3 Reasons to NOT Sell to Family or Friends

As summer draws to a close, I am already making plans for holiday gatherings with my family and friends. Actually, Labor Day, this past Monday, was the first family/friend holiday for me, and likely you, that inaugurated the end of summer vacations and planted a seed to begin arranging the rest of this year's holiday shindigs. Thinking about the holidays and the various interactions we have, I am reminded that a few of us real estate sales agents and brokers prefer NOT to offer their real estate services to any family and friends. 

Are you skittish to work with family or friends, retreating into a stance of a passive child in the corner? You may not intend to be a secret agent but have you ever examined your reasons for such anxiety with selling to friends or family?

Well, if any of these 3 reasons spark your hesitancy, I want to encourage you to give your friends and family a try this holiday season.

Reason 1: You don't believe in what you are selling or your professional ability.

Whether you are a seasoned or rookie agent, some of us are intimidated by our friends and family. Although we as real estate agents and brokers know EVERYONE needs somewhere to live, making us the perfect housing conduit for friends and family, we become reclusive due to condescending remarks from aunts, uncles, grade school friends and others they may still relegate us to "little" Suzy and Johnny. Well, it may be time to show them that "little" _____ (fill in your name) has grown up! 

You have studied real estate both in the classroom (whether brick and mortar or virtually) and in your day-to-day experiences as a practitioner. You can and should help those you know negotiate the best deals around. As a bonus, when you successfully navigate them through their next real estate transaction (because you not only are a real estate maven but you also know this family member/friends personality better than Real Estate Ricky), you may have a new raving fan :), who is quick to admonish other family and friends that try to pooh-pooh on your rightful place in the real estate profession.

Reason 2: What you are selling has no value to others.

Of course you may not really believe this reason but you may subconsciously make this a reason for being a secret agent and avoiding the subject of what you do at family or friend gatherings. Due to the seasons of life (such as becoming a parent, empty-nester, guardian, etc.), real estate becomes a vital commodity for most people whose housing needs may change fairly regularly, like twice a decade and perhaps more often. 

You are top-of-mind when they need a babysitter and sometimes even when they have a home repair item, but you shrink at being top-of-mind as their sales agent because you think they can find their next home without you. Frankly, yes they can.  But you can likely offer your friends and family a superior experience, that is full of hijinks and great memories coupled with your powerful real estate resources and expertise. Yes, family and friends can find just "a home" without you but with you they can have the "wow" factor that so many us of desperately seek to give to strangers.

Reason 3: You overlooked the relationship building aspect.

With this third reason, you may be convinced in the benefits of homeownership and your competency to deliver an outstanding transaction experience but you may not realize the missed opportunities to strengthen your relational bonds. This one I know personally not because I don't like my family or want to get to know them better, but I had to stop and realize that I also was not making a concerted effort to include them in my business either. I believe that some of you like me, hold no grunges but simply miss this organic possibility for better relationships.

If you want to get to know that "long-lost" niece buying her first home, your aging grandparents, that college roommate with whom you have lost touch over the years or anyone else you have a familial link to, then I say let's make it our duty to them, our businesses and our relationships to help meet their housing needs. I realized I need to slow down in order to help distant family and friends, who I have lost connectivity to over the years. Interestingly, I have reconnected with high school classmates that have now become close friends after helping them with their real estate needs and they, in turn, have become my walking billboards.

Okay so you don't always get along but it is rare for an agent that is in business for long to escape having difficult clients. You learned how to work with them... well, at the least you may have figured out how to work with the NEXT client with similar traits lol. We are willing to scour Facebook, Twitter, etc. to just get wind of someone relocating, having a baby, retiring, and any other life change because our sales radar tells us that they may also want to make a real estate sell or purchase. With family and friends, it may be easier to learn of these same life events that you can offer your real estate expertise and assistance.

Unless the person is abusive to you or involved in illegal activity, selling to friends and family is a win because we gain an easy client (or at least a client with whom we are familiar), a business cheerleader and a better relationship. For many of us, we desire to put family first and friends close by but we flounder in staying connected. What better way to strengthen relationships without neglecting our sales than to confidently seek them out to assist with their real estate needs. I am sure you know how easy it is to form life-long bonds with clients during the selling and buying process and the same can happen with family members and friends, especially with the ones you have not been able to connect with much. 

If you have ever been hesitate to talk real estate shop with family or friends for one of these reasons, I hope this will encourage you to put these reasons to rest!  I hope you end this year strong in both sales and relationships.  Happy selling!
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