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When to Use a Friend or Family Member as Your REALTOR®

published on January 11, 2012

It’s a common dilemma for home sellers and home buyers: Do I use the services of a REALTOR® I know or choose someone outside of my friends and family? Ultimately, the answer falls with each individual, based on the dynamics of the relationship and the qualifications of the real estate professional.

A REALTOR® should be chosen based on multiple criteria, including relationship, credentials, experience, ethics, and expertise. No matter who is being considered, ask questions: How long have you been working in real estate? How many transactions do you usually close each year? Do you have referrals or testimonials? Also, check out the agent’s website – does the REALTOR® appear professional and proficient in the real estate industry? And, importantly, is there a substantial level of trust and ethics present?

Here are more items to contemplate when considering using a friend or family member: REALTORS® who are friends or family members have your best interests at heart and may be more inclined to be candid about the process and pitfalls. Also, a professional relationship with a friend or family member could provide an opportunity for both parties to develop a level of faith and trust that is hard to achieve in a more casual friendship. Additionally, it can represent a chance to support a family member or friend’s real estate career and allow the REALTOR® to demonstrate her or his professional expertise. Is your friend or family member a broker? If so, another option to support the business is to utilize the services of someone on her or his team.

There are potential long-term complications to consider when signing with a friend or family member. Help preserve the relationship by communicating expectations up-front   in person and in writing via email so everyone is clear. If financial privacy is a concern, know that other than your qualifying loan amount, financial details will be handled by your mortgage broker or banker – not the REALTOR®. Be cautious about hiring an unproven or inexperienced REALTOR® without first agreeing on fair guidelines and expectations, such as the supervision of a more senior agent or broker to ensure the deal is managed correctly.

It should be stressed that there are many players and pieces within a real estate transaction, and sometimes things happen that are out of the control of the buyer, seller, lender, and REALTOR®. It’s important for all to be aware of this and not place undue blame or reward on any one participant.

Are you interested in the services of a REALTOR®? Brian Talley is a leader in Austin real estate, including Austin luxury and Lake Austin homes. In the top one quarter-percent (.25%) of area selling agents for 2011, Talley demonstrates both success and high ethics and welcomes the opportunity to search for an Austin home.

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