During the last year I have had almost half a dozen out of town friends and family members reach out to me for help AFTER they started working with their Realtor of choice (somebody I did not help them select through a careful vetting process). For whatever reason, they've already established a relationship and don't think of letting me in on their plans to buy or sell. I understand, because I'm out of town they may have thought their plans didn't matter to me if I can't physically be their to offer my help.
But, sometimes partway through an established business relationship we realize it's not a good fit, we start having trust issues or in real estate we can find out the agent lacks the expertise for whatever hiccups might occur. Even worse, mayb ethics plays into the drama that comes with a real estate transaction.
I am flattered to be considered the expert and go-to person for family and friends who want to know what would Carol do or say about this and that. I know they are just looking for good real estate advice in order to move forward confidently. But, often I'm the last to know they are considering a move at all and it's much too late to offer my two cents. Whenever somebody comes to me late in the game after something questionable comes up, it's hard (maybe even unethical) for me to get involved and offer help or suggest a strategy. Sometimes the questions posed to me may seem like only simple clarification is needed, but other times there have been doozys which make me cringe.
Here's the point. In most cases, I can't do anything to interfere or question another agent's performance if a buyer or seller already has an existing relationship. It's unethical to interfere with a contract that's in the works (whether it's a listing agreement or an offer to purchase contract). I'm also not an attorney. I can't help somebody out of a contract of any kind. A lot of times, when these questionable situations arise, it's in a different state with a different MLS and set of laws that I might not be familiar with. However, if I'm involved from the onset BEFORE final selection of a Realtor, or I can help in vetting one beforehand, then it's a little easier for me to oversee things and ask questions.
Here is what I CAN do. If I am asked to help select a Realtor out of my area, I am part of establishing the overall relationship from the start. I will initiate things by introducing myself and the parties involved, even if my friend or family member has an agent in mind already. Full disclosure, I will take a finder's fee which is common in the industry (also called a referral fee). I often pay out referral fees on my end too. A referral fee is usually a small percentage that only comes out of what the representing agent would already get paid, and it is of no extra cost to the buyer or seller. When I submit a referral on behalf of another person, it offers them piece of mind in knowing that I'm involved from start to finish - in the vetting process, in monitoring the transaction or asking questions of the out of town agent along the way. This makes the difference of whether or not I can just listen to a problem that's presented to me or actually step in to place a call and check on the progress and address concerns.
I certainly want to be a good real estate advisor and advocate from a distance for my friends and family, but sometimes I just can't get too involved unless I've been asked to assist from the start and their agent understands this from the beginning. When an agent is working off of a referral, there is an understanding that somebody else (another licensed Realtor and/or their broker) is monitoring things and they are somewhat obligated to accept some level of involvement from the referring agent/brokerage in overseeing the processes and be sure things are on the up and up.
So, if you're a friend or family member from out of state (I do have a lot of you), or anybody else reading this for that matter, and you're thinking of buying or selling a home, PLEASE call me first. I can VET that agent you're considering to make sure it's a good fit and evaluate their experience. As the referring agent, I will be able to take a special interest in monitoring your real estate experience from start to finish from afar. ❤️