One of the most intriguing, and exciting, aspects of working as a Real Estate Agent is the overlap between your personal and professional lives and networks. Rewarding activities such as coaching your son or daughter’s soccer team can lead to an opportunity to work with another sideline parent in their quest to sell their home and buy something bigger. Keeping in touch with a high school classmate via social media can lead to a discussion about their desire to buy their first home but not knowing where to start.
Along with business stemming from friendships and networks, there are often opportunities as an agent to work with family members who are looking to sell their home. Obviously, working with family is different than a referral or lead generated client, but when done with honesty and hard work, the opportunity is not only lucrative, it can strengthen the kinship you share. Here are a few suggestions to consider when you find yourself in the position to help a family member prepare, list, and sell their home in the most win-win way possible.
Be 100% Confident in Your Ability to Sell the Home – Know the Market
As a Realtor and investor, we have likely seen houses listed by an agent family member who is not experienced and knowledgeable in the market where the property is located. The result can be money left on the table or a longer time on the market due to the agent not knowing the area.
Before you agree to sell for a family member, ask yourself if it would do your family member a better service to refer the listing to another agent, receive compensation for the connection, and trust the process with a local expert.
Stay True to Your Listing Process
Just because a client is family, it doesn’t mean you should take shortcuts and take the listing for granted. In fact, you should do the opposite!
From the get-go, let your family member know that you are going to treat them with the same committed effort that you put in for all of your clients. It will help put their mind at ease, and establish business trust. At your initial meeting with them to discuss listing, keep a mindset as if you are competing with multiple agents for the listing – you may be!
When on the market, continue to communicate – even over communicate – to your client. Keep them informed of showing appointments, feedback, expected offers, etc.
Make Sure You Have Your Disclosures – Transparency & Honesty
When working with family, be sure to check all requirements on the necessary disclosures you need to include with the listing pertaining to your relationship with the client.
In addition, make sure you are clear about the importance of disclosing material facts. If you know your client’s basement floods when it rains because they have talked about it before, be sure to address these types of situations when completing the disclosure and disclaimer addenda.
Market the Connection
As Realtors, we want to create an immediate connection to the home for prospective buyers. If you are selling a cousin’s house that you have fond memories of attending summer barbeques at, tell that story to open house guests. We’ve always been big on selling the positive energy of a home when listing it – and a personal connection to the listing can help drive that.
Embrace the Stakes at Hand
Obviously, there are larger implications at hand when working with family. If things go poorly, the damage is more layered than when working with a traditional client.
On the flip side, the upside can be huge! If you hit a homerun working with family, you can be that much more open about the importance of positive reviews and referrals. As we know as Realtors, our pipeline of potential clients keeps food on the table. When the successful transaction is over, do not be bashful asking family to shout if from the rooftop by posting reviews on sites like Zillow. And although there may be disclosures related to your relationship that need to be provided when listing, a review from your family client does not have to detail the connection.
Consider a Discount
Blending finances and family can be tricky. When the opportunity to list for kin arises, consider giving them a break on your commission or any administrative fees that are charged for transactions. For example, if selling for an aunt who used to take you to the beach every summer, it may be a nice gesture to give her a discount as a thank you. Make sure this is approved by your broker, as needed, and fall within regulations.
Don’t Cheap Out on Appreciation
Showing appreciation for your listing clients post closing is a great way to strengthen your relationship with them, and help your chances of referrals down the road. When a family member decides to work with you, be sure to express gratitude as you do with other clients – perhaps even more.
CCB’s Closing Thoughts….
As we opened with stating, if you are in real estate, at some point, and sometimes early on in your career, you will have a conversation with a family member who is thinking about selling their home. Our advice – embrace and pursue wholeheartedly! Along with considering our advice above, we think this is a great topic to share ideas on with fellow folks in the business.
Thanks for reading and as always, feel free to contact us with any questions. We’d love to work with you!