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Should I Use My Friend or Family Member as My Realtor?

How do you choose the right Realtor when you personally know several in your area?

Updated September 27, 2020

A great tool to learn more about your Friend or Family member’s real estate expertise is to GOOGLE THEM before working with them. Click HERE for tips on how to research an agent.

While your personal relationship might seem like an important qualification, if your agent doesn’t have the other key attributes you need, you’re not doing yourself any favors. A track record of actual results creates experience that is most valuable when it comes to protecting your interests. Rave reviews from previous clients (who are not relatives of the agent) confirms you will be treated like a valuable client.

Perhaps most important is the ability to assess your situation in an impartial manner to get the real advice you need to make the right decisions along each step of the path. A good Realtor® is like having your own personal trail guide. Someone you can trust with your most pressing questions and biggest decisions, guiding you safely during your real estate move.

In today’s digital first, fast paced and ever-changing real estate world, it is more important than ever for an agent to offer strategic advice, including risk avoidance and know how to optimize negotiations to benefit you.

Additionally, it is important that your agent is truly experienced in representing buyers and sellers. The quick articles have key tips for selecting the right person:

  • How to Choose a Listing Agent: Click HERE
  • How to Choose a Buyer’s Agent: Click HERE

Key questions to ask before working with friends or family:

  • Do I want to mix business with friendship or family?
  • What if things don’t go well? Could it harm the relationship?
  • What are their credentials and track record?
  • If they weren’t family or friends, would you still hire them?
  • What do their online reviews on Zillow or Facebook say about them?
  • Am I comfortable with them knowing the details of my financial situation?
  • Are they a new agent? If so, do I want them to practice on my life transition?
  • How professional is their website and marketing presence?
  • Are they full time, with a team to support them when they are sick or on vacation?
  • Do they have a strong track record of negotiating deals and handling all the moving parts involved in a real estate transaction?

If any of these questions gave you pause, then you should at least get a second opinion from a local professional agent. You likely will not be making these huge life transitions often and you don’t want to risk any of the details causing problems.

How to let them down easy

Often your initial gut feeling is confirmed when you realize the relative or friend is not a good fit for you. We have found the best way to handle this is to explain that you’ve found a top performer in the area and that you really want to go with the most experienced specialist available. You could also explain that you don’t want to risk the relationship on such a meaningful transaction in life. If they are a true friend or caring relative, they will understand and support your decision.

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