When you decide to buy or sell the largest investment that most people make in their entire life, you should probably use a professional. It is a much more complex transaction than, say, buying a pack of gum. Most people think of selling something as a buyer giving money in exchange for the seller giving something, but it is so much more than that. There are a lot of steps to the home buying/selling process, but there are just as many after you find the buyer or the perfect home. Every year the buying and selling process changes dramatically and unless you have a dialed in agent that is constantly on top of those changes, you could have a very rough sale.
One of the most important things you will do is to find an agent that fits with not only your needs, but also your personality. Buying or selling a home is about as stressful as anything you will do in your life, so you will need a steady hand to guide you through the low points. Don’t accept that you have to use your friends’ friend or your cousin twice removed. That will likely end with a lot of frustration and potentially a ton of wasted or lost time and money. If you make it through the process in tact, what says that your relationship will weather the storm as well?
What do you do when your best friend that just got their real estate license tells you that she/he can sell your home quickly and it will be “fun”? The safest thing to do is to let them know that you would love to use them, but because it is a stressful situation, it could end poorly and you value the relationship more than that. Let them know that although you can’t use them directly, you trust their opinion and experience (no matter how minute). You can ask them to give you a couple names as referrals and you will interview them to potentially represent you. They will likely tell you they can separate their emotions and business, but this usually extremely not true.
In order to find a solid agent that you have no emotional connection with, you may want to find a local brand with a good track record. Go to their website and scroll through the “Our Agents” tab to find a few that could be a good fit. Pick one or two and write down their information on a notepad and why you think they will fit with you. Leave a few empty spaces for future use. Then go to another company web page and do the same thing. You need at least three choices to interview.