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Trulia Tampa, Other/Just Looking in Tampa, FL

Is representing family and friends a good idea?

Asked by Trulia Tampa, Tampa, FL Wed Nov 7, 2012

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Cindy Finnerman - SFR’s answer
Cindy Finnerman - SFR, Broker, Lincolnwood, IL
I have family members who have NOT used me on the multiple transactions they have had. I was offended and hurt that my family did not have enough confidence in me professionally to give me the opportunity. I often hear buyers and sellers say"family comes first". I believe the expectations should be discussed in advance. My business is primarily from referrals and repeat business, so I must be doing something right. When someone says that family may not want you to know their personal or financial business, my response is, that the purchase and sale of a property is public information. As far as the financial information, I don't ask my clients how much they make, or how much they have in the bank. I leave that to the mortgage broker or lender, I just want to see the pre-approval letter. As a divorced parent starting over and now starting over again after the "bubble" ( I purchased 2 properties in the peak market), I really resented the fact that a stranger was making $20-$100K on each of these family transactions. I have been in the business for over 20 years and am totally capable and professional enough to handle the situation. It would have been nice to know my family felt the same.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 20, 2012
I believe if you know the area, the kind of Real Estate transaction being handle and you are experienced enough yes. If the answer is no, then you are better off referring the deal to someone more experienced that can provide the guidance your family and friends needs. You can totally ruin a relationship if something goes wrong and it may not be worth it to put that at risk.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 5, 2014
Although it seems to be a good idea to represent family and friends, things can get out of hand fast. Any legal dispute has the chance of failure; a failure by you as seen in their eyes. It is a big risk that a negative outcome may ruin your relationship. Compensation expectations are another thing to consider. Family and friends expect a discount if not a hand out for your time. It is best to refer someone and explain that they would be in better hands with someone else. When it comes to family and money, anything can happen.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 5, 2014
yes, if you can separate the two. family can not fire you from the family, but they can terminate you as a realtor. It is important to make business communication and expectations are clear.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 4, 2014
Hi Trulia Tampa,

I am inclined to agree with Jennifer F. Although, different strokes for different folks.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 4, 2014
If it were not for my family, and friends I would have never gotten started in this business.

In fact it is my family and friends who continue to fuel my business. It is not about being related, but the RELATIONSHIP. If you have a good relationship with your family and friends working with them is a pleasure and very fulfilling.

Kawain Payne, Realtor
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services
Seal Beach CA
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 4, 2014
This is all I do. Most of the folks that are not Family and friends usually end up being friends by the end of any of my transactions. This is not rocket science.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 4, 2014
Trulia Tampa, that is an excellent question, and an answer depends upon many things.

Any involvement in the transaction, you would have to disclose that you have an interest in the transaction (representing a family member). Sometimes, following your prescribed system of conducting business can be "short cut" as you may believe that you already know how the person will respond or thinks about a situation. This may lead to "assumptions" rather than "vetting" the interests of your family member client. Best to always follow your tried and true systems regarding listing or selling a property.

Clarify up front your role and duties within the limits of the transaction. Sometimes, family members do not wish to disclose their personal financial portfolio to another family member.

With regard to dealing with friends, this depends upon your relationship with them. Again, they might not want to disclose their personal financial information, clarify this matter up front. Some friends are looking for a deal. These people might look for a deal (an agent that works for free) whether you are a friend or not. They just grind out their objectives. Again, your choice if you want to deal with such a client; friend or not.

Referrals to other agents may be an excellent option to maintain an arms length transaction and receive a referral fee at closing. This must be disclosed to the client. This method allows you to function as a friend and over see the transaction for your friend.

Best regards,

Lynn Brock
Brock Realty Inc.

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0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 20, 2012
As long as family,friend and you are happy.Thats all counts.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Nov 8, 2012
Representing friends and family can cause a strain on the relationship. I think you would have consider the pros on con of doing this with each individual.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Nov 7, 2012
This is a great question, I believe it depends on how strong the relationship is and how experienced the agent is in the specific transaction. It the relationship is strong enough so that if something goes wrong you will not hurt it, it is okay. Also if you are an experienced agent that can give valuable advice and you are not just learning, why not...However, I have seen newer agents represent their friends and family on short sales which are complex transactions and done a poor job due to lack of experience. Then by all means it will be better to refer them to a more experienced agent.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Nov 7, 2012
I would not represent family or friends as what you may believe is solid and/or accurate advice may certainly benefit them... or be financially detrimental to them. It is difficult at best to maintain separation between personal and professional life, much more so if it involves family or close personal friends/acquaintances/neighbors, etc.

I would instead, refer them to someone you hold in high esteem and consider a professional.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Nov 7, 2012
They oftens say the hardest people to work with are family and friends. It can also be the most rewarding.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Nov 7, 2012
as an FYI - these silly kind of questions are being posted by TRULIA, all over the place - they are apparently trying to drum up activity!!!!
Flag Wed Nov 7, 2012
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