By: John Damanis

Why Hiring Your Friend (or Relative) As A Realtor Is Scarier Than Tyra Banks

Tags: How to choose a Realtor

There's no better way to lose a friend
You and your friend (or relative) get along well for a reason but even if someone is a lovely person socially they may be very different in a business context. When mixing friendship and business the potential for disagreements (or worse arguments) is never far away. The process of buying and/or selling a home is an emotional one, and when we're emotional we see things differently. Whether it's a disagreement over commission structure or feeling upset when an offer is rejected, there are opportunities for "friendship failure" throughout the entire process. When this happens it inevitably creep into your personal relationship. Sometimes people switch their agent because it just didn’t work out. Listing or buying with someone you know socially gives you no easy way out. If things turn sour you will have to choose between a potential financial loss and a social one. You wouldn’t choose a doctor just because they are a friend, so why choose a Realtor this way?

Friendly advice may not be the best advice
Don't underestimate the importance of surrounding yourself with a talented professional. You your doctor to be a gifted tumour catcher and maestro of medical forensics, able to spot and diagnose things less-talented doctors might ignore or overlook or misinterpret. When it comes to the critical decision of selling a family home, settle for nothing less than a super-talented Realtor. Friends just trying to help can often cross into the territory of "I know what’s best for you," is just one more potential cause of tension. Rather than treat you as a client, a Realtor-friend or family member may see themselves as equal partners in the decision making process.

Would you ever sue your friend or relative?
The real estate industry is highly litigious because it’s the biggest financial transaction most people make in a lifetime and many things can go wrong. Consumers sue for all kinds of reasons and most lawyers will advise you to include your real estate agent in any lawsuit whether they are a friend or not when something goes wrong. These lawsuits can arise from allegations of misrepresentation of the condition of the home to incompetence when handling a transaction to breaches of fiduciary duty toward a client. Ask yourself “can our friendship withstand such an incident and will I have the courage to sue or complain if something goes wrong?”

The job goes from business as usual to casual
When friendship is involved in the equation the notion that the client comes first or a pretense of a professional environment can be extinguished without even realizing it.

A client’s relationship with their Realtor can quickly become personal with regular meetings over a significant persiod of time. Discussing what makes a dream home often gives way to conversations about career goals and family, but a distinction must exist. They are your agent and they work for you.
You wouldn't want your doctor or lawyer to make important business decisions or negotiations at weekend gatherings or squeezed in-between a night out with friends, so why have a Realtor do that for one of the largest financial purchases in your life?

Do you trust this person with hundreds of thousands of your money?
You know your friends better than a stranger, you know their good qualities and probably some of their bad ones too. Buying and/or selling a home is likely the largest financial transaction of your lifetime. During the negotiation process a small mistake could cost you thousands of dollars and when spending hundreds of thousands of dollars you really need to trust this person with your money. You need to feel safe they will negotiate fiercely on your behalf. Before you hastifly hire a friend or relative, think about their history with money. Do they always act responsibly in their financial affairs?

They may not be an expert in your neighbourhood
As a buyer or seller your top priority should be working with someone who is a local expert in your neighbourhood. If your friend doesn’t usually work in your general areas of interest that can put you at a disadvantage. By hiring a neighbourhood expert who knows the local market with their eyes closed, you won’t fall for the pitfalls faced by outsiders. Local experts can tell you where the best schools are on a whim, help you avoid the troubled areas where loiters frequent, give you insights on the inventory of homes and overall, snag you a better deal, regardless if you're selling or buying.

About the Author: The above Real Estate information on how to find a good Realtor was provided by John Damanis, a leader in his field. John can be reached via email at or by phone at 905-450-8300. John has expertly helped many people move in and out of family homes, country retreats, downtown condos and suburban luxury.

Thinking of selling your home? I have a passion for Real Estate and love to share my marketing expertise!

I service Real Estate sales in the following towns: west Toronto, Vaughan, Etobicoke, Mississauga, Brampton, Caledon, Orangeville (and surrounding area) Milton, Georgetown, Acton and Oakville. Occasionally you may find me in Barrie and the surrounding area.

Buying or Selling outside of these areas? Let me help you find a great Realtor! I'm always in contact with excellent Realtors throughout Ontario, across Canada and in the United States.