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Should You Work With Friends And Family?

Da'Vonne Duncan4 minute-read
April 25, 2022

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Spring is officially here, which means house hunting season has begun!

Although exciting, buying and selling a home is a serious financial decision. As a real estate agent, you might feel obliged to lend a hand to friends and family to ensure they’re working with someone reliable.

It sounds like the perfect narrative: You’re licensed, qualified and helping a loved one. But are the risks worth it?

Before you decide to become a real estate agent for someone close to you, take a step back and check out the possible pitfalls of this transaction.

Can I Be The Real Estate Agent For A Friend Or Relative?

Being a real estate agent for a loved one is possible and there’s no rule against it. But it’s important to disclose that information with others involved in the home buying/selling process. If you’re not upfront about your relationship with the client, to a buyer or their real estate agent, you could be violating the National Association of REALTORS® Code of Ethics.

Pros and Cons Of Working With A Friend Or Family Member

Working with a friend or family member can be a great experience. It might increase your performance levels since you're actively seeking their best interests. But you must acknowledge that some relationships may not thrive in a professional setting.

For this reason, keep in mind the following advantages and disadvantages of helping someone close to you buy or sell a home.

Pros

Working with a client that you are close with can set the stage for a smooth buying or selling process. You may already know their preferences and they may already bear in mind your expertise. The familiarity with one another may cancel out the risks.

Comfortability

The foundation of a client and real estate agent relationship is trust. It’s natural when a friend or family member turns to you when seeking a real estate agent, instead of working with a random person. They already know your values and how you approach the housing market.

If you’re also comfortable with this person, it could make the client/agent relationship more enjoyable during the process.

Helping Someone You Care About

Using your skills and knowledge to help a friend or family member find or sell their home can be very rewarding. Buying or selling their home is one of the biggest financial decisions they'll ever make. It may also give them and you peace of mind that they're partnering with someone, like yourself, who is reputable in the real estate community.

Referrals

According to OutboundEngiene, 75% of all real estate transactions derive from referrals. And word of mouth makes up most of a real estate agent’s income. So, when you meet or exceed your loved one’s expectations, they’ll be more likely to promote you to their friends and family.

Cons

Being a real estate agent for someone close to you could make your client feel like they have 24/7 access to your services. And despite your schedule, you may feel obligated to be on call since sales determine your success in real estate.

Having a hard time saying “no” is one of the few drawbacks when working with a friend. Below are other disadvantages of having a personal interest in a property.

Too Much Comfortability

Even if your relationship may convince you to work with someone close to you, be mindful that they may not view you as a real estate professional. They could be stuck seeing you as their friend or family member more than their experienced agent.

If they don’t heed to your advice, it can make you feel more uncomfortable during house hunting. You’ll also be getting into the nitty-gritty of someone's finances, which can be awkward when you know each other personally, especially if their credit score could use some work.

Hard Conversations

Real estate transactions can be stressful, emotions can run high, and you may need to have some difficult conversations. These touchy subjects could range from your loved one's budget to a listing price. Ask yourself is this friend or family member someone you can have those hard conversations with? After all, you wouldn’t want a business deal to erode a friendship.

Violating The NAR Code Of Ethics

Article 4 of the NAR Code of Ethics states REALTORS® may not present offers from any member of their immediate family without making their true position known to the owner, the owner’s agent, or broker. Immediate family members also include in-laws because the purchase may benefit the REALTOR® at some point.

However, disclosing your relationship to the client is not mandatory. But this will help you uphold high ethical standards by being transparent.

How To Tell Them You’re Not The Right Fit

If you decide that working with your friend or relative may not be the best fit can be a difficult conversation. But before you go through with the talk, it's wise to double-check if the two of you are legally allowed to part ways. If they already signed your buyer’s agent agreement, this means you’re legally obligated to a portion of the commission if they close with another real estate agent. Be aware that tension may arise because of this. However, it’s in your best interest to protect yourself. So, be prepared for a potentially sticky situation.

Further, if no exclusivity contract was signed, both of you are free to part ways. And a polite conversation should solve the issue.

Always remember to be respectful and thank them for their time when telling your loved one you’re not the right fit. Without a doubt, family and friends should have the same treatment as regular clients.

The Bottom Line: The Choice Is Yours

If you think your relationship with a loved one can handle a business relationship, then give it your best shot. After all, you might be their best choice since you care about their wants and needs. Most of all, you can ensure they're working with an expert in the housing market, who can provide them with exceptional service. But be prepared to have difficult conversations.

Whether you want to be a real estate agent for your friends and family is solely your decision. But ensure the pros outweigh the cons during the process. If you’re interested in other real estate topics and the latest housing updates, explore the Rocket ProSM Insights Learning Center.

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    Da'Vonne Duncan

    Da’Vonne Duncan is a Blog Writing Intern, covering lifestyle topics for the Publishing House. She has a passion for words and enjoys writing scripts, blogs, narratives, and poetry. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications with a concentration in digital video production, from Delaware State University.