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Representing family and friends- good idea or bad idea?

Asked by Trulia Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA Tue Oct 30, 2012

Do you have any good or bad stories you can share?

Help the community by answering this question:


Interesting that no one has any stories! One of my most high-pressure transactions was for one of my kids – a surgeon – she wanted everything done … STAT! I had to remind her a few times that we weren’t in surgery and some things actually take time!

Most of my business comes from referrals from family and friends … if any given client is not a friend when we begin, we sure are when we’re done! If I didn’t represent friends, I’d have no business!
2 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 31, 2012
I have to agree with John, though we might not be aquainted before we begin working together...we sure are after we get going!
Many Real Estate sales take time a minimum of three months and can be as long as six or more. Family and "new friends" is what it's all about!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 31, 2012
I'd much rather service my friends and family before I'd want them to work with a stranger. I've built and sold homes to 3 of my 5 children and they couldn't be happier.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 30, 2012
I have represented a lot of my friends and family. As long as you represent them with the same professional manner as you would another client you should be fine. Be sure to give them the best care and service possible. Then ask them to refer you to all their friends.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Nov 7, 2012
It all depends...I don't think there is an easy yes or no answer for this question. I represented my father in a transaction that went as smooth as silk; would I represent every family member--NO. Have I represented -- a few--however, I have represented many clients who have become friends.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Nov 7, 2012

Whether your client is a stranger, or a friend/relative, they are still your client. The dynamics remain the same.... you are the professional so you have your duties of care, fiduciary, and service; they are the recipient of a service for one of the biggest purchases in life, and have expectations, and duties of course (to attend the showings, communicate regularly and honestly, ect...)

The difference is that in one case you start as friends and end as friends, and in the other case you start as strangers and end as friends. :) There are very few professions in this world where you get to do your job everyday and make friends as you go. It's the beauty of our industry, so don't fear it. Embrace it.

Tip: establish expectations from the beginning the same way you would during your initial consultation.

Good luck

0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 6, 2012
Some years ago, I listed the home of a family friend who was known to be a bit "mercurial". Since I already had the inside track on what he coiuld be like, I knew what to expect and how to work with him. It turned out well and I still consider him a friend.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Nov 1, 2012
OH Boy!

Why did you have to ask this one.

Ok, I have had friends and family think they can callme all hours of the day and night.

ask me to cut my commission

treat me as if they are doing me a favor

question my knowledge and advice

expect appointments outside normal business hours

Overall I have to say ,friends and family have given me business when i needed it, and have even grown my business throughh generous referrals, but boy do they make me work hard!

Kawain Payne
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 31, 2012
Thumbs up to Carl. This pretty much says it all. "if any given client is not a friend when we begin, we sure are when we’re done! If I didn’t represent friends, I’d have no business!".
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 31, 2012
I have to chuckle somewhat. As I recall whence recieving RE training one of the first thinds your trainers will tell you is to get the word out to everyone you know i.e. friends, family, neighbors, etc. Wouldn't it be tough fishing in ponds with total strangers?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 31, 2012
most of your bussines comes from family and friends as long as you are professional ,i dont see why should be a problem.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 30, 2012
Disclose everything and it will be a great experience! I work a lot with friends and family! The bulk of my business is with family, friends and their referrals!
I would encourage you to do it and be very open, even if you think they already should know something, state it anyway.
Good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 30, 2012
Just to add... and this goes for any client. After the first meeting you know if they are a client you want to work with or if they are nickle and diming everything, making you grab a drink and the deal hasn't even started. And remember no matter what, you can't beat the uncle that knows everything about real estate, just because he bought and sold a house.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 30, 2012
I think it depends. I could represent my brother and his wife, but not my sister and her husband. I could help my mother in law buy a condo, but not my mom and step dad with selling their home. Tread lightly... and good luck to you.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 30, 2012
I think that comes down to...How your friends and family are and how you are as an agent. I have helped several...more than 5, family and friends with Real Estate and Mortgage loans...and so far, knock on wood, there have been no problems. Besides how can someone let money ruin a friendship? True you will make less when working with friends and family... I know I have, BUT if you are doing Real Estate for money then you are in the wrong business, go be a doctor. Yes, working with family or friends is a lot more stressful and maybe that is why some agents don't want to step up to the plate. But if you are honest, acknowledge problems as soon as they arise, then everything can be worked out. If there is a problem that comes up that neither buyer or seller wants to pay for, then pay it, solve the problem and move on. I see WAY to many crooked, sneaky.. will tell you anything just to have you buy the house sales people out there calling themselves agents.. and even worse calling themselves Realtors, to let someone I know get caught up with them.

I think working with a family member or a friend is a good idea...If you can handle the stress...and if you can't...then send them to me, I'll work with them.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 30, 2012
Representing family and/or friends is more important and more responsibility than representing any other client. Everything must be totally clear and up front. No hidden agendas.
John below says there is a potential risk to those relationships, that is true, but only if there are misunderstandings or if you are not totally forthcoming and sincere. Don't pull punches. Don't push. Tell them everything and above all else protect their interest at all cost. Don't do it for free, this is your livelihood after all. A s small discount may be appropriate.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 30, 2012
I never represent family and friends. Depending on the family member or friend, I might even decline to refer them to another agent. My family and friend relationships are far too valuable to potentially risk them due to business issues.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 30, 2012
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