Choosing Your Real Estate Agent Shouldn't Be Charity Work

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 SAL.2002007747

Charity work begins at home?Choosing Your Real Estate Agent Shouldn't Be Charity Work

We hear it time and again:  We have to use our relative (or friend or church member) as our agent because they need help with their business!  But should choosing your agent be an act of charity?

And while we appreciate the feeling of obligation,  we have to say this is a time where logic needs to trump emotion.  A home sale or purchase is just too big a financial obligation to risk on loyalty alone.  The wrong choice could alter the course of your life for years to come, so do you want to have that choice in the hands of someone due ONLY to a personal relationship?

That's fine if that personal relationship is backed by the agent's track record of success, but if it's not, imagine the consequences.

Do you want to be sitting at Thanksgiving Dinner muttering under your breath that if cousin Sal had ONLY told you about that development taking over the woods behind your new home you wouldn't have bought it to start with?

Or wanting to duck down the church hallway when you see Brother Pete because you've been on the market 7 months now and other homes sold in one??

Obviously buying or selling a home is big stakes.  Hire your friend or relative  as your agent and you risk losing their friendship or having years of strained family gatherings if things don't work out well.

What you need and DESERVE is an agent:

  • With a track record of success
  • With the skills to meet your needs, buying or selling
  • Communicates and can tell you what you need to hear without worrying about straining your friendship
  • And yes, an agent you can fire without years of awkwardness if it comes to that

Our recommendation, don't hire an agent SOLELY based on a personal relationship, but verify they are pros that can take care of you properly.  Check out their listings online.  Ask for buyer references.  Have they sold one house in the last year or a dozen?  Fifty? And then if they still meet your needs, why not?

But don't make choosing your agent an act of charity.  Save that for the people ringing the bells beside the red buckets this Christmas season.

Have more questions about the home buying or selling process in Ohio?  Call 513-520-5305 or email

Serving Warren County home buyers and sellers,

Liz and Bill aka BLiz

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Serving Warren County Ohio & Adjacent Areas


The Liz Spear Team of RE/MAX Elite
Elizabeth Spear, ABR, CRS, Ohio License SAL.2002007747

William (Bill) Spear, CRS, Ohio License SAL.2004011109  Kentucky 77938
Ask for us by name if you visit the office!

EHO Two locations: Lebanon & Mason, OH
Bill Direct:  513-520-5305
Liz Direct: 513-265-3004     
Fax: 866-302-8418


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Jenna Dixon
DRA Homes | Cobb County Real Estate - Marietta, GA
Empowers You With a Better Real Estate Experience

Choosing the right agent is a big decision, under the best of circumstances buying or selling can be tense, clouding the situation with a personal relationship only adds to that.

Dec 16, 2014 11:06 PM #1
Roger D. Mucci
Shaken...with a Twist 216.633.2092 - Euclid, OH
Lets shake things up at your home today!

This holds true in any profession.....forget family and friends and hire the person who is qualified, has a proven track record and your best interest in mind.

Dec 16, 2014 11:07 PM #2
Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

Jenna, It's a tightrope to walk when you mix in friendship.  I've done it a few times, but it does add an element of complexity to doing the job.

Roger, Competence has to be #1 for picking any pro.


Dec 16, 2014 11:14 PM #3
Jeanne Dufort
Coldwell Banker Lake Country - Madison, GA
Madison and Lake Oconee GA

Here in small town Georgia - choosing a real estate agent too often becomes a social matter rather than a business matter. Drives me nuts when I see it. Do I do business with friends? Of course, but only when it makes business sense.

Dec 16, 2014 11:27 PM #4
Anna Banana Kruchten CRB, CRS
Phoenix Property Shoppe - Phoenix, AZ

Bliz many of our long time clients are our friends. They know - well - that I will  give them my professional advice - no matter what - and it works well time after time, year after year.  I do 'get' what your talking about when somebody hires a relative or friend but they really have no experience in real estate - that is charity work. The only fall back  is let's hope they have a strong, hands on broker that is mentoring them along the way.

Dec 16, 2014 11:47 PM #5
Nicole Doty - Gilbert Real Estate Expert
Zion Realty - Gilbert, AZ
Broker/Owner of Zion Realty

Good morning Bliz! Working with friends and/or relatives is tricky enough. Having a friend or family member help you with buying or selling a home gets even stickier. Then add to it the fact that they are a newer agent? That's a recipe for disaster. I've seen it happen many times. It can completely ruin relationships.

Dec 16, 2014 11:51 PM #6
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

I just hate those words.  And it's never ever the best thing for the client.  On more than one occassion I've sold a home listed way under priced by a "friend/relative" who doesn't know our market.

Dec 17, 2014 12:15 AM #7
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

I have to laugh when I get a call from a relocating buyer who wants me to show them homes but their "agent", friend or relative will be writing the contract.

I'll do it.  $50 an hour against a retainer of $1,000.


Dec 17, 2014 12:21 AM #8
Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

Jeanne, To a certain extent we see that in our market.  Because we've ONLY been here 20+ years, we're still the "new" agents. 

AB, We know it CAN be done, we've been the designated family agent for some and it does become more than just a business transaction, but balancing that with they know they'll always get the truth and what's in their best interest, even when they don't want to hear it.  I don't have a poker face, if I've got a problem with something (be it pricing, marketing, etc.), the clients that know me will KNOW I'm trying my best to get them in the right place to succeed. 
Nicole, Even with experience I've had some situations that are awkward.  I certainly feel EXTRA stress to make sure it's a perfect deal because it's a friend/co-worker.  When it's people you see every day, there's no forgetting if something doesn't go well.

Tammy, And often the client doesn't even know they've left tens of thousands of dollars behind.  But hey, they sold FAST so cousin Steve must be a great agent!


Dec 17, 2014 12:25 AM #9
Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

Lenn, That would make me laugh too!  And I think you need to raise your rates :)

Dec 17, 2014 12:26 AM #10
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hi Liz and Bill --- love the title of this post.  We've all heard it and while there are examples where it "worked" there seems to be more negative than positive aspects associated with such a decision.   

Dec 17, 2014 12:27 AM #11
Anita Clark
ColdwellBanker SSK Realtors ~ 478.960.8055 - Warner Robins, GA
Realtor - Homes for Sale in Warner Robins GA

Bliz: When buying or selling real estate, it makes good sense to lead with your head not your heart, especially when choosing an agent to assist you.

Dec 17, 2014 01:31 AM #12
Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

Michael, The risk is certainly higher using an agent without the track record than one with a track record.

Anita, And we see the opposite often.

Dec 17, 2014 02:32 AM #13
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

BLiz- I think Lenn Harley needs to raise her rates too.  There are so many times when providing a consultation that my sellers hired their cousin who lives a county away or their friend's daughter who just got her license and then wondered to me why their house wasn't selling.  Hire the most qualified agent first and if they happen to be a friend, then all the better. 

Dec 17, 2014 04:48 AM #14
John Meussner
Mason-McDuffie Mortgage, Conventional Loans, Jumbo Loans, FHA, 203(k), USDA, VA, - Walnut Creek, CA
#MortgageMadeEasy Walnut Creek, CA 484-680-4852

It can be an awfully costly charity, BLiz.  Choosing someone based on merit will always yield a better outcome.

Dec 17, 2014 07:34 AM #15
Fred Griffin, on leave of absence from ActiveRain
Fred Griffin Real Estate - Tallahassee, FL
Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker

It's like dating a co-worker.   If it doesn't work out, you are stuck seeing that person forever, you can't just part ways.

Dec 17, 2014 09:45 AM #16
Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

Kathy, There's often a "just because we can, doesn't mean we should" at play in situations like this.  Local knowledge is crucial.

John, For me merit wins out when it comes to big wallet decisions.

Fred, I had a co-worker once that didn't understand that rule.  Lots of awkward places in the company for him to visit as a result.

Dec 17, 2014 09:53 AM #17
Tammie White, Broker
Franklin Homes Realty LLC - Franklin, TN
Franklin TN Homes for Sale

I have worked with friends on occasion but it was after they saw me come through the worst real estate market in our recent history. They figured if I could survive that, I must know what I'm doing.

Dec 17, 2014 12:15 PM #18
Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

Tammie, And that's good logic on their part.  Getting through the last few years is a good testament to an agent's abilities.

Dec 17, 2014 09:39 PM #19
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