My friends were thrilled to be putting their home on the market. The empty nest felt expansive and overwhelming:  they made their decision, rang me up and started packing up the tchotchkes in preparation for the photos. The one big downside to their downsize would be telling their other Realtor© friend they’d listed with me.

This is not an uncommon scenario for real estate agents; everyone has a friend or twelve in the business and Realtors© are a social bunch. You meet someone at a gathering, strike up a conversation about the market, put them in your database, follow up with them regularly and drive by their home a year later to find another gal’s sign in the yard. Sometimes you get “the phone call”, which is nice… sort of. Nice because they’ve shown great grace in making the difficult call but rejection requires an equally graceful response. But it happens. Things happen, people make decisions all the time for reasons of their own and a good agent knows it’s not personal.  If the Realtor who sold you the house has retained your loyalty, props to that agent. Statistics show the number one reason sellers don’t use the same agent is because once the deal was closed they never heard from him again.

So, can you work with friends? My answer: some of them.

Buying or selling your house means juggling emotions, finances, paperwork, inspections and rolls of packing tape is enough to make you want to chuck it all and run away with the circus; the last thing you need is a clown for an agent, even if that clown is your best friend.  But if that red-nosed friend has character…

Most of my business comes from friends or their referrals, and many of my referrals become my friends. A close working relationship is crucial in the home buying process, but if it’s not based on great communication then a bit of distance might help to keep things sane.

What about that family member, or the family friend? I mean, who’s gonna have your back if not your family? I hate to say it but the most difficult client I’ve ever had was my sister. Not because she’s a difficult woman, convivial would be a more apt description, but family relationships can pack more powder than a clown being shot from a canon. I felt that extra pressure to get things right and make her happy, because if the water heater went out in a month it’d be my fault, right?  In the trenches of a transaction it’s nice to have your agent say “Let me think about that and get back to you”, not “Remember how many dresses you had to try on before the prom? Just pick a house and buy it!”  With all good intentions, knowing everything about each other could be a drawback. ( Of course, if she hired another agent, I’d have to sick the Shriners on her.)

I find what works best is an unequal partnership, one where an agent of character offers sound advice as a trusted counselor to a trusting client who is in command. I want to know my clients feel 100% right about their decisions, supported and informed every step of the way. Even if those steps are made in a pair of big red shoes.
*honks horn*