The spring real estate market is in full force.  Buyers are swarming open houses and sellers are reaping the benefits.  And maybe you want to jump into the market either as a home buyer or home seller.  Maybe you have a best friend or a family member who is an agent that you are thinking of calling.

It begs the question, should you hire a friend or family member as your real estate agent?

Picking up the phone and calling that friend or aunt that is in the real estate business may be the easiest route to take.

But there may be reasons it is not a good idea to hire a friend or family member as your agent.

They Will Know Your Business 

Do you want someone you know who is in some of the circles you are in to know your business?

Buying or selling a home can involve personal information you may not want others to know.  You could be having financial troubles that are forcing a sale, going through a divorce, your credit score may not be the best or you will be revealing how much money you have in the bank or how much money you made on the sale of your home.

Whatever the circumstances are your real estate agent can have access to some pretty sensitive information. 

They Might Not Be Local

Just because your friend holds a real estate license does not mean they are the best person for the job.  Often a buyer or seller will hire a friend or family member as their agent from way outside the area. 

Real Estate is very local and you want an agent that knows what is going on locally.  Or an agent that knows school systems or can help you choose the best neighborhood for your family.

It is best to hire an agent that has knowledge of your local real estate market.  On top of it if they are an hour and a half away can they really give you the time you need?

They Might Not Have The Expertise

First and foremost you want an agent that is experienced.  Maybe your cousin Johnny just got his license and you're his first client.  Or Aunt Mary hasn't listed a home in five years but she is willing to do it for you. Or your friend is just part-time in the business.  If you are a first time home buyer, you definitely need an agent with the experience to guide you through the process.

Real estate is dynamic.  How I did business 5 years ago is very different than how I do it today. And experience matters you want an agent who actively engages in real estate full-time every day. 

Also, you may be looking for something in a specialized niche like the sale of land.  That requires a specific knowledge that not every agent will handle.  Just because a person holds a real estate license it does not mean they are skilled in all aspects of real estate.

Buying And Selling Can Be Emotionally Charged

If you are buying or selling a home, you have a lot at stake.  Not only financially but this is your home. Tensions and emotions can certainly run high. And when that happens it can put a strain on any client/ agent relationship. 

Do you want to put a strain on your relationship with your friend or relative? Remember you relationship extends past just a business relationship. It is easier to end that real estate relationship with someone you don't know than a close friend or relative.

What if things go bad?  Will it destroy a good relationship?

Will You Be Willing To End The Client Relationship?

What if things aren't working out as you expected, will you be able to end the working relationship?

As I already pointed put you have a lot of money at stake and emotions can run high and buying or selling a home can be challenging at times.  If the agency relationship isn't working for you will you be willing to either give honest input on how it needs to change or end the relationship?

It may be harder than you think when a friend or relative is involved for you to be upfront and honest. You may not want to hurt their feelings. You need to decide if the familial relationship can survive the business relationship if things aren't going so well.

Relationships Extend Past Just The Person

If things do get strained with your relative or friend during the transaction, remember if they are close, that relationship can sometimes have blurred lines with other family members or your circle of friends.

And, it goes both ways it's not just your friend or relative. 

But you could share your frustration with your mom and it gets back to Aunt Kathy who is agent Johnny's mother.  Feelings get hurt, people get defensive...Next thing you know you have a family feud going on!! 

Won't Christmas at grandma's be fun!

Objectivity May Get Lost

One reason you work with an agent to represent you is to have an objective opinion.  A real estate agent that doesn't know you personally and is not emotionally invested in the outcome can step back and look at your situation objectively and give you an honest opinion.

Someone who knows you well may get caught up in the process with you and not maintain objectivity.  Or worse yet Aunt Mary may think she knows what you want or needs better than you do!! 

Of course, you want an agent that acts in your best interest.  But will that family friend or family member be willing to tell you, you have unrealistic expectations?  Or you need to clean up your yard and mow the lawn if you want to sell your home?

Sometimes representing a client's best interest includes giving them some harsh realities.

A friend or family member who knows you well can inadvertently bring a biased perspective into the buying or selling process.  Or could be afraid to hurt your feelings with the truth.

So Should Your Hire A Friend Or Family Member As Your REALTOR?

Whether you decide to hire a relative or friend as your real estate agent is a personal decision.  There is no right or wrong decision.

Carefully consider whether hiring a friend as your real estate agent is the best move.  Make sure your relationship can survive a business transaction

Before pulling the trigger on hiring any agent it will be in your best interest to interview several agents to get an idea of their experience and what you should expect.  You have too much at stake to hire just anyone.  In the end, you may decide that your friend may be the best person for the job.  And that's ok.

If you do decide to work with a friend or family member as your agent, sit down and discuss what is expected and lay out how the business relationship will work.  My last bit of advice is to agree to have an exit strategy if the business relationship is not working as planned.


Should You Use A Relative or Friend As Your Real Estate Agent? is provided by Kevin Vitali of EXIT Realty.

Kevin provides Real Estate Services in the following areas: Northeast Massachusetts, Merrimack Valley, North Shore and Metrowest including the following communities and the surrounding area including Amesbury, Andover, Billerica, Burlington, Chelmsford, Dracut. Georgetown, Groveland, Haverhill, Lawrence, Littleton, Lowell, Melrose, Merrimac, Methuen, Middleton, Newbury, Newburyport, North Andover, North Reading, Reading, Salisbury, Stoneham, Tewksbury, Tyngsborough, Wakefield, West Newbury, Westford