The answer to the question above is simple and short: YES! It is absolutely ok to use a friend as your real estate agent! But there’s a caveat to this:
Obviously, experience matters tremendously. There’s a lot to be said about knowledge base and expertise (which is really the top reason to hire a realtor, but more on this later in the article). That being said; your agent, irrespective of your relationship with him or her (be it your friend, cousin, brother, sister, former co-worker, etc.) should be vested in the industry. Your agent should not be a hobbyist or someone who just sees the work as a “side hustle”. Someone who does the real estate “side hustle,” typically, lacks the time to really put in the vital work to make a deal happen. Even a rookie full-time agent is better than a “Hobby” agent.
Agents who do this business as a hobby or a side hustle most often lack the knowledge of the important details about transactions, specifically negotiation, that can get you into trouble or be unable to get you out of trouble. Further, the hobbyist, may lack the sense of urgency and drive to work effectively and efficiently for you. Back in the day (the stone age when nothing was online), you’d hire an agent because agents had the keys to the gates of information. Agents were your “in,” to obtain all data about new listings. NOW, that data is at your disposal 24/7 on that awesome smartphone! The value of the real estate agent lays in negotiation skill and strength, nuanced knowledge, industry experience and the brains and creativity to get you in or out of deals! There’s a slim chance a side hustler can be all of those things for you. Those strengths take full time discipline and practice! “You’re talking about practice?” YES! We are! A full-time agent must grind and hustle every day, taking massive action!
A full-time agent is dedicated and is going to work hard for you – this isn’t a hobby that he or she does only on the weekend – we live, eat and breath real estate! If you were getting brain surgery, would you want a part-time surgeon who does one or two surgeries per year? NO!!! You want the surgeon who does multiple surgeries per day. Now I am not equating being a real estate agent to being a brain surgeon, but it does take some degree of intelligence to do this job well and to sustain it for many years! So, do you want to work with a real estate agent who does one to two transactions per year and maybe works one Saturday every few months as a hobby? Or do you prefer to work with an agent who does multiple transactions per month and does this for a living – full time? The choice is clear!