Using a friend realtor

15 Replies

I'm am getting ready to buy a SFH rental property and have a question about whether or not to use a realtor. Additionally, my friend is an amazing realtor, lots of connection, experienced in REOs, and I have no reason to think she wouldn't do a great job. Here is my issue. I feel like I'm gonna be pretty picky and I don't wanna waste her time. Also she may not get paid depending on what I buy. thoughts?

All my purchases have been via MLS. Using my realtor has been essentially mandatory to help me get listings, details and showings. She puts in even more time with the purchase agreement, negotiations and seller follow-up. It is certainly worth it to me to use a realtor buying MLS properties.

MLS queries can't take much time for a realtor; I'd think they'd be happy to do it even if you're not too serious. Showings might be a different story.

If you're fully intending to purchase from the realtor then going to lots of showings makes sense.  However, if you're just going to showings to kick tires and never planning to use the realtor then that's probably unethical (after you've seen a few).  Somewhere in the middle, if you're honestly interested in particular properties then having the realtor take you to showings is legitimate.

Ultimately realtors are sales people that want the opportunity to earn your business. 

Do you plan on using her to list your property as a rental?  Is she interested in rental business or just buying/selling?

I would not immediately sign a buyer's agent agreement with her.  My first step would be to ask her to pick out 5 to 10 recent sales(or under contract) houses that would fit your criteria.  If most would match, then you have a good fit.

I would also interview another agent even if you are 95% sure you will use her as your agent.

For the "just looking stage" generally a seller's agent will show a house.

Another option might be to ask if she has other investors who she is showing houses.  Maybe she could show you the houses they are looking at.  I would start off with an investor/properties that are in a different segment, so there isn't an awkward situation where you both want to buy the same property.

I can tell you that she would much rather be given the opportunity to work with you now rather than hear later that you used someone else without talking to her.  I would have an open conversation about it now - discuss purchasing scenarios and make sure that you are on the same page.   As an investor, you can be helpful to her by driving by properties before requesting interior showings - this is a huge service to yourself and her.  Often times the neighborhood, view, lot configuration, etc. makes or breaks your interest in the property right off the bat. 

Jonna Weber, Real Estate Agent in ID (#SP41257)
208-608-4884

I agree with @Jonna Weber - the first agent I worked with asked me to do drive buys from the MLS auto searches she set up for me and then she'd be happy to show the properties. Since this was in Baltimore, it was an imperative as I was looking for Section 8 rentals and they are not permitted next to board ups (which can abound in B'more). So why waste her - and my - time. Plus I got a great feel for different sections of the city.

Originally posted by @Jonna Weber :

I can tell you that she would much rather be given the opportunity to work with you now rather than hear later that you used someone else without talking to her.  I would have an open conversation about it now - discuss purchasing scenarios and make sure that you are on the same page.   As an investor, you can be helpful to her by driving by properties before requesting interior showings - this is a huge service to yourself and her.  Often times the neighborhood, view, lot configuration, etc. makes or breaks your interest in the property right off the bat. 

 Agreed with you completely. 

Definitely better to work with an agent, especially one you know and trust. Not to mention, YOU are not the one that pays her commission, the seller pays her. 

@Jonna Weber  @Reggie Maggard  

Absolutely agree with Jonna as well.  I think giving your friend the option is the best way to go.  You never know, he/she may know of property that is not listed but seller may consider selling.  In any case, you'll spare them hurt feelings if you do end up purchasing with someone else.

Originally posted by @Jesse T. :

Do you plan on using her to list your property as a rental?  Is she interested in rental business or just buying/selling?

I would not immediately sign a buyer's agent agreement with her.  My first step would be to ask her to pick out 5 to 10 recent sales(or under contract) houses that would fit your criteria.  If most would match, then you have a good fit.

I would also interview another agent even if you are 95% sure you will use her as your agent.

For the "just looking stage" generally a seller's agent will show a house.

Another option might be to ask if she has other investors who she is showing houses.  Maybe she could show you the houses they are looking at.  I would start off with an investor/properties that are in a different segment, so there isn't an awkward situation where you both want to buy the same property.



Originally posted by @Raj Gandhi :

All my purchases have been via MLS. Using my realtor has been essentially mandatory to help me get listings, details and showings. She puts in even more time with the purchase agreement, negotiations and seller follow-up. It is certainly worth it to me to use a realtor buying MLS properties.

MLS queries can't take much time for a realtor; I'd think they'd be happy to do it even if you're not too serious. Showings might be a different story.

If you're fully intending to purchase from the realtor then going to lots of showings makes sense.  However, if you're just going to showings to kick tires and never planning to use the realtor then that's probably unethical (after you've seen a few).  Somewhere in the middle, if you're honestly interested in particular properties then having the realtor take you to showings is legitimate.

Ultimately realtors are sales people that want the opportunity to earn your business. 

 Raj, thanks for advice. I'm more worried about the friendship than anything.

Originally posted by @Jesse T. :

Do you plan on using her to list your property as a rental?  Is she interested in rental business or just buying/selling?

I would not immediately sign a buyer's agent agreement with her.  My first step would be to ask her to pick out 5 to 10 recent sales(or under contract) houses that would fit your criteria.  If most would match, then you have a good fit.

I would also interview another agent even if you are 95% sure you will use her as your agent.

For the "just looking stage" generally a seller's agent will show a house.

Another option might be to ask if she has other investors who she is showing houses.  Maybe she could show you the houses they are looking at.  I would start off with an investor/properties that are in a different segment, so there isn't an awkward situation where you both want to buy the same property.

 Great point! I hadn't thought about asking her to list rental. So hopefully I won't have to use her to see any house? I can use sellers agent for the showing? Also, I like the idea of asking about showing houses for other investors, conflict of interest.

Originally posted by @Jonna Weber :

I can tell you that she would much rather be given the opportunity to work with you now rather than hear later that you used someone else without talking to her.  I would have an open conversation about it now - discuss purchasing scenarios and make sure that you are on the same page.   As an investor, you can be helpful to her by driving by properties before requesting interior showings - this is a huge service to yourself and her.  Often times the neighborhood, view, lot configuration, etc. makes or breaks your interest in the property right off the bat. 

 Thanks for post. Yea, I thought about that too, if she would find out about my purchase. Yes, great idea! I can drive the prop first b4 asking to see inside. 

Originally posted by @Brandon M. :

Definitely better to work with an agent, especially one you know and trust. Not to mention, YOU are not the one that pays her commission, the seller pays her. 

Brandon thanks. The commission is only paid if they have a realtor. I'm thinking I might buy a REO or fsbo. Why would a realtor show me a property that she may not get a commission on?

@Reggie Maggard - REO and FSBO are two completely different things. An REO is going to be listed by an agent for the bank who now owns the property, so they WILL be paying buyer's reps.

With a FSBO, sometimes those owners try to sell it themselves to avoid paying a commission to a listing agent and save themselves some money. Sometimes it works, sometimes they end up giving it to a listing agent later after they are unsuccessful at selling. And sometimes FSBO owners are willing to pay a buyer's agent, it is all negotiable.

It just depends on how confident you are in working with RE contracts, knowing what you are looking at when viewing the home, etc. If you are doing your own research, contacting a FSBO owner, and then going on your own to see the house, then maybe you don't need the agent or you just ask if she can help with the contract/negotiations for a small fee that you would pay. It would likely be worth the money you pay to help you deal with the details that go along with a purchase.

There are definitely benefits to using an agent on the buy side, but if a FSBO owner is adamant about not paying a buyer's agent then you can still utilize your friend's knowledge.

I think you should talk to your friend, just let her know your intentions and make sure her expectations match yours. I know if a friend here in FL asked me to do something similar I would be glad to help if needed as long as they weren't just looking to use me or spend a lot of my time on something I wouldn't be compensated for. 

Originally posted by @Brandon M. :

@Reggie Maggard  - 

I think you should talk to your friend, just let her know your intentions and make sure her expectations match yours. I know if a friend here in FL asked me to do something similar I would be glad to help if needed as long as they weren't just looking to use me or spend a lot of my time on something I wouldn't be compensated for. 

My opinion is this is it in a nutshell.  How that is determined between you and your friend is what needs to be established at the onset.  

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