I am writing this for anyone that wants to buy or sell a house, and that has a close friend or family member that’s a real estate agent. If this is you, keep reading please. If this isn’t you, please keep reading anyway because one day you will need to know this vital information. I know what you’re thinking…you don’t want to mix family with business, right? Or, you worry that your friendship will somehow get bruised by hiring your friend/agent. Let me explain to you why this way of thinking is back-asswards and can actually cause more damage than you think.
You see, real estate agents hear this a lot. Like, a LOT LOT. We get it. And it hurts A LOT. Family & friends often think that they don’t want to mix their personal relationship with “business” and think they are making a better decision having someone that is NOT close to them represent their best interests with the most expensive purchase of their life. They choose a stranger who isn’t close to them, and has no other interest in them except to earn a paycheck… instead of using the person that has their back and is personally connected to them. Crazy, right?! I’m here to tell you the truth and why this is so detrimental; not only to your relationship, but also to your real estate investments!
1) Family & Friends KNOW you. Your family or friend Agent knows that you love to cook and entertain a lot, so they will work hard to find you the kitchen and outdoor area of your dreams. Your family or friend Agent knows your work schedule, your preferred way of communication, your needs and wants, and they will work twice as hard to get it all for you, BECAUSE of the personal relationship you share. A stranger doesn’t know shit about you, and I doubt they will bend over backwards, cancel plans to show you homes when it’s convenient for you, or answer their phone at 11:30pm on a Monday night.
2) You can be yourself. If you work with an Agent that you know nothing about, that also means they know nothing about you. It could be a little awkward at times. You will have to interact with your Agent many times throughout the process, and not everyone communicates the same. Your family or friend Agent will understand that you work all day and coach your kids T-Ball games three nights a week, and they won’t get frustrated when you don’t return a call or email within an hour. Imagine riding around in a car with a stranger while home-shopping and the air is tense, so you make small talk to kill the silence. Now imagine riding around with your family or friend Agent who knows your favorite kind of music or talks about something you give a shit about while on your way to find your dream home. Depending on how close you are with your family or friend Agent, you could even burp, fart, and tell dirty jokes around them and not be judged. Being yourself and being comfortable are very much needed when making an expensive decision.
3) Honesty. Your family or friend Agent will be honest with you and not sugar-coat anything because they want to help you get what you want! They will not waste your time, or try to sell you a home that you don’t need in a school district you don’t want. They will listen to you and go above and beyond for you, because again, they have a connection with you, outside of the real estate transaction! They will tell you when you’re acting like a lunatic, and when you’re both wasting time shopping for homes $100K out of their budget.
4) You have the Power! Think about it – if you hire a friend or family member to assist you with your real estate sale or purchase, they know that you will tell EVERYONE, and I mean EVERYONE about the experience. People will hear all about it and your Agent will naturally want to make sure that it’s all great news that’s being shared! If not, Thanksgiving Dinner and the next wedding or baby shower will be pretty awkward! A stranger doesn’t have as precious reputation to protect and therefore may not TRY as hard as your family or friend agent will. Helping family and friends is actually a lot more work to most real estate agents, but this is what we love to do and we feel honored to put our expertise to work for someone we care about.
5) Loyalty. Real estate agents thrive on loyalty. We get screwed over by everyone all the time: clients, lenders, banks, other real estate agents, and the list goes on. We count on our family and friends to support us, love us, and respect us. If you choose another agent over us, it feels like a cold, hard, dagger being thrusted deep into our soul.
Ok, maybe it doesn’t hurt that bad, but it does tell us very bluntly that you don’t find us competent or that you don’t trust us.
6) Trust. Here’s why you CAN trust us. We’re in your life already! We have a history together. We have seen you during your best and worst times. We were there for you when you went through a divorce, or when you needed help after having a baby, or when you were sick, and we were happy and proud of you when you got a raise or graduated college or got married. We’ve had your back, and we probably know secrets about you that you don’t know we know. My point is that if you can’t trust your family or friends – then WHO can you trust?!
7) Your Happiness. Believe it or not, family & friend real estate agents don’t look at you as a stack of cash the way a lion looks at a zebra. We have hearts. We genuinely want to HELP you, and gaining a paycheck is just another perk for doing our job, but it’s certainly not the number one reason why we want your business. We are still doing our job and actually working a lot harder, so getting paid at the end shouldn’t make you feel uncomfortable at all. You’re going to pay a real estate agent to help you sell your house, so wouldn’t it make more sense to help out your family or friend Agent rather than some stranger you found on Zillow who takes three days to return a call or email to you?
8) You don’t need to impress us. You don’t need to power clean or dress up because we already know you. When your family or friend Agent comes over to take listing photos you can be in your pajamas with no bra on for all we care. Your house can have piles of laundry or toys, and we will just work around it and probably even help you clean it up. Our mission is to get you the best deal on a house and make sure it’s safe, so you don’t need to act like you understand every word the home inspector is saying. We will translate it for you later and we will negotiate our asses off to make sure your investment is safe.
9) You aren’t bothering us. Seriously. Real Estate Agents have thick skin and we’ve helped tons of clients that have caused gray hairs, migraines, and late-night binge drinking. Helping you will actually make it a little more enjoyable, especially if you offer to buy the first round!
10) Family-Friendly Agent. There’s no better way to KEEP your relationships healthy with family or friends than to show you trust them and allow them the opportunity to prove their worth! They will celebrate with you and your relationship will grow even better. If you’re so worried about that relationship, then stop using the lame excuse about how you don’t want to mix “personal with business.” Don’t turn your back on your family or friend and let them prove how important you are to them by kicking real estate ass for you! Oh, and one more thing. Don’t expect a “family & friends” discount. If you own a business or provide a service of any kind, do you give discounts to all your family & friends that ask for it? It’s annoying AF, so don’t even go there.
Written by Sarah D’Hondt!
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