In Laws, Out Laws, and Why It Don't Pay to Work with Family

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Realty Group

Over the past several years, I'm been surprised about the misinformation about working with a Realtor.  Nobody seems to know "the drill".   You never hear it explained on TV or radio.  Unless you've been through it, most people don't know.   It would be helpful.  There's A LOT of misinformation out there.

I recently followed up on a lead for someone looking for foreclosures in our area.  I asked her if she was currently working with an agent.  She said that she was.  She was working with her cousin.  Before I could say anything else, she exploded with how awful her experience was.   She said that her cousin was depressed and so broke that she had to pick HIM up because he couldn't afford gas.  She said she couldn't fire him - "He's family!" and besides, "I won't have to pay commission."  What???

I've successfully worked with buyers who were previously working with family.  The business relationship wasn't working for these buyers because they felt that the family member wasn't making enough time for them or giving them the service that they deserved, or lived anywhere near the area where they wanted to look.  Yet, they feel duty-bound to work with their brother/uncle/cousin because they were family. 

Recently, I worked very successfully with someone previously working with a family member.  On our initial call, he explained that it wasn't working out with his brother-in-law.   I asked him if they had discussed this yet.   He said, "Yes, he told me to work with someone else."  OH!  He turned out to be a great client.

My favorite story is about my client who had friends and family in the real estate business.   My client got a referral from his trusted lender.  His comment, "I want to work with someone I can fire."   Now that actually does make sense.

I guess like so many things in life, it can get sticky when you mix business with personal relationships.  So many agents would do well to refer the business to someone that they would use if they were looking to buy or sell.

My daughter's boyfriend is looking to buy his first home.  It's 75 miles away from where I live.  I've got a great referral for him.  Do you know that I actually considered taking this on myself!!  Then I sobered up, and took my own advice.

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Contact Jane Taylor for all your Gaithersburg MD area real estate needs.



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  1. Roy Kelley 03/31/2010 09:18 AM
working with a realtor

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Sonja Patterson
Keller Williams - BV - College Station, TX
Texas Monthly 5-Star Realtor Recipient for the Hou

Good job, Jane!! That would have been quite a drive, wouldn't it!?  Glad you had someone you could refer it out to. :)

Mar 31, 2010 09:28 AM #1
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