Should You Work with a Real Estate Agent Who is a Friend of Family Member?

by | Apr 1, 2019

If a family member or friend is a real estate agent, you may wonder whether it’s a good idea to use them for your transaction, whether you’re buying or selling. There are several points you’ll want to consider before you make that decision.

The Pros

There are several reasons why you might want to hire a real estate agent with whom you have a personal relationship. Here are just a few of them.

Real Estate Discounts are Great

A friend or family real estate agent may be able to offer you a discount. Everyone loves a discount, right? Especially when finances are a big concern in a real estate transaction because money is tight, that discount may be the difference between whether you can afford to hire a real estate agent and whether you can’t.

Trust is Important

Your realtor has the potential to make or break a deal. When you hire an agent, you put a lot of trust in them to do right by you. Who better to handle such an important transaction than someone who you trust implicitly?

The Cons

There are many potential pitfalls to hiring an agent who is a friend or family member, too. Make sure you carefully consider the following potential ramifications.

Are They Practicing or Just Licensed?

There are countless jokes about the number of people with California real estate licenses; there are almost half a million people who hold some sort of California real estate license. Not all those people are necessarily real estate professionals on a day-to-day basis. Real estate is a convenient side-gig because you can typically make your own schedule and you don’t have to invest a lot of money to get up and going.

All that said, whether your real estate friend actually works in real estate or has a license and handles occasional real estate transactions can make a big difference in whether they’re the best agent for the job. There’s a lot more to real estate than the licensing exam. Experience counts for a lot, and the more up-to-date that experience is, the better. Real estate markets are constantly shifting and the agent who can get you the best deal, even if it means paying full price, is likely one who knows your area and the market conditions well.

Are They Local?

This kind of piggybacks on the above point. If your friend or family real estate agent isn’t working often in the specific area where you’ll be buying or selling, they may not be your ideal agent. Agents who are well-versed in a neighborhood may be better options.

friends real estate

Consider the Relationship

You’ve probably heard an old adage or two about how it’s a bad idea to do business with people you’re close to. There’s a lot of money on the line in a real estate transaction and it makes for a high-stress situation. If everything goes exactly as planned, that’s great! Oftentimes, that’s not the case. These transactions can be fraught with friction, and friction is abrasive to relationships.

Trust shared between relations is nice, but any agent you hire is required by law to act in your best interest.

Are you prepared to deal with potential relationship fallout if the deal doesn’t go exactly as intended? If it’s not worth the risk to you, you’ll probably want to get a different agent. If your realtor relation doesn’t understand why you didn’t hire them, they may not be the best person to represent your interests.

Shop Around for an Agent

Even if you’ve got an agent in the family, it’s in your best interest to shop around if any of the above-named cons are a concern to you. Ask trusted advisors in the area for recommendations, check out agent reviews, and choose a real estate agent based on their track record in your area.

If paying agent’s fees is a real sticking point and the only reason you are considering hiring an agent who is a friend or family member to sell your home, know that there are other options. You could opt for a cash deal that doesn’t require an agent and where you don’t have to cover any closing costs. Feel free to contact us for a free quote!


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