Margaret Rome's Blog

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Why Wouldn't Your Friends Use You

 

Recent posts  have been written about working with friends and relatives. Many say this is not a good idea but I have some concerns about the reasons.

IF, and that is a big if, you are the best agent, why wouldn't your true friends want to hire you?  And why wouldn't you want to work with them?

Many friends, colleagues and relatives have used me to list and sell.

 And I have also made decisions NOT to work with certain friends, former colleagues and relatives.

Knowing personality traits, it would not be possible to meet expectations.

It is a business decision no different than interviewing sellers.

Do I really  want the listing?

 

 

My commitment to confidentiality is the same as when I was an RN in the hospital. Clients do not have to worry about keeping their business private.

 

But should you work with a friend?

When this question is raised by other agents, I have heard negative answers. It is usually from the other agent telling you not to work with your friend...they want the listing. Don't work with a friend, it might interfere with your relationship.

My response :

Is your friend the very best person to get the job done? 

Then yes, work them! 

 If not feel free to say: "I don't work with friends."

 

Margaret Rome

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Broker-Owner HomeRome Realty 

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Author of Real Estate the Rome Way

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Comments

I have worked with many friends and realatives.  The biggest issue I had to start with is that they didn't want people to know their gfinancial situation.  Once they found out that I told NO one not even my spouse I don't get any concerning questions.

Posted by William Feela, Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No. (WHISPERING PINES REALTY) about 3 years ago

Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland - maybe, I am fortunate enough to have worked with friends who referred me their friends who referred me...

(You get the point, isn't it?)

Posted by Praful Thakkar, Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale (LAER Realty Partners) about 3 years ago

I've been fortunate while working with friends and family!  But, we are a pretty congenial bunch!

Posted by Myrl Jeffcoat, Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent (GreatWest Realty) about 3 years ago

Good morning Margaret. I agree with you completely period. If someone I considered a friend went in another direction I would be heartbroken.

Posted by Sheila Anderson, The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133 (Referral Group Incorporated) about 3 years ago

I've worked for both friends and relatives, and have turned down both as well. Just yesterday I told a relative that it wouldn't make any sense for me to write an offer for them, and that they should contact an agent in the area where they are buying. So it's both- Yay and No. It's just depends on what makes the most sense and what's in everyones best interest.

Posted by Jeff Pearl, Full Service Full Time Realtor (RE/MAX Distinctive / LIC in VA) about 3 years ago

 

Right on William Feela 

My commitment to confidentiality is the same as when I was an RN in the hospital. Clients do not have to worry about keeping their business private.

Posted by Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) about 3 years ago

Margaret I've worked with friends for most of my career. They start out as clients and end up part of the 'family'. Many of them know each other. And there are times when it's a good biz decision to refer one on.

Posted by Anna Banana Kruchten Arizona's Top Banana!, 602-380-4886 (HomeSmart Real Estate BR030809000) about 3 years ago

Anna Banana Kruchten, CRS I, too, have worked with friends for my entire career. If they don't start out that way...they usually end up as friends. On a few occasions we make that decision to pass on certain friends.

Posted by Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) about 3 years ago

I feel the same exact way, Margaret! I WANT to take care of them because I know no one will give them the same level of customer service that I do.

It would break my heart if my friends selected another agent too!

Posted by Debe Maxwell, CRS, The right Charlotte REALTOR! (www.iCharlotteHomes.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310) about 3 years ago

I agree BUT it is a dice role. When there are heavy negotiating going on people you may think you know will suddenly become a stranger. If it doesn't end in their favor it is your fault and you become X-friends. It happened to me!

Posted by Marco Giancola, Realtor (305)608-1922, Miami Beach Florida (Beachfront Realty) about 3 years ago

I think many are of the opinion that they will need to show me pay stubs and don't realize that's for the lender to see.

Posted by Rob D. Shepherd, Principal Broker GRI, SRES (Windermere/lane county) about 3 years ago

Hi Margaret

I think it absolutely depends on the relationship and the people involved.  A real estate transaction can be very emotional and that can get in the way in some cases. I've worked with several good friends and family members and it was just fine!

Jeff

Posted by Jeff Dowler, CRS, The Southern California Relocation Dude (eXp Realty of California) about 3 years ago

Hi Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland Thanks for a great post.  I agree that it can be difficult working with friends and family. 

Secrets...whether financial or some other reason do play a part. I believe the fear factor plays a big part as well. Fear of losing a relationship...of sharing a secret totally unrelated to finances or family or friends such as quirkey thing we all see on some listings. 

Another factor is that they think we are too busy...because when they ask us how is business...what do we tell them?

We also many times assume they will ask us to work with them...and yet do not ask us to because they assume we do not want to.

Then there is the "forget factor".  They forget what we do because we do not tell them.  Yes...it does happen.

I am very selective which friends and family I work with and they all know it. If I do not...or more likely cannot...work with them, I do ask if I can refer them to a specific agent. I do not get mad or upset if they do not use me. I also tell them they cannot ask me any questions since I am not their agent.

I am comfortable with how I do it and I know that my friends and family account for less than 1% of the people that are my potential clients.

Thank you for sharing you thoughts!

Posted by Mike McCann - Nebraska Farm Land Broker, Farm Land For Sale 308-627-3700 or 800-241-3940 (Mike McCann - Broker, Mach1 Realty Farmland Broker-Auctioneer Serving Rural Nebraska) about 3 years ago

I don't even need to know anything about their financial info. I do not prequal buyers myself, I send them to my lender who gets their financials and sends me their prequal letter - just tells me how much they can spend.  For sellers, all I ask is how much do they owe on their mortgage and if there are other loans against the property. That's it - I am on a "Need to Know" basis - I don't need to know much, just the basics!

Posted by Karen Rice, Northeast PA & Lake Wallenpaupack Home Sales (Davis R. Chant, REALTORS) about 3 years ago

This is similar in dynamics of having an affair. It is well known not to do it at work or in your little world. Why? When all the problems surface they are closer instead of being distant making ones problems larger than life. Same with large amounts of money and power as well as fame too. The heat is on & it's HOT

Posted by Richie Alan Naggar, agent & author (people first...then business Ran Right Realty ) about 3 years ago

Great response from Richie above, however,  I just wonder why we feel so slighted when a relative or close friend passes on us.

Posted by Jill Sackler, LI South Shore Real Estate - Broker Associate (Charles Rutenberg Realty Inc. 516-575-7500) about 3 years ago

If you're good and a fit, the do it.  Just be sure to set expectations.  Some friends want a "discount" for friendship.  If you have to buy it, then they're not a friend.

Posted by Mick Michaud, Your Texas Lifestyle is Here! (Distinctly Texas Lifestyle Properties, LLC Office:682/498-3107) about 3 years ago

Jill Sackler We are human and it hurts when a friend or relative does not give us the chance to turn them down. 

Posted by Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) about 3 years ago

Mick Michaud It has to be your business decision

Posted by Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) about 3 years ago

Richie Alan Naggar Thanks for your text.

Posted by Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) about 3 years ago

Margaret- so glad this was featured.  Why wouldn't we want to have the very best at what they do helping us when we need help. (my good friend, a nurse anesthetist, knocked me out when I had a procedure. I'm glad she was there!) And if we feel that it would be best if we didn't work with the, we should feel comfortable saying so. 

Posted by Kathy Streib, Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224 (Room Service Home Staging) about 3 years ago

Hi Margaret, Of course I want to work with my friends, collegues, family members. I feel like I am the best choice and they will be totally represented.

Posted by Debbie Reynolds, Your Dedicated Clarksville TN Real Estate Agent (Platinum Properties) about 3 years ago

I WISH more of my friends would work with me. But sometimes, you will find out more personal stuff that you never knew (Like debt when they try to qualify, etc) but it does hurt when they use someone else. 

Posted by Thom Abbott, Midtown Atlanta GA Condos For Sale (MyMidtownMojo.com |770.713.1505 | Intown Atlanta GA Condo Living) about 3 years ago

Kathy Streib I would want my best friend working for me. Like you, friends look out for friends! Maybe others are not talking about for real friends.

Posted by Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) about 3 years ago

Debbie Reynolds You are so right....

"I feel like I am the best choice and they will be totally represented."

Posted by Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) about 3 years ago

 

Thom Abbott Finding out their situation is not the problem...not keeping it confidential is !!!

Posted by Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) about 3 years ago

Had a fellow who's best friend was an agent but still called me to size up the house and handle the listing. I wondered why and asked and learned who the guy did not want his friend to get the commission, did not think he would work as hard because too familiar and did not think he would provide the service due to his increasing age.

Posted by Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573, Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker (MOOERS REALTY) about 3 years ago

I agree that working with friends is decided on an individual basis.

We must be honest with ourselves as to whether we can emotionally give them the quality service they need.

For example, a divorcing couple that are both are friend can be a very difficult situation to be in.

Posted by John Wiley, Lee County, FL, ECO Broker, GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA about 3 years ago

Good morning Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland ,

It does depend on the relationship and it is a business decision on both ends, you and your friend. If you are the best why should family or friends not use your services? I've successful worked with family and friends and it was a great experience. My first family member was my son when he got out of college..I asked him where he wanted to live? Then I said get in the car we are going to find something! He is a broker of his own company now and has many rental properties....he quickly learned why it is best to own rather than rent.

Posted by Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR, Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate (Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.750.6899) about 3 years ago

My concern with people choosing relatives to represent them over a better agent is exactly that. Most do not know how to determine who is a good agent. Guy's got a license, must be good, is what they think. Better off with family than a stranger sort of mentality. So I agree with you, Margaret, if that person is the BEST agent for them, then go ahead. But most of the time, it's not.

If I had a friend, I might work with that person. Depends on how much they might expect special favors. How reasonable they are. Just like anybody else.

Posted by Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Realtor Top 1%, Put 40 years of experience to work for you (RE/MAX Gold) about 3 years ago

John Wiley A divorcing couple can be a challenge for anyone. Emotions can be high all around and you have to be up for the situation.

Posted by Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) about 3 years ago

I personally don't want to do business with anyone who feels uncomfortable doing business with me, so, it depends on the circumstances and whether it's suitable and beneficial to both you and client to enter a contract.  I don't get emotional when family members or friends choose another agent to represent them and I don't seek to ask why.

Business decisions are made every day and unfortunately many end up with inferior consequences. If you're confident in your abilities, working with anybody shouldn't ever be an issue regardless who it is as long as it's suitable and beneficial for both parties. 

Posted by Kimo Jarrett, Pro Lifestyle Solutions (WikiWiki Realty) about 3 years ago

Kimo Jarrett great comment. This would make a really good stand alone blog. 

Posted by Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) about 3 years ago

I saw sides of two long time friends years ago when I listed their home.  The darkest ugliest sides that I had not seen in 17 and 40 years.  Listings were canceled by me and I no longer associate with them.  That does not mean I put a blanket over all friends and won't work with friends ever again. It just means I helped some friends in the past and saw their inner ugly. 

I am not on this plantet to be abused my anyone ... most certainly not by clients.  We live. We learn. We grow. 

Posted by Kathleen Daniels, San Jose Homes for Sale-Probate & Trust Specialist (KD Realty - 408.972.1822) about 3 years ago

Kathleen Daniels We have all seen the dark ugly  side of buyers and sellers whether they are friends or not. We have all taken on the toxic client and we have gotten wiser by knowing it is our choice to cut them loose. We do live, learn and grow. Thank you.

Posted by Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) about 3 years ago

Dear Margaret,

Gaining a commission is not worth losing a friend. If they are not comfortable, the experience may go sideways despite our best efforts. For those, who are comfortable, our relationships may be strengthened by going through a complex process & overcoming obstacles together.

Posted by Dörte Engel, ABC - Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton & rest of Maryland (RE/MAX Leading Edge) about 3 years ago

Dörte Engel Gaining a commission is not worth working with anyone  you don't choose.

Posted by Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) about 3 years ago

Dear Margaret,

Very true.

Posted by Dörte Engel, ABC - Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton & rest of Maryland (RE/MAX Leading Edge) about 3 years ago

My 23-year old son is buying his first house. When he asked for my help, he assumed I would refer him out (he's buying in Nashville, not my usual market). I told him absolutely not. I would be working for him because I wanted him to get the best possible representation. Given that he travels a lot for work, he is beginning to see why a good agent is so important to the process. Hopefully, we'll have him under contract soon.

Posted by Tammie White, Broker, Franklin TN Homes for Sale (Franklin Homes Realty LLC) about 3 years ago

Tammie White Knowing you...he will be under contract soon. How proud you must be helping this young man! Keep us posted.

Posted by Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) about 3 years ago

Run into this issue as well when doing home inspections. I treat each inspection the same, no matter who I represent. In some cases, I give a discount for a friend or a military member, but I never compromise my work. Also, I won't alter the report after the fact at the buyer request in order to give them more leverage to lower the price. Some have asked. ((i.e. re word something (defect) so it sounds more severe)).

Posted by Walt Fish, Upper Michigan's Most Experienced Home Inspector (Bay Area Home Inspection, LLC) about 3 years ago

those are good questions to ask.  There are some friends I am extremely close to and I think:  I would not want to sell their home.  Too close. Can be so stressful. i would find an agent just as good as me and refer it.

Posted by Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR, Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area (Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes) about 3 years ago

Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR Only you can make these decisions about who you work with. 

Posted by Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) about 3 years ago

We have worked with many friends and family in the past.  This is not something I stay away from. -Kasey

Posted by Kasey & John Boles, Boise & Meridian, ID Ada/Canyon/Gem/Boise Counties (Jon Gosche Real Estate, LLC - BoiseMeridianRealEstate.com) about 3 years ago

Kasey & John Boles And I am sure you have helped many friends and family members over the years.

Posted by Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) about 3 years ago

It is yes for me. It is amazing to work with people you love. Yes, it can be challenging, but every relationships have ups and downs. When you have a proper communication, establish and maintain respectful boundaries~ nothing can stop you. 

Posted by Inna Ivchenko, Realtor® • Green • GRI • HAFA • PSC Calabasas CA (Barcode Properties) over 2 years ago

Inna Ivchenko If you are the best, wouldn't you want the best for your friends? I always like it when you stop by!

Posted by Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) over 2 years ago

Wonderful, accurate and insightful points Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland. Our take was a little bit cautionary (worst case scenario) - but I love how you make clear exceptions and distinctions to things. - Tim

Posted by PropertyMinder (AccelerAgent), Modern Tools for the Modern Agent (PropertyMinder, Inc.) over 2 years ago

PropertyMinder (AccelerAgent)  It is important to like and respect everyone you choose to work with. Thanks for stopping by.

Posted by Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) over 2 years ago

Absolutely, Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland! Thanks again for your post (+ for the follow!) Have a great Friday.  - Tim 

Posted by PropertyMinder (AccelerAgent), Modern Tools for the Modern Agent (PropertyMinder, Inc.) over 2 years ago

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