Choosing Your Real Estate Agent When Family Ties Become Part of the Picture

You never know how many family members are in real estate until word gets out that you are putting your house on the market. While your family member may be a very competent real estate agent, if you’re choosing an agent based only on the fact that they are a relative, you could be in for a bumpy road. Here are some things to think about when a family member wants to list your home:

Revealing your personal information

It’s important you feel protected throughout the transaction. Unfortunately, that can fall by the wayside if your agent reveals details of your real estate transaction to the rest of the family. Worse yet, they may feel they can make decisions and speak on your behalf, without consulting you. Talk to your family member at the start to ensure they understand you expect the same level of confidentiality as any other client. Still uneasy? Choose a neutral third party who is not a part of your personal life to avoid the situation. 

Keeping emotions in check

Sometimes real estate agents are in the position of having to tell their clients things they would rather not hear. Perhaps a homeowner needs to step up their housekeeping or give their yard some attention. Someone who has a personal bond with you may avoid telling you these things, even though it could keep you from earning top dollar.

Having the right expertise

Your uncle may have been in the real estate business for years, but if he focused his career on selling investment properties on the opposite side of the city, he isn’t going to have his finger on the pulse of your neighborhood’s residential real estate. You want a top local expert who knows your market representing you.

Understanding legalities

Most real estate agents are not attorneys. A skilled agent will know how and when to refer a client to a lawyer. Someone who is your relative, however, may be more likely to offer legal advice to prove their competency and worth. From a legal standpoint, it’s also important your family member understand their responsibilities for disclosure when listing your property. 

Engaging your family member as your real estate agent can make for an enjoyable experience, but that’s only if they can effectively represent you as your agent and you are comfortable having them do so. Don’t be afraid to hold your relative to the same high standards you would any other agent when choosing who is going to help you sell your home.

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