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Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Everyone Has a Friend or Relative in Real Estate, But Should You Use Him or Her?

[Published Sept. 10, 2015, in the Jeffco editions of the Denver Post's YourHub section and in four Jefferson County weekly newspapers]

 I probably lose more listings to sellers’ friends and relatives than I do to my more deserving competitors — and I understand their dilemma.  I so admire those sellers who resist the pressure to go with their friends or relatives and choose to use a seasoned and successful professional.

One factor that makes it hard on such sellers is not knowing how to assess a friend’s effectiveness as a listing agent.  In the last paragraph I’ll give you a tool that could help.

Unless you’re in real estate yourself, you may have no idea of what makes a Realtor successful both for himself and his clients.  Indeed, most members of the public don’t know the difference between a Realtor and a non-Realtor and why it matters. Therefore, the typical seller finds himself at a loss when it comes to explaining to the friend or relative why he or she didn’t choose them.
Let’s say, for example, that your nephew just got his license and joined a brokerage in Parker.  You want to show your loyalty and help him get started, but you also know he’s not the best person to list your home. The best agent to list your home is one who lives and works in or near your home town  And, yes, experience does count.
If that is your scenario, how about asking the right agent — an experienced nearby Realtor — to pay a referral fee to your nephew?  Your nephew will be grateful for the money, and you’ll get the agent who can serve you best.

But how do you find that best Realtor?  My suggestion is to look online for the agent who has existing listings and a strong online presence. Search for listings in your ZIP code on the Denver MLS, Unlike other websites (especially Zillow), this website will display the name of the listing agent on each listing, not someone who paid to be displayed on other agents’ listings.  Click on the agent’s name and then click on “View My Listings.” It will show you his active, under contract and sold listings — a good measure of success.  A 2009 column I wrote has additional useful advice. You can read it at

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