Author Topic: Using a friend as your agent - bad idea?  (Read 1570 times)

nereo

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Using a friend as your agent - bad idea?
« on: July 28, 2019, 08:59:07 AM »
Subject pretty much sums it up.  I have a friend (not terribly close, but more than an acquaintance) who's offered to be my real estate agent when searching for a new home in a new-to-us area.  I've heard people say never to have your friend as your lawyer or your doctor - but would you hesitate to work with someone you know well when buying a home? 

One potential positive is that she knows our style and needs/wants pretty well.

Tyler durden

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Re: Using a friend as your agent - bad idea?
« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2019, 11:17:14 AM »
Hi - I wouldn’t hesitate. A good friend is less likely to push you into any sale just to get a commission. Not that all real estate agents do that. As long as they know their stuff about the local area and do a good job helping you negotiate I would worry.

nereo

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Re: Using a friend as your agent - bad idea?
« Reply #2 on: July 28, 2019, 01:48:40 PM »
Are they looking for a full 3% commission?
We haven't gotten that far in discussion - it was more like "well I'd love to help you guys find a place", and I said "hmmm, I'll think about it".

In my head the arrangement would be the same as with any other realtor, including the commission. Maybe she'd cut us a break, but I wouldn't ask her to. FWIW, this area is fairly LCOL.

SwordGuy

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Re: Using a friend as your agent - bad idea?
« Reply #3 on: July 28, 2019, 02:00:04 PM »
If you were selling, I would say, "Not unless your friend has a track record of selling houses quickly."

Buying?  Sure.

Sibley

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Re: Using a friend as your agent - bad idea?
« Reply #4 on: July 28, 2019, 07:40:49 PM »
Only if you're willing to lose the friend if everything went sideways.

Freedomin5

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Re: Using a friend as your agent - bad idea?
« Reply #5 on: July 28, 2019, 08:11:47 PM »
Just out of curiosity, why would you immediately buy in a new-to-you area? Wouldn’t it make more sense to rent for the first year or two until you’re familiar with the area so that you can make a more informed decision when purchasing?

nereo

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Re: Using a friend as your agent - bad idea?
« Reply #6 on: July 29, 2019, 04:57:08 AM »
Just out of curiosity, why would you immediately buy in a new-to-you area? Wouldn’t it make more sense to rent for the first year or two until you’re familiar with the area so that you can make a more informed decision when purchasing?

Not a bad question, and one we are debating ourselves.  The main reason is that this is a college town of limited size with inexpensive SFHs, so the Rent v. Buy equation skews heavily towards "buy".  We'd also likely rent out a room to a student, which would be enough to cover the mortgage (that's how skewed it is).  My main hobby (woodworking) also doesn't lend itself well to most rentals, and I'm tired of having most of my tools packed away.

We still might rent for several months/year before buying - but if an appropriate unit came along we are poised to buy.

Dogastrophe

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Re: Using a friend as your agent - bad idea?
« Reply #7 on: July 29, 2019, 05:09:58 AM »
We used a friend when we sold our house and bought our next place - no issues and wouldn't hesitate to do it again.  On the sell side, he dropped the commission % a couple points below standard for the area.  Hooked us up with a great stager;  brought in a professional photographer; sold within 24 hours

We originally wanted to rent a condo for a year or two to see if we'd enjoy "apartment" living again.  He did a bit of leg work for us to locate rental units in condo buildings.  In the end we bought a unit which was an unexpected commission bonus for him.

nereo

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Re: Using a friend as your agent - bad idea?
« Reply #8 on: July 29, 2019, 05:16:48 AM »
Only if you're willing to lose the friend if everything went sideways.
Curious how sideways buying a house could go that we'd lose a friend.  As I see it, a realtor helps you locate properties and negotiate a price.  I'd still rely on my own inspectors and judgement to ensure the place was sound.  She is an experienced realtor having sold over a dozen places in the last two years -- I'd be shocked if she made some incompetent mistake.

To your question (and not to sound harsh) - I think we'd be ok losing this friend, as she lives far enough away we only see her 3-4x a year.  I just have a hard time imaging how this could break our friendship... if you have examples please share.

ender

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Re: Using a friend as your agent - bad idea?
« Reply #9 on: July 29, 2019, 06:01:03 AM »
Anecdotal but we used a mentor figure as our realtor when we bought our house and it was good, because they knew more about our life (and we were more comfortable sharing more too) and could help us make a good informed decision as a result.

A Fella from Stella

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Re: Using a friend as your agent - bad idea?
« Reply #10 on: July 31, 2019, 08:56:33 AM »
I like doing business with friends when I can. If you like her as a person, and she's been a realtor for a couple years, then I would say use her. Also, you're the buyer, so discussion on the commission shouldn't be brought up.

Sibley

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Re: Using a friend as your agent - bad idea?
« Reply #11 on: August 02, 2019, 02:14:44 PM »
Only if you're willing to lose the friend if everything went sideways.
Curious how sideways buying a house could go that we'd lose a friend.  As I see it, a realtor helps you locate properties and negotiate a price.  I'd still rely on my own inspectors and judgement to ensure the place was sound.  She is an experienced realtor having sold over a dozen places in the last two years -- I'd be shocked if she made some incompetent mistake.

To your question (and not to sound harsh) - I think we'd be ok losing this friend, as she lives far enough away we only see her 3-4x a year.  I just have a hard time imaging how this could break our friendship... if you have examples please share.

I don't actually know how sideways it could go to ruin a friendship. Maybe she was incompetent and lost you a sale as a result? But its a very good question to ask yourself every time you're considering using a friend for a product/service. I don't ask friends to help me move - I'd rather be mad at a company (who has insurance), than my friend when something breaks.

nereo

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Re: Using a friend as your agent - bad idea?
« Reply #12 on: August 03, 2019, 04:46:18 AM »
Thanks everyone for the thoughtful feedback
Update: the question has become moot, as my friend i had a vacation planned the week we wanted to look at places, so she's transferred us to her co-worker, who we like working with thus far.  We still get suggestions and advice from her which is good.

iris lily

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Re: Using a friend as your agent - bad idea?
« Reply #13 on: August 10, 2019, 07:22:05 AM »
One of our closer friends is a polished, hard working real estate pro, one Are the most successful ones in our neighborhood and  we have already purchased two properties through him. These properties were small, grungy things not his usual style of property,  but he treated us like we were buying $1 million property.

So yeah, when the time comes to sell our house we will definitely use him.

YttriumNitrate

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Re: Using a friend as your agent - bad idea?
« Reply #14 on: August 10, 2019, 07:35:37 AM »
Just one anecdote, but my parents used a friend to sell their house, and it was a complete disaster. The house sat on the market for six months despite being a red-hot market, they spent $25k on unnecessary repairs (the house was knocked down), the photographs/staging were atrocious (photos of a million dollar house taken by an ammeter with a cell phone), and there were big errors in the stats listed in the MLS.

My suggestion is to use your friend if they are the most qualified/best agent in the area, but chances are there's probably someone better out there.

MoneyMatrix

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Re: Using a friend as your agent - bad idea?
« Reply #15 on: August 12, 2019, 05:41:00 PM »
I would be careful about how well the friend knows the area.  If you use an agent from out of an area, you can run into a lot of issues that a local would catch.  In my area I would almost use different agents to look in different neighborhoods.

I personally would use an agent to look in their "farm" area where they are an expert, especially if you are new to the area.
Anyhow, something to consider.

MrSpendy

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Re: Using a friend as your agent - bad idea?
« Reply #16 on: August 12, 2019, 09:08:52 PM »
Things vary by market, but we used Zillow/Redfin for the search process and then used a rebate broker who rebated us all but 0.9% of the 2.5% buyer’s agent commission, saving us $16K (houses are super expensive where we live). The rebate broker specialized in people who did the search on their own so she had a lot of transactional experience but not a ton of market knowledge which was fine with us because cohnterintuitivelh the competition in the market made this less important (homes lost on Thursday and sell on Tuesday, you escalate to the max you want to pay and don’t get or get the house)

It was pure business. If she were a friend and was full service, I’d feel kind of odd asking for a fat discount. Consider exploring other options re buyers agents.

It sounds like the savings from a different model agent may not be worth it given the price of real estate where you are, just saying that full service / full commission may or may not be the best option.





Adam Zapple

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Re: Using a friend as your agent - bad idea?
« Reply #17 on: August 22, 2019, 02:37:45 PM »
Only if you're willing to lose the friend if everything went sideways.
Curious how sideways buying a house could go that we'd lose a friend.  As I see it, a realtor helps you locate properties and negotiate a price.  I'd still rely on my own inspectors and judgement to ensure the place was sound.  She is an experienced realtor having sold over a dozen places in the last two years -- I'd be shocked if she made some incompetent mistake.

To your question (and not to sound harsh) - I think we'd be ok losing this friend, as she lives far enough away we only see her 3-4x a year.  I just have a hard time imaging how this could break our friendship... if you have examples please share.

I had a family friend help us buy our first house.  It was a huge mistake mostly because she is not a very good realtor and we were naive first time buyers.  We found a house we liked and put in an offer.  There was mention of a sewer assessment on the property.  Being naive, we assumed this was a small fee of little consequence.  Our realtor never investigated it for us.  Turned out to be a $20k assessment.  That deal fell through. 

Next house we loved was next to a brook.  Put in an offer and got to closing just to find out the house is in a FEMA flood zone and is required by law to carry $2600 a year flood insurance.  Another surprise I felt my realtor should have caught as the paid "expert." We knew very little about real estate at the time.

The worst part is I really like this person and don't know how to break it to her that she will not be listing our house when we sell nor will she be helping us find our next house.  Terrific person, lousy realtor.