My Friend is an agent.....
How many times have we met someone at a party or social event when the topic turns to real estate? They begin describing a situation that they don't have a good handle on, but you understand it and can help. You mention you are an agent and offer to discuss it and they say "Oh, my good friend is an agent..." Based on what you've heard so far, you realize their friend is either giving them bad advice or no advice. In my hypothetical scenario, there are no contracts signed, so there is no interference. You are not ethically bound to keep silent. I'm curious how other agents deal with this and what you think of my response.
"Are they a good friend?" If yes, then I ask, "Are they a good agent?" Which usually results in a long stare and a quizzical look. I then move forward with, "If they are a good friend and a good agent, use them they deserve your loyalty. If they are a good friend and not a good agent, they will understand if you choose to work with one." This will commonly lead into a conversation about my experience, qualifications, and recent transactions which are applicable.
My goals are obviously to get the business, but also to help to someone heading down a dead end. I believe we all suffer when bad agents or poorly managed inexperienced agents make mistakes. We all have to start somewhere, but the value of a good Broker/mentor can never be overstated.
When a longtime friend who I helped to buy a building site elected to choose another agent, a stranger to us both, to list his home, it hurt. But the friendship is as sound as ever. In the long run, it worked out well for us both. As a good friend I knew the home very well, perhaps too well. There was nothing typical about it and it was difficult to comp. My estimates were lower than they listed for, and then what they finally received. I learned some important lessons about friendship, valuations, and the importance of putting relationships above business.
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