Why you shouldn’t hire your brother-in-law to be your Realtor…
I love family as much as the next guy, so I’m not knocking family. The reason I am writing this post is because I have had a few recent transactions that have caused me to ponder the use of a family member in a real estate transaction.
While this will apply to most “brother-in-law” scenarios I would like to apologize in advance to the well qualified, knowledgeable, full-time Realtor BIL’s.
Take a moment to develop a scene in your mind. You are driving home from work on a Friday afternoon listening to Bohemian Rhapsody and pondering all the beauty in the world. As you come to a stop at the red light wondering whether or not this is the Cubs year to win the World Series you catch a glimpse of a car fast approaching in the rear view mirror. A 19 year old college student who is late to a sorority meeting is texting her BFF about the Miley concert and what outfits they should wear. She slams into you at 45mph and it all goes dark. You wake up in the emergency room and can faintly here them talking about what the impact did to your legs as they were smashed into the console and into the car in front of you…
This moment of terror seems like an eternity as you start to envision your days playing high school football, dancing at your wedding, playing golf on the weekends. You can’t make out what the doctors have started to chat about as they huddle. You say a silent prayer that you will be able to walk again…
Then you are faced with a dilemma. You have a choice of two spine surgeons who will take on the task of repairing your spine so you can walk again. The first is a well known and respected surgeon who advises the state board on this exact procedure. People fly in from all parts of the country to have him do surgery since he does 150 of them per year and is really good.
Your second choice happens to be your brother-in-law, he has just finished residency and has done this surgery on a couple of computer simulations. His ultimate passion is fly fishing but his father pushed him to become a doctor because they come from a line of doctors. You think he is a nice guy but has a careless nature and a drinking problem.
OBVIOUSLY you are going to choose the world renowned surgeon to do the spine surgery and wouldn’t dare risk your health or ability to walk just because your sister married this dude.
Yet I see folks all the time that use a Realtor who does three transactions a year to list their current home and represent them on the purchase of their next one. As I walk through the over-priced listing that has 0% chance of selling I learn that the sellers are related to the agent and thus agreed to list at this insane price. He told them he could get it and I think he even believed it. He lives 130 miles away and really hasn’t been tracking real estate lately because his real job is as an accountant for a theme park. But they are family. And how hard is it to sell a house anyhow? What both parties don’t know is that by entering so overpriced he is not getting anyone to even consider his listing. In 2 months when he finally does reduce the price those buyers have already moved into their new home and school has started. A few people are interested in the new price but something about being on the market for 65 days makes this listing look stale. So another price reduction and 4 months later they are still paying the mortgage on this house while trying to fix up the new house they bought to their liking. Since Bro-In-Law didn’t know the market they were moving to either he didn’t realize before they purchased that they back up to a section 8 approved apartment complex. They now know after their 6 year old daughter brought a needle in that had come over the fence into the backyard. The stress of 2 mortgage payments and not feeling safe in the new home are really taking its toll on the couple’s marriage and they now sleep in separate rooms. This may be a fictional story made up on the fly but you catch my drift.
So maybe just maybe you should have hired a professional. Someone who works day in and day out living & breathing real estate as it constantly evolves. It has less to do with your relationship with the person and more to do with how well they can perform the job. Realtors get paid a commission on Real Estate transactions and the good ones are worth every penny. They have dedicated their life to perfect this craft and they consistently educate themselves so that they can serve your best interest.
I’m just a mortgage guy and these are just my observations from the field. If you are considering telling your sister that you won’t be using her husband RickyTheRealtor and want a referral to a high quality local agent feel free to reach out. I know plenty of them, and none of them are with me on Thanksgiving.
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Thanks again Matt for your guest blog post.