My husbands father is a real estate agent and asked us to use him when we are ready to buy a home. Is this a good idea?

Asked by Homehelp11, 19147 Tue Apr 26, 2011

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32
Mack McCoy, Agent, Seattle, WA
Tue Apr 26, 2011
Well, let's turn it around - would not using him be a bad idea?
2 votes
Bruce Lang, Agent, Philadelphia, PA
Wed Apr 27, 2011
I have represneted buyers with relatives as brokers and also seen people use relatives. At the end of the day, be sure you are allowed to make your own deicision. If you aren't comfortable with your relative, then pick an agent but tell the agent to give a 25 percent referral to your father in law. (Work that out before you even start to see property)
1 vote
Tim Page, , 99037
Tue Apr 26, 2011
No, it's not. I'm a full time real estate appraiser. As it turns out I've wrote about this before on my website. Don't do it. if anything and I mean anything goes wrong, it may ruin your relationship. It's just not worth it. I've been to homes when the owner is trying to refinance and I'm the second or third appraiser that's been to their home and the spouse is just pissed, because she knows she's been duped. But if you absolutely feel that you must give your husbands father the business, make sure you hire an appraiser before you make offers on the property. You can even order a desktop appraisal just to give you some idea of what's going on before you buy.
1 vote
Larry Lichtm…, Agent, Bala Cynwyd, PA
Tue Apr 26, 2011
Of course it is a good idea. As long as you have a good relationship with him and you trust him. He may even offer you help toward closing from his side of the commission. I would suggest that you start out by talking about any concerns you have openly and honestly with your husband and then father-in-law. If he makes you feel comfortable that he can professionally represent you and work in your best interest as Buyer's Agent, there is no reason not to work with him.

If things don't work out you can always decide to work with another agent. This is when the family feelings/emotions can get tricky. Best of luck in your home search.

All the best,
Larry Lichtman
REALTOR, Property Manager
Your Real Estate Resource For Life
(267)254-7994
LarrySellsRealEstate@gmail.com
Web Reference:  http://www.DJCRE.com
1 vote
J Mario Preza, Agent, Daly City, CA
Thu Apr 28, 2011
I have some very mixed reactions to this scenario, especially because throughout my career, I have had the same circumstances put on me by relatives who either worked with me or wound up seeking my advice when the did not.

Working with family and/or close friends is both a blessing and a possible curse, but only if you mix business with pleasure. I find that when I am charged with doing a specific job, and explain the process and how I work and what I expect and what should be expected (as I would with all my clients), then you've set the foundation for a sound business transaction. It is only when someone (family) says, well he's my... bother, uncle, etc., he'll charge us less; or "shame on him for wanting to charge his next of kin..." that this can become a problem for everyone in the circle of trust.

From the agent's standpoint, you have to ask yourself if the commission you'll earn is worth losing some aspect of the family tie -- you know how sometimes sales don't go exactly as planned, and that, for whatever reason, will always come back as a blame on you.

I helped a cousin become a millionaire by giving him the best advice he could have received, and he actually followed it -- he sold when I advised, made a huge profit, rolled it over as I suggested, gained a bunch of equity; then converted that to cash and another investment and wound up a lot better than his teacher's salary would ever have allowed him to do.

The moral to that is that it can be GREAT, but if you do your job right -- in spite of being a family, or perhaps because of it.
0 votes
Dan Tabit, Agent, Issaquah, WA
Tue Apr 26, 2011
Homehelp1,
You would be changing roles in your relationship if you do use him, so it would be reasonable to set some boundaries. Let him know that you love and trust him, but that waiting a week for a response is not something you are comfortable with. Ask him if this is how he treats his other clients or if he can do better.
When I do business with friends it's always a mix of roles and expectations should be clearly stated. Are you doing him a favor or is he doing you one? If he's a great agent he'll look out for you and do a great job. If he's a mediocre or poor agent, you may not like the results. Clear up your expectations with him and his with you before you get too far along so you can decide if this is a good idea or not.
0 votes
Ivan Arjona, Agent, The Woodlands, TX
Tue Apr 26, 2011
Would you recommend him to your best friend to handle a similar transaction. If the answer is yes of course I say go for it! Hope this helps
0 votes
Mark Gable, , Phoenix, AZ
Tue Apr 26, 2011
When I go out to buy a home, I know what I'm looking for. I feel like the realtor is just along for the ride and to give basic insight. Your relative also knows that there are lots of houses out there and would be more likely to give you fair advice than a stranger.
If you were selling the house my advice would be different.
0 votes
Daniel Choi, Agent, Los Angeles, CA
Tue Apr 26, 2011
I would not mind if your father in law is a real estate agent who is actively involved in day-to-day agent activities such as marketing, prospecting instead of just part-time license holder who happens to provide his service for his friends and families. Real estate transaction is a specialized filed that requires up to date knowledge about many aspects than just showing the houses and writing offers.

Good luck !!

Daniel Choi
Broker Associate
Nextage Capital Advisors
1521 Wilshire Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90017

http://www.michantli.com
0 votes
David Cooper, Agent, Los Angeles, CA
Tue Apr 26, 2011
I have seen the family dynamics in buying a house, and even you and your husband might see eye-to-eye on some things. Throw in your father-in-law and now we have another personality who might want to get his views on what he thinks you need. Don't do it.

David Cooper Las Vegas Foreclosure Investor in Bank Owned REOs with Cash Flow. email or call for FREE DAILY LIST +1-7024997037 not a real estate agent
0 votes
Shanna Rogers, Agent, Murrieta, CA
Tue Apr 26, 2011
Hi Homehelp11,

The first question you want to ask yourselves (your husband and yourself) is: If you use your father-in-law as your Realtor and something goes 'wrong' with the transaction, how will that affect your personal/family relationship? That should be the most important thing - keeping your relationship as it is. In Real Estate, there are a number of 'issues' that can arise and you just need to make sure if something does, your personal relationships (you and your husband's, you/your husband and your father-in-law, etc) are not negatively affected.

Next, it depends on the kind of Realtor your father-in-law is. Does he 'fit' with you and your husband - as a Realtor, not as a father-in-law. Maybe you should 'interview' a couple other Realtors before 'hiring' your father-in-law.

Buying a home is a major transaction in your life and can be a little stressful at times. I understand wanting to possibly use your father-in-law (family loyalty, etc.) but if you and your husband have ANY doubts, that might be your answer.

Good luck!

Shanna Rogers
SR Realty
http://www.RealtyBySR.com
0 votes
Kathleen Bec…, Agent, Santa Monica, CA
Tue Apr 26, 2011
I agree with Christopher and Greg. It can go both ways! Be careful. Do what is in the best interest of getting the house sold.
0 votes
Gregg, Home Buyer, California
Tue Apr 26, 2011
It depends on your father-in-law's character and his competency as a real estate agent. While providing an objective opinion about the property and/or the terms of contract, if he is unconditionally supportive of your (and your husband's) decision, then he is doing right by you. Don't let commission discounts break the deal, as he is also trying to make a living! Mixing family and business can have its advantages, but if it even begins to change the personal relationship, it is immediately time to part ways on the professional level. The more involved it becomes, the harder it will be to mend.
0 votes
Christopher…, Agent, Tarrytown, NY
Tue Apr 26, 2011
Hi, This can go either way. I'm sure he will absolutely have your best interest in mind but will he protect you so much you don't buy a home? I've seen loved ones over protect and totally scare the buyer away from every home. As long as you keep it professional and you get the same treatment any client would get, I don't see why you shoudln't use him.

Christopher Pagli
Licensed Associate Broker
Accredited Buyer Representative
GREEN Designated Agent
William Raveis Legends Realty Group
914.406.9023
Web Reference:  http://raveis.com/chrispagli
0 votes
Tess Carolina…, , Katonah, NY
Tue Apr 26, 2011
Whether the agent is your relative or not -- it's the integrity of the agent u are looking for.
Your biggest advantage is --you really, really know ur father in-law so,... we should be asking you that question- would you recommend him? Yes his personality affects much your working relationship and I've known agents who recommended houses for their family member - because it will give them higher income!
Web Reference:  http://www.TessBrannagan.com
0 votes
Jerry Cibuls…, Agent, Southold, NY
Tue Apr 26, 2011
When you are looking to purchase a home, you want to work with a Realtor that you will trust the advice and experience they bring to the transaction. If you are comfortable with this knowledge, then you have your answer. Working with your father in-law as a Buyers Agent, he will certainly be able to look out for your best interests.
0 votes
Scott Hulen, , 64068
Tue Apr 26, 2011
Is he a full time agent? If you dont use him will family events be uncomfortable? Does he have the skills you need to make the best deal? How much knowledge do you have about real estate and can you make up for any short coming on his part? The simple thing to do and maybe the best thing to do is to work with him. Good Luck
0 votes
Gayle Rich-B…, Agent, Vernonia, OR
Tue Apr 26, 2011
How well do you get along with your father-in-law? Does he already know your credit information and the kind of private information that you might/might not want a family member to know about?
Does he "get you"? In other words, does he know what your wish list is, does he really know the area that you're interested in...does he specialize in that area? If not, he can always "refer" you to another agent and still get a percentage of the marketing fee if he makes an arrangement with the other realtor.
It definitely is about good communication and if you have to step lightly around an ego, that's not the kind of person you want. But, if you feel he has your "back", then I say go for it...you can always change your mind later!
Gayle Rich-Boxman
Broker, Vernonia Realty
Specializing in Fishhawk Lake Recreation Club
"Your Gateway to the Lake!"
http://activerain.com/blogs/gayleatfishhawklake

Direct: (503)755-2905
My website: http://www.lakehomesatfishhawk.com/
My blog: http://fishhawklakerealtor
0 votes
Barbie Rober…, , Weston, FL
Tue Apr 26, 2011
Working with a Realtor is about building a relationship. Its the kind that requires trust, honesty and professionalism. Sounds like if he is your father in law, he is a trustworthy person and can probably find you a great deal if you have the time and patience, sounds like the perfect fit to me. Besides, the home you purchase, the commission is paid by the seller. You have all to gain, plus your dream home
Happy Shopping
Barbie Roberts, P.A.
Coldwell Banker R.E.
0 votes
David Cooper, Agent, Los Angeles, CA
Tue Apr 26, 2011
I try to keep family away from my real estate dealings, especially if they have too many opinions on what I should like. My experience has NOT been good.

David Cooper Las Vegas Foreclosure Investor in Bank Owned REOs with Cash Flow. email or call for FREE DAILY LIST +1-7024997037 not a real estate agent
0 votes
Bev Kalb, Agent, Bally, PA
Tue Apr 26, 2011
If you trust your father-in-law and he is an upstanding guy and is an experienced agent then by all means have him as your buyer's agent. I can't imagine that anyone else would be able to represent and look out for your interests better than a parent.
Bev Kalb
Century 21 Longacre Realty
0 votes
Michelle Car…, Agent, Coppertino, AL
Tue Apr 26, 2011
The right questions are:

1) Would you choose him even if he wasn't your father-in-law? (does he have the skills, experience, etc.)
2) Could this potentially hurt your relationship?

If you don't choose him, he can still benefit if you ask him to refer you to someone else of your choosing - that way he will still get a referral fee, and he can still advocate for you if you have issues with that agent.

That said, here is a link to a list of agent interview questions you may find helpful in the process:
http://goo.gl/jeaai
Web Reference:  http://goo.gl/jeaai
0 votes
Dallas Texas, Agent, Dallas, TN
Tue Apr 26, 2011
I don't see a problem with home purchase. He would probably know more of what you would like than Realtor you don't know

Lynn911 Dallas Realtor & Consultant, Loan Officer, Credit Repair Advisor
The Michael Group - Dallas Business Journal Top Ranked Realtors
972-699-9111
http://www.lynn911.com
0 votes
Lena Schriev…, Agent, Mystic, CT
Tue Apr 26, 2011
It woujld depend on your relationship with your father in law, if he is experienced with the area where you want to buy a home and whether you want to offend him if you don't use him.
0 votes
Don Tepper, Agent, Burke, VA
Tue Apr 26, 2011
Maybe.

Not quite the definitive answer you probably wanted. Right?

It could be. As already noted, if he's a full-time, experienced agent and if he's familiar with the communities you're looking at, those are all strong reasons for considering using him.

Still, as noted below, interview him just as you would any other agent.

You did add: "I am hesitant because he is very busy. I ask him questions through email and sometimes it takes a week to get an answer. I am afriad of finding "the one" and possibly losing it. Should there be a time liimit on how long it takes for him to get back with me?"

And that's a real red flag. A week to get an answer? I'd say (just my personal opinion here) that that's too long. A few hours, or certainly the next day, is a response time a lot of people look for. You very well could lose out on multiple properties if it takes a week to get an answer. Can you set a time limit? Sure. Discuss the subject with him. Explain your concern. Set a response time you and he are both comfortable with. Again, a few hours or the next day are not usually unreasonable.

And there's another, totally different, concern. That is, it could put stress on your relationship with him, as well as your relationship with your husband. Now, having said that, all agents are taught to solicit business from their "sphere of influence"--friends, relatives, and neighbors. So what your father-in-law is doing is what many agents do, and most are taught to do. Still, buying real estate can involve a lot of stress. Only you can answer the question of whether your relationship with your father-in-law (and potentially your husband) would be strained if problems arose.

Again, there's no clear answer to your question. You just have to weigh all the pros and cons. And, as noted, interview him along with other agents.

Hope that helps.
0 votes
Sergio Herna…, , Naples, FL
Tue Apr 26, 2011
It is if you have a good relationship with your F.I.L. and he is a full time Realtor.
Web Reference:  http://www.golftobeach.com
0 votes
Beverly Shin…, Agent, Aston, PA
Tue Apr 26, 2011
If your father in law is familiar with the area, he should definitely help you purchase a property.
0 votes
Hannah Angert, Agent, PHILADELPHIA, PA
Tue Apr 26, 2011
Homehelp,

While I see why it is a good idea for your father-in-law, I'm not sure it is in your best interest to work with him. Most important: you haven't mentioned your relative's service area. You need a Realtor who is familiar with the neighborhood/s you desire. Philadelphia is a City of Neighborhods. Your agent's knowledge of day-to-day market changes is of the utmost importance. Accurate and fair sale prices are critical to making it through today's appraisal process.

Take time to interview several agents. Consider a South Philly specialist (like me), and see what feels right. Trust and communication are key to the Realtor/Client relationship. You may need someone who can be more readily available to you through this process.

Hope to discuss further,

Hannah Angert, Realtor®
PA License RS-295442

hannahangert@comcast.net
Cell 215.869.9571
Office 215.271.3000
Fax 215.271.0988

William Festa Realty
3001 S. Sydenham St.
Philadelphia, PA 19145
0 votes
Terri Vellios, Agent, Campbell, CA
Tue Apr 26, 2011
This is an excellent question.

Interview him just as you would any other agent. Find out how he works and explain all your concerns and your expectations. There is good and bad in these types of situations. If you are comfortable and have a good relationship with him, he is able to work with you the way you desire, there probably is no reason not to. However, if there is any concern about his abilities, or about damaging a family relationship, those future holiday dinners can be very stressful.

Don't choose someone because of any rebates, even family. You choose someone because of their experience, skill, and you trust them.

Congratulations on the beginning of your home ownership.
Web Reference:  http://www.terrivellios.com
0 votes
Homehelp11, Home Buyer, 19147
Tue Apr 26, 2011
I am hesitant because he is very busy. I ask him questions through email and sometimes it takes a week to get an answer. I am afriad of finding "the one" and possibly losing it. Should there be a time liimit on how long it takes for him to get back with me?

Thanks!
0 votes
Anna M Brocco, Agent, Williston Park, NY
Tue Apr 26, 2011
Is there a reason as to why not...
0 votes
Stefan, , Philadelphia, PA
Tue Apr 26, 2011
Probably. I would imagine he would be working for your best interest and would want to see you get a great place. Plus, your husband's father would also get a commission from the seller. Unless there is some reason that is holding you back from using him, I would work with him. Have a great day and good luck in your search.

Stefan
J. G. McSherry, Inc.
Real Estate and Insurance
0 votes
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