It is important to know your market.
To have a strong grasp of the market look at the demographics and the sales comparables for the last 6 months. These are not always easy to obtain. An experienced agent in Commercial Income Property sales should be able to provide these comparables within a day. If the agent is not able to provide this information quickly then it is a good sign that you should be working with a more experienced agent to handle your investment.
Experience is important in income property investing. Experience is not found in the books! There are experienced agents in every major marketplace at the big firms. However, depending on how big of a purchase you are looking to make they may not service your needs. If you experience this issue, spend time poking around and try and find an assistant or junior agent at an experienced firm to assist you. The other option that is equally as good is to find a boutique agent who knows the market well and previously worked at one of the major firms. This is your investment, we are dealing with real estate, so no matter how you cut it, there are going to be a lot of eggs in one basket. It is well documented that in all types of private equity investing, in which income property investing is a sub group, that the quality of the advisor is directly proportional to the success of the investment.
Some information about the consultant who answered this question...
Degrees: BS Financial Economics with an emphasis in Accounting, University of California
MBA Finance, University of California
Alumni: Ernst & Young (Big 4 Accounting Firm)
Marcus & Millichap (National Income Property Investment Brokerage House)
Coldwell Banker Commercial (National Commercial Brokerage House)
Current: KW Commercial in La Jolla
Jun 1, 2012