YPN Breakfast Panel: Working With Investors | Chicago Association of REALTORS®

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Our April YPN Breakfast Working With Investors – delved into the investment sphere. Some of the topics our panelists discussed included how to stand out to investors, leverage your personal, social media and professional networks, and utilize available resources.


This month’s panelists included:

  • Antje Gehrken, A.R.E. Partners
  • Kevin Rocio, @properties
  • Meghan McCallum, McCallum Holdings

“The average buyer and seller [has a transaction] every five to seven years,” moderator Mo Dadkhah, Main Street Real Estate Group, said. “The average investor buys every 18 months. Most people are fearful of working with investors because they just don’t know how to do it.”

Don’t Ignore Facebook and Instagram

McCallum said networking is obviously important, but she spends more time on social networking. “I’m on Instagram,” she said. “I’m on Facebook. And if you’re not on Instagram or Facebook, I’m never going to see you.”

Likewise, Gehrken said she’s sent deals, such as a historical home coming on the market very soon, that she passes along to her network. “That’s where the investors are,” she said. “That’s what they’re all using. I get sent deals all the time from there.”

Create Business-only Social Accounts

McCallum said Facebook and Instagram can work together to share posts, but you should maintain separate accounts for business and personal. She said personal accounts have a different audience than a professional account. “I don’t want to see your baby pictures, your kids,” she said. “I put all of mine on there because they’re cute, but I don’t want to see everyone else’s.

Become a specialist on LinkedIn

Rocio said nearly all of his international clients have come from LinkedIn. “If you follow me on LinkedIn, you would understand why someone from another country is reaching out on a daily basis,” he said.

“I decided I wanted to be a specialist on LinkedIn for investment sales. And while everyone else was posting ‘Just closed. Just closed. Just closed’ you don’t see me posting ‘Just closed.'” Instead, he posts new listings and information about properties that is useful to international clients. But he’s never “selling.”

Ask For Help Online

Using the front camera on your phone and shooting a video for Facebook or Instagram can be effective when reaching out for something online. “Everyone likes to be a connector,” McCallum said. “Don’t know why it’s just weird. But everyone wants to help you do whatever you want to achieve. So if you want to find off-market deals, say ‘I’m looking for off-market deals.’ Don’t be afraid to put your face out there.”

Be Authentic Online and Off

“We all have a bad history of keeping seven-year-old photos on our business cards,” McCallum said. “And when you show up places, people are like ‘Who are you? Where is this person?'”

REALTORS® are the product they provide. “I don’t want to know that you’re the best agent,” she said. “I don’t care. But what are you to me? The personalization of your business is what’s going to carry you forward.”

She said showing that you own your flaws, especially online, can build relationships with investors. “Make mistakes, tell people you do that,” She said. “That authenticity, that vulnerability, will get you deals and partnerships faster than anything else I can give.”

Investors Have Different Needs

An investor’s needs are highly personalized. “You have to talk to your investors, see what their objectives are, and see what makes sense,” Gehrken said. “You can’t invest in a vacuum; it’s the same with working with a homebuyer.”

McCallum said everyone is looking for multi-family units.

“Multi-family are flying off the shelves,” McCallum said. “The investors are door-knocking. “You’re not going to be getting them as listings. Because the investors are already going to be getting what they need.”

McCallum said becoming an investor is a great way to learn what a good deal looks like to an investor. And the best way to meet investors is to go where they are, she said.

“Most [investors] don’t have access to the MLS,” McCallum said. “You guys have a huge upside to investors. You want to meet investors? Add value. Adding value to investors is how you’re going to build long-term relationships.

Rocio said it’s key to know when to help and when to refer. He does a lot of work in South Shore but was contacted by a Los Angeles-based investor who wanted to sell an apartment building in Englewood.

So he referred the client to another REALTOR®, who was able to close the deal, he said.

Engage Friends

Dadkhah said he’s converted many of his friends from the stock market into real estate investors. “I’ll ask them, ‘What kind of return are you getting?…And I’ll say, ”Why don’t you think about real estate? Real estate is a safer investment. You’ve got principal pay down. You have appreciation. You get cash on cash return. So, your sphere of influence, when you’re talking in general, mention real estate to them. I’ve converted so many. It’s far safer than Bitcoin.”

Use Online Resources

McCallum said BiggerPockets.com, an online real estate investing social network, is a useful space for those looking to breaking into the Chicago real estate investment market to network and get some of their questions answered.

Rocio pointed to LoopNet.com, an online commercial real estate marketplace, as a useful tool to find deals.

Join us on May 30 for our next YPN Breakfast – New & Efficient Technology!