Judge and the Jury

Real Estate Agent with Century 21 Liberty Homes RS-#62825

 Should family and friends get involved and give their "advice" in the property selling or purchase process of their family/friends when they are not a real estate agent? That is the question and "court is in session"!

In life situations, as in business I believe there are two sides to everything. ALWAYS. Otherwise, how would I come to a decision of any one point being made?

In this case I will look at the pros and cons of "helping" family and friends with their real estate decisions when they have an agent. It can be beneficial or it could be detrimental in the sale or purchase of the property.

Please give your input so I can add to this list and in the end we all can come to a decision (or opinion) together to give insight to others as well.

The pros of having family and friends getting involved with the sale of the property:

  • The family/friend is "associated" with the Real Estate Industry and knows "some" of what is going on and feels that they can benefit their family/friend.
  • They are emotionally involved because they are friends/family and feel they can "help" them with not getting "ripped off"
  • They "care" about their family/friend and want to make sure that anything "bad" about the property should be addressed.
  • They could be helping them get a better deal because of all of the above.

The cons of having family and friends getting involved with the sale of the property:

  • The emotional involvement can alter the "advice" they are giving because everything is looked at in an emotional state and not in a professional business sense.
  • They do not have a real estate license and aren't qualified or licensed to give advise.
  • They may cost them the sale if they are giving incorrect information.
  • They will be blamed by the family/friend if the sale is jeopardized.
  • They already have a real estate professional who is assisting them and that real estate professional is not letting emotion get in the way of their better judgement. ( I could go on an on but we get the idea here)
  • Added stress is doubled...may be tripled ..for the decision making process for the client because there are "too many" chiefs for a decision the client should be making with the assistance of their agent.

Believe me, I have been in several transactions where the family or friends are giving their advice. It was stressful and a struggle to prove that I was THE professional and worthy of listening to. I also took into consideration that the family member was "highly trusted" and it made the job harder although at times I had to show understanding and compassion when trying to get MY point across when the family/friend was wrong.

My opinion is I do not appreciate when others get involved because it most often than not jeopardizes a transaction and stresses the client out to no end. I have had instances where the buyer/seller put everything on hold because of it.

A real estate transaction is always stressful for all parties involved and with a real estate professional's sound advice we are geared to take on the stress and make the transaction as smooth as possible.

Now...the jury is in.....let's hear from you all.




Celeste "Sally" Cheeseman, RA     * Century 21 Liberty Homes*

95-2214 Kipapa Drive, Mililani, HI  96789

Direct Contact:  808-375-1404                                                          


Celeste "Sally" Cheeseman's Mililani Hawaii Real Estate Blog 2007©

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Hawaii Relocations



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Celeste "Sally" Cheeseman  is a Realtor-Associate® and Certified Residential Specialist (CRS) with Century 21 Liberty Homes in Mililani, Hawaii. With a sharp understanding that a listening ear is the key to a client's needs  she serves the island of Oahu (Honolulu County) and all Hawaii Military Relocations, Hawaii Retirees, Hawaii Job Transfers and Hawaii Residents, Home Buyers and Sellers.


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Hawaii Real Estate and Relocation Blog.

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Celeste "SALLY" Cheeseman
Century 21 Liberty Homes - Mililani, HI

Susie: We sure do ...get what we get...we have the ability to choose...although how many would turn down a client just because the family wants to help their "baby".

Kathy: No...that doesn't help decide...you folks do...silly :)

Sep 29, 2007 04:51 AM #65
delete account
Clayton, MO
This is a great post Sally...then again most of your are. :) I think it really depends on the situation and the family member or friend. I'll have to think about this some more.
Sep 29, 2007 05:08 AM #66
Celeste "SALLY" Cheeseman
Century 21 Liberty Homes - Mililani, HI
Pamela:  I presume that it really is a personal choice if we work with clients...regardless of what comes with them.
Sep 29, 2007 05:27 AM #67
Kathy McGraw
CELLing Realty - White Water, CA
Riverside County CA Real Estate
Hey Sally- I spelled jury jusy  and you didn't comment.....I will leave it for 15 minutes then change it :) :) Darn, I have to stop trying to type so fast, but I can be a good jury member....my mind works:)
Sep 29, 2007 07:39 AM #68
Celeste "SALLY" Cheeseman
Century 21 Liberty Homes - Mililani, HI
Kathy:  I like jusy. ....haha. I don't comment on the post about people's spelling......especially on mine. ha!
Sep 29, 2007 07:46 AM #69
Kaye Thomas
Real Estate West - Manhattan Beach, CA
e-PRO, Manhattan Beach CA

Sally.. Great question.. and always a potential problem with any transaction.. I've found that it helps if you know there will be others involved upfront and you have an opportunity to help them realize that you  ( the agent) are honest and trustworthy and have their son, daughter,friend, relative's best interests at heart.  I would rather they show up at the first home tour and go along on every trip then show up the day before closing. 

Sep 29, 2007 07:55 AM #70
Celeste "SALLY" Cheeseman
Century 21 Liberty Homes - Mililani, HI
Kaye: I would like it all the way I like it...ha...doesn't happen that way though. I guess as always...we change like chameleons...to whatever situation arises. (and deal with it lol)
Sep 29, 2007 08:26 AM #71
Ruthmarie Hicks
Keller Williams NY Realty - 120 Bloomingdale Road #101, White Plains NY 10605 - White Plains, NY
In thinking about it, I believe that if you can direct family members to be a POSITIVE influence they can be very helpful. By that I don't mean that they cheer mindlessly at EVERY POSSIBLE DEAL!  What I mean is that they work with the first-time buyer calming nerves and helping them to understand the good and the bad and working with their long-term goals.  Also, helping with likes and dislikes.  These people KNOW your buyers and they know them better than we ever could in the short time we have with them. So, if you enlist them to help in a positive way, you may get positive results.  However, when you get someone set on killing deals, you have to be prepared to "take charge" of the situation.  I went so far as saying that the parents of one client would be welcome AFTER there was an accepted offer.  This ruffled feathers, but these folks were just death to ANY deal, no matter how rational.  If that doesn't work - you may have to dump the client. You aren't going to get a sale with that type of situation.
Sep 29, 2007 09:03 AM #72
Celeste "SALLY" Cheeseman
Century 21 Liberty Homes - Mililani, HI
Ruthmarie: All different ways to look at the situation and certainly different ways to deal with each. Bottom line...we change and conform to each situation and as professionals find a way to make it work...as smoothly as possible. Good one.
Sep 29, 2007 09:05 AM #73
Midori Miller
Talk 2 Midori, LLC - Daytona Beach, FL
Digital Marketing Director

Hi Sally-I tend to agree with TLW, there are several sides to a story.  We all see life different including buying and selling real estate.   Next I am very involved in my parents selling their house.  Yes I would not have it any other way.  My parents gave me my life so if they want my advice or want me highly involved that is the least I can do.  

Neal is quite capable but again, he and I look at the buying and selling process differently so if we put our two heads together and work together....we may have a shot and get it sold!  A 

I don't mind if family gets involved with the home purchase and selling.  Been down that route many times.  

I think in these instances you have to really have great communications.  One of my first transactions....2 kids getting married, future in laws, huge family....they all attended everything including the inspections, the walk thru and the closing.  There were times, I had to remind them I was the professional realtor, they were the family... 

For me I always have told the buyer that while the whole family will give their opinion and ideas.  Remember you are the one making the mortgage payment.  It's your decision, plain and simple.

If my sons were buying a house I would be involved, they would make the decisions but I would help them along especially if I felt that there was something not right or the transaction did not benefit them.  You can bet I would put my 2 cents in. 



Sep 29, 2007 09:47 PM #74
Jo-Anne Smith
Oakville, ON

Sally,  I think it is entirely dependent on the situation...some parents/family members are there strictly for emotional support whereas some of them take over the whole process and the one buying the house loses out due to the parent/family member badmouthing it to death.

It is preferable though, to be only dealing with the homebuyer(s) themselves.......


Sep 30, 2007 02:57 AM #75
Celeste "SALLY" Cheeseman
Century 21 Liberty Homes - Mililani, HI

Midori: I think that's the main thing here....conforming to each transaction (family or not) as we have to anyway.

Jo: Me too...like the first comment...it depends.

Sep 30, 2007 04:46 AM #76
Kerry Jenkins
Prime Properties - Crestline, CA

I think that it is OK to have family come with you, particularly if you are a first time homebuyer, because it is an emotional huge purchase.  Having advice from a friend or family member should be taken as just that, advice, and not the last truth.  You are paying the mortgage, not them. What they ultimately say shouldn't have the absolute decision making deal breaker/maker. 

This happened when I had a condo listed.  The family came with this lady and her daughter.  They were placing furniture and all signs positive to wanting to buy this condo.  The family began in with how can you want to live here?  It's so small?  You should try to get a house, yadda yadda yadda.  Well, the buyer's agent told me that her buyer couldn't afford a house, they'd already looked at houses, and it was out of her range.  I guess the family lives in Arizona in a huge 3000 square foot home. This type of advice isn't welcome or helpful in any way.

I am showing houses with a young couple who has mom along. Mom and daughter seem to be taking the front role and shoving husband aside.  That I don't agree with, since mom isn't living here or paying the mortgage for her daughter and son in law. There were many great houses that we saw in their price range, and mom kept giving her opinion freely as to the more expensive ones...

When my husband and  I just bought our first house, we didn't ask anyone's advice, or take anyone along with us. We looked at one home and since I am a Realtor and have seen all the other ones in our price range, knew this one was the one.  I didn't have to convice my husband because he saw the potential and the beauty of this house right away.  After we opened escrow I took a friend and colleague along to look at it, and back then it looked run down and awful because it wasn't well taken care of by the previous tenants.  She kept saying are you sure you want to buy this?  WHy don't you buy a lot and build a house?

OK, cause we can't afford it?  No money down?  Because this will have almost instant equity since it's priced 60K under what others are selling for?


Sep 30, 2007 06:56 AM #77
Christopher Walker
Mission Grove Realty Inc. - Hemet, CA
Local Broker and Realtor - Hemet & San Jacinto, CA
inevitable that they do get involved, will get involved and may change the outcome of a transaction. Unfortunate at times but, expected as family will all want to have a say. Should they get involved? I think that they should but only to offer direction and advice based on their experiences. They should also have some faith in their choice of real estate professional but I do not expect that to happen. We all have to laugh, if only to ourselves, at the advice that is sometimes given. ( "In 6 months you will be able to buy the same house for a third the price")  That is a common one now. I just sit back and take in the information from family members when they are involved. I take notes about the various points and then address them individually with my client  without the family. They can then take the information back and discuss again....with facts to share. Thanks SALLY!
Sep 30, 2007 07:20 AM #78
Celeste "SALLY" Cheeseman
Century 21 Liberty Homes - Mililani, HI

Amy: I did the same when buying my townhouse. In fact, I already knew the complex well, the tenant was making it hard to show...so I just put the offer and looked at it at home inspection time. And here I am.

Chris: Hey...that was a great evaluation. ....and true. Only the buyer has the last say but family and friends...whom they trust seem to have a say as well. I just deal with whatever comes up from ALL of them :)

Sep 30, 2007 08:58 AM #79
Art Blanchet
On the Outside Lookin' In - Sebastian, FL
Stranger in a Warm Land


I give my kids advice ALL THE TIME (they're all over 18 now) and many times end it with this caveat,

 "It's just my advice.  Now remember, if advice had any value, people wouldn't be giving it away..."

Everyone is an expert.  My brother has an antique business (which he has to tweak to match the market) and at one point posted a classified asking people to invite him into their attics and basements to look at their treasures and see if they had anything of value to sell.  He said this was OK - but it was ruined because of Antiques Road Show (ARS)Everyone thinks they have a priceless heirloom.

A typical offer could go something like this: 

Mark:  "I like this table.  Would you accept $100 for it?"

Homeowner:  $100?!?!  There was on IDENTICAL to it on ARS that just went for $25,000!!!"

Mark:  "That's true, it was identical.  Except the one on TV was 300 years old, yours is 30.  The TV one was handmade by a reknowned furniture builder, yours is an assembly line reproduction.  The TV one was in perfect condition, yours has a leg missing.  The TV one has an immaculate finish, yours was in a fire, has 11 coats of cheap paint, and was eaten by termites.  And the TV one was made of solid wood, and has intricate carving and inlaid ivory  - yours is particle board and plastic with pseudo veneers.  So $100 is all I can go, but they ARE identical except for those little differences.  Maybe someone else will give you what you want..."

A LITTLE knowledge is a dangerous thing, mostly because it wastes time, confuses the client, trivializes the true professional, and kills deals. 

Next time you're in for heart surgery, tell your physician what your alcoholic Uncle Wilbur says should be the procedure.  Then ask if he can match Uncle Wilbur's fee.

(Then update your will.)

That was MY free advice to YOU!

Oct 01, 2007 03:31 AM #80
Thomas Weiss
Thomas R. Weiss - West Palm Beach, FL


I am sorry I didn't get here sooner, My computer died!! I think anyone who gives advice, needs to be educated in the Business first, or else they are just talking Frivilous!!! But I have written about this before, and I think it's a bad idea to have them involved.

Tom Weiss

Oct 01, 2007 03:34 AM #81
Celeste "SALLY" Cheeseman
Century 21 Liberty Homes - Mililani, HI

Art:  Do I want FREE advise? lol!  Thanks for your input...always nice to "see" ya~!

Tom:  I still say...it would depend on the situation. I don't turn the family away unless they're causing trouble.

Oct 01, 2007 03:55 AM #82
Chad Baird
Re/Max Spirit - Dayton, OH

I was at a friends cookout last weekend.  His father just sold his house and is looking for a new home.  I was looking at his listing sheets they were considereing and recognized an agents photo.  I remarked "I would love to punch him in the nose".  The father heard me and said "Thats my agent!  Is he a bad agent?"

I relized my error and had to ease his mind.  The agent is a Very agent, just a very tough negotiator.  Then he likes to rub it in a little, but in a friendly way.  I really do like the other agent.  The father is very well represented.  If he has any concerns he could also tell his agent what I said and the other agent will laugh and know why I would make such a comment.  He was at ease. 

It became really clear that I do have to be careful about what I say, even in social situations because I am a Real Estate Professional.  My comments could be taken out of context and kill a whole deal.  Based on that one comment, The father was ready to fire his agent, and likely use me going forward. 

I pretty much take the stance:  I will be supportive but not discuss the details or negative issues that come up.  Talk tour agent.  I will only talk in general terms. 


Oct 01, 2007 04:01 AM #83
Celeste "SALLY" Cheeseman
Century 21 Liberty Homes - Mililani, HI
Chad: Good points as well. I believe I do the same as it will only be another issue of the buyer/seller not making up their own minds what to do and again...the family will add more stress than what it may be.
Oct 01, 2007 04:05 AM #84
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