Why you should NOT choose a friend or family member to sell your lake home!

Residential real estate has many different players, including appraisers, home inspectors, property managers, contractors, bankers, mortgage loan officers, and government agencies, as well as prospective buyers and sellers. But, the workhorses of the typical real estate transaction are the people that coordinate the process—the real estate agents and brokers.

A good real estate agent is similar in nature to a conductor of a symphony, coordinating the different players to make a successful transaction a reality. At different points in the process, the real estate agent is a salesperson, a lakefront specialist, a buyer’s advocate, an analyst, a business manager, a consultant, a negotiator, and a marketer, just to name a few.

The process of selling a lake house can be confusing and stressful. With so many unknowns while buying and selling a lake house, why not go with a family member or a friend who knows you very well? Afterall they have a license and is thus perfectly qualified to help you sell and buy your dream home. Sounds like a dream scenario, right?

Woman stand up paddle boarding on a pristine mountain lake

Having a friend or family member sell your lake house actually may not be as dreamy of a situation you had hoped for.

Here are the reasons why:

#1: Your friend or relative has a biased perspective.

You may be wondering why is having a biased real estate agent a bad thing? Don’t you want someone who knows your interests very well?

The answer is no.

You want a real estate agent to keep your best interests in mind from start to finish throughout the whole transaction. On top of that you also want someone who isn’t afraid to tell you the truth- no matter how hard it is to hear.

Your friend or family member might not be honest with you the fact that your unkept yard will keep buyers from even entering the front door or that the list price you want on your home is too high because they fear hurting your feelings and ruining your relationship.

Having a real estate agent who only knows you from a professional setting will help you sell your lake home for top dollar. They aren’t worried about ruining your relationship and instead will be honest while selling. They will also help you stick to your budget while purchasing a new home, even if that means forgoing your dream of a finished basement. And this is something you want while looking for a real estate agent!

#2: Your friend or relative may not be an expert.

During an interview with Mia Simon, a Redfin real agent based in Silicon Valley, she noted that it’s important for buyers or sellers to instead look for “someone who really has the local knowledge, the relationships with the main players and a really good grasp of the lakefront inventory.” As much as you would like to please your family or friend, you should really contemplate if they are the best fit to make you the most money when selling.

paddle board on the beach, close up of standing legs and paddle

Even though your friend or family member may have a real estate license, they may not be the most qualified while selling your lake home. Let’s face it. Your friend Robert got his license 6 months ago and doesn’t have the experience or connections that someone else who has been working in the field for years has.

An established lakefront specialist Realtor will already have the intimate knowledge of the lakefront housing market in your area. They will know lake houses before they even hit the market for sale and previous sales of lake homes in your neighborhood. This knowledge is extremely valuable when selling or buying a home- especially in a competitive market.

#3: The buying or selling process can get tense.

Buying and selling a lake house is already stressful enough, so why add the possibility of ruining a relationship with your friend or family member on top of it?

Even with a seasoned real estate agent closing a deal is a tough and sometimes emotional process. Important steps like closing terms and negotiating repairs can get complicated. Sometimes all you need is an unbiased viewpoint to make these bumps in the road a whole lot smoother.

Sometimes while working with a friend or family member you may not be impressed with their strategy of marketing or the communication you receive. It is easier to work with an agent who you only know from a professional setting, it is easier to tell them the truth. Otherwise you may let important things slide from the fear of ruining that relationship.

What if the buying and selling process is so rough that you have to fire your agent? If your agent is a friend or a family member, then there may be some awkward get-togethers in your future or that relationship may be ruined for good.

#4: Your friend or family member will know your personal financial business.

Although you may be really comfortable with your friend or family member, do you want them to know all of your financial details?

A lot of personal information comes up when you are looking to buy a new home or sell your current one. It’s possible that details beyond your housing budget, like debt-to-income ratio and even yearly salary, could come up as part of the transaction. That information might not be the most comfortable to discuss during Thanksgiving dinner, especially if the lines start to blur between a professional and social relationship with your friend or family member.


Even though you may want to please your friend or family member by working with them to buy or sell a lake house, it may not always be the most practical option. Sometimes your friend or family member will not keep your interests in mind and instead push their own. Buying and selling a lake home can be extremely stressful and emotionally draining and can create tension within your own personal relationship. With that being said it is easier to find someone who you know only from a professional setting to make sure they are working the best on your behalf to find you a home within your budget or to sell your home for top dollar.

Posted by Scott Freerksen “The Lake Guy”

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