Should You Let Your Friend Sell Your House?
You’re thinking of selling your house and you’ve read advice on real estate agents. Instead, however, you have a friend who has suggested they can handle selling your house. Is it a good idea?
There are many situations in which you might want to have a friend sell your house. Maybe Sue or Bob is just starting out as a real estate agent, and you want to throw work their way. Perhaps you need to sell your house relatively quickly, and you figure your friend won’t mind working 24/7 to make that happen. You might be looking for a deal on real estate agents because you need money for another important event, like saving up to buy an engagement ring that meets DeBeers’ famous “two months salary” rule. Maybe you just don’t have the time or inclination to interview real estate agents right now.
Stop, wait, and think. The fact is, there is no one right decision. Weigh the pros and cons carefully.
They are an experienced real estate agent.
Perhaps Sue or Bob is an experienced real estate agent. If they are and happen to be your friend as well, it could be an ideal situation. You can let your hair down when discussing what you hope to achieve from the sale because you have a close relationship. You’ll benefit from your friend’s expertise.
They know your needs and preferences.
Using your friend as a real estate agent means they already know your needs and preferences. If you’re selling to move to another neighborhood, they already know what you’re expecting to get from the sale.
You trust them.
Selling a house is a major event. It’s intertwined with two significant factors in human life: finances and emotions. Everything from the down payment to your hope of starting a family can be emotionally laden as a result. With a real estate agent who’s your friend, you don’t have to worry about a huge move being in the hands of strangers. It’s with someone you trust.
They have your best interests at heart.
A friend has your best interests at heart. It’s not a purely financial transaction for them. That could take considerable pressure off the stress of dealing with a real estate agent who wants to make a sale because that’s how they make their money.
They may not be experienced.
If your friend is just starting out as a real estate agent, hiring them may not be the best idea. You need and deserve an experienced agent. Don’t put the friendship at risk by hiring someone just because of a friendship. They need to gain experience with regular clients before working with friends.
They may not know the neighborhood.
Whether your friend the real estate agent is experienced or relatively inexperienced, they might not know your neighborhood that well. Real estate agents generally specialize in a couple of neighborhoods. If your friend doesn’t specialize in yours, he may not know selling points, such as the reputation of local school districts or plans for parks. You need a realtor who knows the neighborhood.
They may not know your needs and preferences.
Just as a friend might know your personal preferences, it’s just as likely that they may not when it comes to housing. Worse yet, they may assume they do. Perhaps you’ve chatted about your love for mid-century modern or Victorian homes as you were on vacation or driving around. That doesn’t mean you want to buy one! A friend might think they are doing you a favor by pointing toward a listing you’d never pick in a million years.
It might fracture the friendship.
Real estate sales can be difficult. You may find you need to upgrade your house to sell in a reasonable period, that it’s worth much less than you expected or that your favorite garden feature is turning off prospective buyers. Real estate agents tell sellers things like this all the time. The economic and psychological news might be bad. You might feel burned, or your friend might. Can your friendship withstand it? It might be better to have a neutral person instead.
You may feel guilty about making decisions that benefit you.
Real estate sales can also be unpredictable. What if events occur that make you rethink your initial plan in ways that won’t benefit your real estate agent, but benefit you? We’re talking events such as, for example, deciding not to sell until the market rebounds, or declining offers. A real estate agent profits when you sell. If you decide not to, will you feel guilty?
As you can see from the pros and cons, deciding whether to let a friend sell your house is not a clear or easy decision. Only you and your friend know the level of expertise and strength of relationship involved. Consider these pros and cons, and then make the best decision for your home sale and your friendship.