If you have a friend or family member involved in real estate you probably are encouraged to call them for any of your real estate needs. This is not uncommon. Real estate agents aren’t trying to be pushy, but many of them are encouraged to sell as much as possible and they are told to focus on the people they know, friends and family first, because they can be some of their first, or best, clients. This isn’t necessarily bad. In fact, it could be a quite good thing for you. If you have a close personal relationship with your realtor, there is little doubt that you’ll end up getting first class service. They are going to take great care of you.
That being said, you should not feel obligated to use your friends or family that are realtors just because they are someone you know. The facts are that not all realtors are good at their jobs. Going further, every realtor isn’t right for every homebuyer. It’s up to you to find the right realtor to fill your needs, whether they are a part of your inner circle, or not.
It’s important to remember, and we can sometimes forget when family is involved, that your realtor is working for you. They are providing a service and you have the right to hire the realtor you think can fill your needs. You also have the right to release them from the job if they are unable to do what you need them to do. There are so many potential problems that can occur in real estate that I always tell people, it’s up to you to pick the person that you absolutely think is the right realtor for the job. The right realtor is going to benefit you in ways that you’ll never understand or appreciate – unless you end up with the wrong one.
Real estate transactions are far more complex than just picking a home, settling on a price, and buying the home. With the right realtor it can feel that simple, but there are a lot of things going on behind the scenes that your realtor deals with for you, so you don’t have to.
This is why it’s important to choose your realtor because you believe you’re making the best choice. If you choose to go with a friend or family member as your realtor, whether it’s out of obligation or not, here are a few things you need to consider.
HOW WILL YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION BE HANDLED?
If your realtor is a friend of your family, it’s highly possible that they will inadvertently share details of your real estate dealings with people in your circle, friends or family, that you possibly didn’t want to know the specifics of your deal. This may or may not be a big deal to you, but your realtor should keep your deals between you and them. If your realtor is friendly with your family or you’re in the same circle of friends, they may talk about your business in a casual way. They probably aren’t meaning to cause any harm, but it is something that wouldn’t happen if your realtor was an impartial party separate from other areas of your life.
Your realtor should not share your personal information with anyone. Even if your realtor is your sister, it’s important to understand that your realtor should not act without your permission and they should never speak for or about you. Unfortunately, with a relative or a friend, this happens more often. This is why before you hire someone that you know or that has been referred to you, ensure that this will not happen, and get their assurance that they will not speak openly about you or on your behalf without speaking to you first.
IS YOUR AGENT BEING COMPLETELY HONEST WITH YOU?
Real estate is filled with hard choices and it is the job of the realtor to be completely honest with you and tell you all of those uncomfortable things to avoid additional problems down the road. You need to be properly informed in all matters whether you are buying or selling a home. If you’re working with an agent that knows you well, they might be more hesitant to have these tough discussions with you, out of fear of offending you or hurting your feelings. It is one of the biggest dangers of working with friends or family. These are the people that are going to be more inclined to soften the conversation when you need someone to be real and completely honest.
There are going to be several things that you need to accomplish during a real estate transaction. If your agent is not willing to let you in on all the things you need to do, and all of the details, no matter how hard they may be to handle on your own, the process will be a lot harder and more confusing for you. This will cause the transaction to be so much more stressful than it needs to be. In some cases, if the realtor is particularly uncommunicative it could even cause your transaction to fall apart.
You need to make sure when you’re hiring a real estate agent that if they are someone you know or are someone who was referred to you, that they will treat you like they would any other client. Hearing the hard truths, no matter what they are, is more important to you than the agent being nice to you. In the end, you’ll be thankful they were hard on you because it will get the transaction completed in the easiest way possible, and it will mean less stress for you!
WHAT LEGAL ISSUES ARISE FROM HIRING YOUR FAMILY OR FRIENDS?
Legal issues certainly come into play quite a bit when you’re buying a home. Realtors have plenty of legal rules they need to follow. It’s important that your realtor understands these rules and understands whether any of them need to be paid special attention to, if they are representing you and your interests. For example, if your agent is related to you, they may need to disclose that to the other party you’re doing business with. This depends on what state you are located in. Your realtor should know the specific laws and what they need to report. If they don’t, you’d be better off seeking another realtor.
You have every right to ask your realtor if they have ever been involved in any legal issues in relation to their job. If legal issues come up with your transaction, your real estate agent should be well-versed in how to handle them. They should be able to do this without trying to ease you through the situation or without offering their opinions on how to deal with the matter. They should give you a professional understanding of the issue and you should be left to deal with it based on their proper guidance. Your agent needs to be objective and it can be hard for family members to be objective with family. Your realtor is your advisor. If you need legal counsel they should advise you to obtain a lawyer, if that will make the situation easier. The point is, you need someone that will handle the toughest issues in the manner they would for any stranger they were to represent.
You need a realtor that is willing to behave like they would with any other client, whether they know them or not. You also need someone that knows the law, is good at their job, and will put you first without sugar-coating the situation. Maybe this is a friend or family member and maybe it’s not, but when it comes to buying or selling a home you need to be able to make the hard choices, and the ones that are best for you, whatever those may be.
If you want a comfortable real estate experience with a knowledgeable agent it is up to you to do the research necessary to find that agent. Don’t just go with a friend, family member, or referral because that’s the easy route. The easiest way isn’t always the best way. It’s up to you to get on the Internet and research the realtors in your area. Who has the best reviews and a great web presence? Find a selection of realtors that impress you and contact them. Ask them questions about how they handle their transactions, and about how they market themselves. Think of this as kind of like a job interview. If they are able to sell themselves and convince you to work with them, they are worth giving a shot. It’s up to you to find the agent with the highest skill level, and best reputation, to make your experience a memorable one.
If you have any questions about buying or selling real estate, I am always available to answer your questions. I know real estate can be tricky, but we will find the answers you need in the easiest way possible! Feel free to Contact Me with any help that you need whether you’re buying or selling a home.