As a real estate agent, I have come across people who both want to buy a home to live in, as well as buy a home to rent out. Both of these clients are interesting to work with, as they have their own quirks that set them apart from the other. If you’re a new agent, you should make sure to keep in mind the differences between how investors shop and how homeowners shop.


The first thing that will set an investor apart is their price range. While some investors may be in the market for a move-in ready house, there are also tons of investors who are willing to put effort into renovations — big or small. They may want to flip the house, or they want to turn a multi-level home into a multi-family residence. You shouldn’t be afraid of taking investors to homes that need work, but make sure you know what their plans are so you can choose homes that are viable.

The second difference is aesthetics. Investors don’t care at all about the aesthetics of a home. As a landlord, you can change the wall colors and have them stay that way, or tear up the flooring and replace it. While homeowners can do the same, they are more likely to be emotionally attached to whatever happens, while landlords are less particular. You can easily find an investor willing to work with lime green walls and bright orange carpet.

The third (and possibly largest) difference is how much veteran investors know about the process. Chances are, most will not work with an agent, as they have enough knowledge to navigate through a sale. However, if you do work with one, you must be on your A-game and double-check everything to make sure it is correct. The worst thing you could do is seem less knowledgeable than your client.


Homeowners, on the other hand, are more likely to be particular about their property on the whole. They will care about their yard, and the maintenance needed to keep it looking good, the aesthetics, staging, and every other aspect of a house. You also can expect to have to hold your buyer’s hand a lot more than you would if they were investors. Even people who have bought a home before will still have questions or not fully understand the process. Finally, expect a more tight price range from a homeowner than an investor. Chances are, they will not be able to budge upward, and they may not have the know-how to buy a property that needs work.

When selling a home, you should always know your client completely. Understanding the differences between different people and their plans is crucial to making a sale. Although you may see some overlap or people who do not fit into these molds, newer agents can expect to see these differences throughout their time selling houses.