe twice or three times a week and asking to view particular properties that appear promising. By going to a viewing, you don’t just get a chance to meet the estate agent face-to-face, but after several viewings, they will also get a good idea of exactly the type of thing you’re looking for.

This also means that if a property does come in that fits your criteria, they may get to the stage where they will ring you first before advertising it publicly. This is more likely if you can put yourself – and your client – forward as a cash buyer. And, of course, paying in cash means you can also feel righteous about asking for a cash discount.

Another good reason for building up that relationship is that estate agents, if they’ve been with the company long enough, will know the history of particular locations. They’ll probably also have their own local authority contacts and may find out sooner than most – because they are in the sector – when an area could be earmarked for regeneration.

The secret to any good relationship is to treat each other with respect. That doesn’t just mean keeping the estate agent informed and coming up with the money when you say you will, but also by making serious offers. Going ridiculously low with an offer will just annoy everyone.