A crucial part of any real estate agent’s business comes from referrals within their own sphere. But what happens when a close friend or family member opts to transact alone or with another agent? Some take it personally, others find it’s best to keep business and personal life separate.

In a Facebook thread on the popular group Lab Coat Agents, a real estate agent posed a simple question that, so far, has garnered more than 400 comments: “Ok guys, I just want to know how many of you had your best friend not list with you. How do you handle it?”

Some agents have run into this exact situation and it resulted in a shattered friendship. Many commented that they no longer speak with the person after they chose to list with another local agent.

“Wouldn’t be my best friend that’s for sure,” said Jason Smith, a Realtor with Century 21 Gavish Real Estate. “Best friends help each other no matter what the circumstances are.”

Debbie Wenzel, a Realtor at Michigan Crossroads Real Estate, said she believes a lot of people don’t fully understand the business and what it really means to hire their friend or family member as a real estate agent.

“No different then hiring a contractor or using a small business owner through family or friends,” Wenzel wrote. “Supporting each other.”

Some even took it to humorous extremes… we hope.

“Dig a hole at least four feet deep, far enough away from any roads or trails that you can’t smell the body,” Greg Ernst, a Realtor with So Cal Dwell wrote. “Use a generous pour of lye, and thoroughly cover the body. Make sure you are downwind from population areas, so if the body gets dug up by wildlife, the wind won’t carry the smell and generate suspicion.”

Still, others actually believe it’s best not to mix business with friendships or personal relationships. Many cited that a deal could go south, or something could happen that’s out of the agent’s control and that agent will end up taking the blame.

Some said the best move you can make is to refer your friend to another local agent you trust in hopes that they will some day return the favor.

“My best friend used another agent to buy her home 10 years ago,” Dawn Elle Richardson, a Realtor with Engel and Volker Buckhead Atlanta, posted. “It was great as it may have ruined our friendship had she used me.”

If you are burned by a family member or close friend, you can actually use the moment as a learning opportunity, assuming you didn’t follow Ersnt’s advice.

“You’re not going to get them all,” wrote Isabel C. Diaz, a Realtor with Realty One Group. “But you may want to follow up, with a professional call and ask ‘as a professional Realtor, I am always looking to grow. Could you share with me, what I could have done better to have gained your business and trust?'”

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