If The Godfather ever taught us anything it’s that it’s never personal; it’s strictly business. But that’s television and in the real world business can be very personal, especially in this situation. Hiring a friend or family member as your agent is complicated and it shouldn’t be approached as anything less.
Many people will agree that a relative or friend doubling as your realtor is a no-go and to nip the idea in the bud before it has a chance to grow. Before you even announce a need for an agent, have a conversation with your family member or friend first because it’ll be much worse for both you and them if you just don’t say anything at all.
And ease your unnecessary guilt by remembering that even though you may not want them as your personal real estate agent for various reasons, that’s not to say you can’t help them out in other ways. If you know of anyone else in need of an agent, then send them their way. Referrals in the world of real estate are never unappreciated.
Having an established personal relationship with a real estate agent, though, does has some major benefits. One being that there is already a foundation of trust smoothed and ready with a relative or friend. This is a crucial step when you are finding a real estate agent that is a right fit for you. Having that trust already established will put your mind at ease. In addition to having that trust, a realtor you know on a personal level will know your tastes much better. They will have a better sense on what kind of market and community to show you.
On the flip-side, an agent who knows you personally may put you in the backseat when it comes to their list of other clients that they may bend over backwards for in an effort to establish the relationship they already have with you.
Another key factor to keep is that you need to be willing to fire your real estate agent. They may be your friend or family, but they also may not be a good fit. This happens all the time in real estate and that’s why it’s important to choose the right realtor for you.
If the idea of potentially firing friends or family is just not something you can bring yourself to do, then save yourself and your relationship and don’t engage in the first place.
Lastly, an oversight for a lot of sellers/buyers is that this relationship works both ways. For example, you may hesitate on saying no to your agent if they are a relative or a close friend because you don’t want to offend them or hurt their feelings. But it’s a two-way street. Yes, you expect them to be professional in a business relationship, but they are human and may not want to crush your dreams on a house they know isn’t the greatest fit, but you’ve fallen head over heels for.
It’s a complicated situation that may work for you or it may not. And if it’s the ladder, then it’s best to address it with them and seek out a real estate agent yourself.