Much of this material is taken from our previous blog on why Buyers should not hire a friend or family member as their Buyer’s Agent. To see that post, click here. The material here has been modified to apply more to Sellers than to Buyers.
Real estate agents work hard to get clients. Networking events, paid advertising, and lots of travel to prospective clients’ homes are just some of the ways they spend their weeks trying to get business.
Through these many interactions it is quite natural to become friends with networking and referral partners. In addition, one source of business is also existing family members and their own network of friends and social acquaintances. We are here to tell you today why if you are a friend or family member of a real estate agent, it is probably NOT a good idea for you to hire them as your Seller’s Listing Agent.
In our experience, there are at least three (3) main reasons why your real estate agent who helps you sell a house should be someone with some distance from your personal life:
- This is VERY personal. Your agent will learn quirks about you, your other relationships and how you conduct business that may be uncomfortable for you.
- This may NOT go well. At the beginning of the home selling process, the Seller and their agent are, generally speaking, acting with the same interests: to find a Buyer the for the home in a price range Seller and Agent think it will sell for. By the inspection stage, however, we have noticed over the years that those interests start to diverge, with the Sellers becoming more focused on being protected, minimizing repair costs and getting the benefit of the deal, which naturally slows the deal down (and sometimes sinks it) and puts them somewhat at odds with their agent. If the agent is a close friend or family member, this can put undue stress on the personal relationship. It’s one thing to lose the Buyer and have to go through home listing/showing/selling process a second time; quite another to lose a friend or become estranged from family over it.
- EXPECTATIONS of referrals and positive reviews make it more uncomfortable.Let’s say the deal actually does go well and you close and move on. Agents live off of referrals and reviews. If you have concerns or doubts, it will be awkward to express them or to go silent in the face of requests for referrals or positive reviews. This is especially true if the Seller did not have a lawyer involved to help diffuse situations before they festered and became very personal. In our experience, the Seller who has a lawyer and an agent, is able to better recommend the agent at the end because the agent did a more careful job, the lawyer was able to diffuse issues from becoming major ones, and if there was any real problem either venting to the lawyer helped enough to stem it or the lawyer him/herself became the focus of the client’s discontent. While we don’t enjoy the latter situation, it is a part of the practice of law sometimes, and the agents and clients do enjoy some degree of benefit from our playing this role, thus creating a buffer so the others involved in the deal can get along better for the sake of the client.
In our next blog post, we plan to explore, “Not Requiring Pre-Approval as Part of the Contract Submitted by Buyers (#3 of the 15 Mistakes We See Home Sellers Make Most Often)”. We hope you find the information helpful.
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