A good real estate team is the way to assure your investing success. Failure increases when you tend to be a “lone wolf” and try to do too much by yourself.
In real estate, you need a good team of people you can trust and rely on. Here are some possible team members, and why they need to be on your team.
Mortgage broker or banker: A broker can offer you many loan options and shop your mortgage to find the best deal that meets your needs. A mortgage banker may be limited in the loan options they can offer you but they can make more decisions on your loan than a broker can. They each have their advantages and you should have both on your team. In either case, it's important that they understand your needs (i.e. fast closing, low interest, concession approval, etc.)
Property manager: Be sure that the company you hire has experience, is responsive, and will have time for you when you call. Good property managers can tell you what you should get for rent in a given area BEFORE you buy. Your property manager is one of your most important team members. Your real estate investments live and die by them.
Good real estate agent: An agent with experience in the area you invest in and access to the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) can be a great help. Even if they are a seller's agent, they can still ethically bring you the best deals once they know you're a serious investor.
Real estate investment firm: In addition to a real estate agent, you should work with a good real estate investment firm. These companies offer pre-screened investment properties in growth markets around the country.
Accountant or bookkeeper: Keeping proper books for all your real estate investments is getting more complicated with the ongoing tax-law changes. Find someone that understands tax-law in order to maximize your deductions.
Real estate attorney: Find someone familiar with the laws and legal customs of your investment area and has experience with the type of deals you intend to do.
Appraiser: A good appraiser can give you an accurate valuation of a property, but they can also suggest ways in which you can most efficiently raise the value of a property. Find someone that is willing to advice you.
Inspector: Some states make it too easy to become an inspector with little experience. You may want to find one that is or used to be a contractor so they can find any problems AND give you some idea of the cost of repairs.
Insurance agent: Good ones will understand what you need, and find ways to save you money. If you insure all your properties with one agent, you're likely to have discounts available, as well as better service.
Escrow officer: Find someone that's efficient and can explain things clearly to both parties. If they are confused by a slightly creative contract, they should educate easily or be replaced.
Cleaning person or crew: having a trusted person or crew ready means a fast turn-around when you buy a rental property or rehab project. Most good property managers will have cleaning crews at their disposal.
Investing in real estate is a lot less stressful and certainly more profitable when you have a good real estate team behind you.