The way I have found good agents is thusly:
Do you know other investors in your area? I would start by asking them for referrals. If you get some referreals, then call and meet with those agents. Only meet with people who are knowledgable about investor-buyers as we are different from owner occ. buyers.
Do try to work with the actual broker if you can. This is what I do in 2 different markets, and one agent specializes in investor properties, the other has a property management arm of her brokerage and is a LL herself (so she REALLY gets LLing). And no she doesn't gobble up every great rental property. . . .she is actually slowly starting to sell hers off, she's been in business over 30 years.
Right now I am selling my own residence. I decided to use a different agent for that, because of the differences in the types of buyers that I was looking for versus what my buyer broker for investment property looks for in a deal. The agent I have understands me and has stayed out of the way. Our buyers have been in touch with us regularly and directly. Many agents would not like this, buyer's or seller's, but we have 2 good agents on the sale, who get it.
You want someone who will give you enough freedom and flexibility to locate and purchase the sort of property you want, and one who has enough patience to let you find the property, even if you gotta look at 100 or so. You want someone who will respect what you already know, answer the questions you need answered and keep their ego in check and your interests at heart. Tall order, absolutely.
You old agent was probably like this. Interview and find someone like him. They ARE out there. One idea too is to call up some of the local small lenders and ask for a VP or senior officer (someone with seniority or long tenure in a local community bank.) Ask them for referrals. Call several small community banks/credit unions in your area and ask the same questions and get referrals. Someone good and long term reputable will be known in the community. A few names will pop up repeatedly. Interview those people.
Also ask what brokerage the smaller banks use to dispose of REOs. Generally they will farm out the REOs to one or two brokerages depending on volume, and will have a good relationship with those brokers.
This can have several benefits, obviously. I would not bother with this approach with the big national banks. You'll never get anyone there that is helpful or they may be plenty helpful but have no authority to decide or tell you anything.
Community banks and credit unions are better places to look for institutional references/referrals.
They will use the best people because they care about keeping their books up better than the big banks, even if they tell you they have no REOs, ask who they use if they were to have one.
As you are finding, you really need someone who "gets" an experienced LL. Your buying needs and criteria are different than the owner occ. buyer. You are totally correct to want to find someone who understands that and is willing to meet your needs. That's it in a nutshell. Interview until you find someone who can meet YOUR needs and not the other way around!! --69.148.xx.xx