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Best Friend As Real Estate Agent—Good or Bad?

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Even under the best of circumstances the sale of a home is usually an emotional process. A close friendship with one’s agent has both advantages and potentially serious draw­backs that should be considered before dis­cussing a listing possibility.

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“We have two dear friends who are real estate agents. They all know we are planning to sell our home soon and we are dreading making a decision about who to use to sell it. Our house is worth over $1.5 million and we know we would be giving that agent an opportunity to make a big sale. Can you please help us decide which one to use, how might we bring this up with each of them, and how can we do this in a way that still keeps our friendships? Thank you for any help you can give us about this process.”

 — A  Palisades homeowner

Telling You What You Want to Hear vs Need to Hear

An agent might be very objective and professional and feel completely comfortable in telling a close friend what they may need to hear in the home sale process.

However, would the close­ness of the relationship inhibit the freedom of professional counseling by the agent, or com­plicate your speaking much more freely and frankly than you might otherwise be comfort­able doing? Some people liken this to an at­torney or physician working for a close rela­tive or dear friend, as unantici­pated complications may arise in such cases. If the friendship in­hibits communications that are essential before the sale of your home is concluded, then the close relationship with your agent may be detrimental to the sale of your home.

Does Potentially Losing This Friendship Bother You?

Another important issue has to do with the potential loss of a good friendship. Selecting one of the agents that you are friends with could understandably disappoint the ones who were not selected. Moreover, if they are part of the same circle of friends, hurt feel­ings may damage friendships within the group.

Considering this reason, it may be preferable to select an agent who is not a close friend and thus avoid having to favor one over another. You could tell your friends that it was a hard decision to make, but you trust that they understand that you really want to keep the friendships intact.

Some Suggestions for Comparing Agents, Whether They Are Close Friends or Not

  1. Ask for a list of their recent sales, includ­ing the dates that they sold.
  2. Ask for several names and phone num­bers that you can call to hear what former
    clients say about working with that agent.
  3. Ask for the names and numbers of one or two references that they currently have in escrow.
  4. Get a detailed marketing proposal, including specific commitments of supple­mental advertising and any other marketing materials and strategies they would use to help give your home maximum exposure.
  5. Since the internet is used by over 50% of the buyers, it is important to compare an agent’s personal website, techniques for enhancing their listings on the internet, and any other technologically related actions they include in their marketing plan.

One Added Thought

Many owners select the agent who gives them the highest recommended price or estimated value for the home. The best ba­sis for selecting an agent is the detailed marketing plan of ac­tion that they propose to use in selling your home and the rap­port and trust you feel with the agent.

Then with that agent, one of the next main decisions will be where to price your home. Being tempted by an overly optimistic market estimate often results in sellers being keenly disappointed, ultimately getting a lower price than they could have, and taking much more time to
complete the sale.

Good luck to you in the decision-making process. This is obviously a most important fi­nancial as well as emotional question, and with careful consideration, you will have a better re­sult in all respects.

Please call me if you would like a free copy of our guidelines on selecting an agent.  

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