Spam prevention
Jill Murty, Realtor - Orange County, CA
Movoto - Laguna Niguel, CA

I don't work for free.  

For my Dad, yeah.  But thing is that my Dad (and Mom when she was alive) never would have expected me to work for free.  We would have had a smack down like "Take the money!"  "No!  You're not paying me."

When someone approaches me as though my only value is the potential discount I may provide, I lose interest.  They can go somewhere else.

This is your business.  Treat it that way.

Jul 28, 2015 09:19 AM
Joe Pryor
The Virtual Real Estate Team - Oklahoma City, OK
REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties

From my experience you should go up on the commission for family.

Jul 28, 2015 12:57 PM
Jenna Dixon
Momentum Real Estate Group LLC - Marietta, GA
55 & Over | New Constructions | Horse Farms

Interestingly, my family has NEVER asked me to do that.  They have even gone out of their way to make sure if they are out of state that I make a referral for a fee.  "Friends" have asked and the answer is no.  Usually asking in the first place is a sign of trouble to come.

Jul 28, 2015 09:08 AM
Amanda Christiansen
Christiansen Group Realty (260)704-0843 - Fort Wayne, IN
Christiansen Group Realty

My step brother (A type personality) once asked me what my commission rate was.  I told him X %.  He then asked what my family rate was.  I went 1 point higher.  

People only take advantage of you because you allow them to.  Stand strong, no exceptions.  

Jul 28, 2015 10:44 PM
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

I ask them if they work for free.  They generally say no.

Jul 28, 2015 11:30 AM
Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

Fortunately, I don't have family in the area or the types of friends who expect something for nothing! But I have sold for friends elsewhere and I might give them a small break on the commission, but certainly not free! (What of value will they be providing me for free?)

Jul 28, 2015 10:46 PM
Jeanne Feenick
NextHome Premier - Basking Ridge, NJ
The Agent you choose REALLY does make a difference

When I first started in the business I was so put off and hurt when I would see friends list with others ---- over time I have come to decide that it may be for the best. Not just because of possible commission discussions but also because "friendship" may get in the way of the frank and direct discussions that are a part of the best real estate relationships. 

Jul 28, 2015 10:16 PM
James Dray
Fathom Realty - Bentonville, AR
Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results

Business is business and family is family.  I don't discount anything in my business for anyone.

Jul 28, 2015 08:03 PM
Les & Sarah Oswald
Realty One Group - Eastvale, CA
Broker, Realtor and Investor

I have a rule that I don't work with family members. I refer them out. For mom and dad it is always FREE. 

Jul 28, 2015 12:49 PM
Barbara Todaro
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Retired - Franklin, MA
Previously Affiliated with The Todaro Team

just say you can't work for nothing....and no one is going to represent them better than you will....

Jul 28, 2015 09:39 AM
John McCormack, CRS
Albuquerque Homes Realty - Albuquerque, NM
Honesty, Integrity, Results, Experienced. HIRE Me!

I've never had to deal with this.  My friends and family know I work for a living.

Jul 28, 2015 09:23 AM
Cindy Davis
SD Home Source Realty - San Diego, CA

We all have different relationships and different places where we would draw the line. For immediate family, I would not take a commission. For friends, I might agree to work for a discount, but certainly not free.

Jul 28, 2015 09:10 AM
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

Well I would commend them for coming to the right source to get it done. For free is another matter. Reasonable is more like it or discount but any laborer is worthy of wages. The world runs on this principal. Honor it!

Jul 28, 2015 08:54 AM
Richard Bazinet /MBA, CRS, ABR
West USA Realty - Scottsdale, AZ
Phoenix Scottsdale. Sellers, Buyers & Relocations

I'd say... "why?"....

Then I'd ask them if they can split their paycheck with me for the next 6  months, that would only be fair.

Jul 28, 2015 11:37 PM
Wayne Zuhl
Remax First Realty II - Cranford, NJ
The Last Name You'll Ever Need in Real Estate

Our broker won't let us take a listing for less than an appropriate commission. He'll let us give a break to family, but free? No way. It's expensive to market a property. It take a lot of time to negotiate a deal and maintain it to the close. We can't afford to work for free.

Jul 28, 2015 09:59 PM
Debbie Laity
Cedaredge Land Company - Cedaredge, CO
Your Real Estate Resource for Delta County, CO

I tell my friends and family that I have to get paid so I can pay my light bill, water bill and feed my family. I have to work to get paid, and I work hard for my money.

I have some friends that recently just saw how hard I worked on getting them a bank owned property and that I made next to nothing on it. They were the type of people that cut their agent's commission until they saw how hard I worked for them. Now they know and understand the value of my services. 

Jul 28, 2015 04:35 PM
Sam Shueh
(408) 425-1601 - San Jose, CA
mba, cdpe, reopro, pe

When I started working as a realtor, I got a barrage of calls seeking free advice.  Then about home improvement projects. Do you get 35% discount from Home Depot?  

Doing it for free? There is legal and tax consequence on it.

Jul 28, 2015 12:47 PM
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

I tell my friends and family they called me because I am a professional and will not allow anything to get in the way, and deserve the money I am paid.

Jul 28, 2015 12:06 PM
Stefan Winter
Real Estate in IL & NV | Owner of Real Estate Web Tech | Daily Vlogger - Las Vegas, NV
Owner - Winter Group & Real Estate Web Tech

For friends I always tell them they can hire me as a professional for my regular rate or I can give them the friend/family price which is 2% hire because you are dealing with friends/family. Usually they take the regular fee.

If not I'd rather have them deal with another Realtor as opposed to discounted my fee's

Jul 28, 2015 12:05 PM
Debbie Reynolds, C21 Platinum Properties
Platinum Properties- (931)771-9070 - Clarksville, TN
The Dedicated Clarksville TN Realtor-(931)320-6730

I am never asked by family or friends to do this so don't know how I would respond. If I want to do something special it comes later.

Jul 28, 2015 10:52 AM
Bob Haywood
McGraw Realtors - Owasso, OK

I'm with Richie, a laborer is worth their wages.  I tell people I might can give them a break on what I normally charge, but I have to put food on the table and pay my bills too, so them paying me is me helping them.

Jul 28, 2015 09:05 AM
Raymond E. Camp
Ontario, NY
Licensed Real Estate Salesperson Greater Rochester

My Father always said: "Money is money; friends are friends; business is business; relatives are relatives never shall the interfere with each other."

Jul 28, 2015 11:28 PM
Inna Ivchenko
Barcode Properties - Encino, CA
Realtor® • GRI • HAFA • PSC Calabasas CA

Fortunately, I do not have such relatives. I would make some adjustments for a friend that make us both feel comfortable with that arrangement, but I would not work for free.

Mixing friends and money never ends well, I'd rather keep a friend.

Jul 28, 2015 04:49 PM
Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Andover, MA
Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale

Daniel Hayes - well, you should not have done that is what I can say. After all, you have to feed your family!

Jul 28, 2015 02:28 PM
Ernest Villafranca
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate - Oakland, CA
3923 Grand Ave. Oakland CA, 510-418-9443

They're going to make money. I should make some too. Fair?

One way to have handled your friend's home sale would have been: Hey, pay me the 3% commission now and if you buy with me, well, I'll give it back. That way if they don't buy with you...well...you got paid :)


Jul 28, 2015 02:08 PM
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

I don't like that people think this much too often and I see so many people who want certain sevices for free, especially creative ones.

Jul 28, 2015 01:52 PM
William Feela
Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No.

First I will lay out what it costs me for me to have a license, be a member of the boards and a lot of other things...Then I ask them if their boss asked them to work for free...would they.


At thaa point I will NOT list the home even if they offer to give me a full commission.

Jul 28, 2015 01:14 PM
Chuck Willman UtahHomes.me
Utah Homes - Alpine, UT
Utah Homes

For family I'm a pushover. Unless someone wants to marry into my family, they'll need to expect that normal compensation will be involved.

Jul 28, 2015 12:41 PM
Malinda Montgomery RSPS AHWD TMS-Realtor
Gaffs Realty - Port Orange, FL

I would take a reduced commission listing for my Dad but noone else. He knows it cost me money to market and work the property. This is my "job" and noone else will pay my bills.

Jul 28, 2015 12:01 PM
Troy Erickson AZ Realtor (602) 295-6807
Good Company Real Estate - Chandler, AZ
Your Chandler, Ahwatukee, and East Valley Realtor

Daniel - What kind of friends and family do you have that they all want you to work for free all the time, just kidding.

I would just let them know that if they worked with any other agent, they would not get their services for free. I may offer friends and family a discount, maybe not. If they are buying, it doesn't cost them anything anyway. If they don't want to work with me because I will not work for free, I would try and get a referral and send them to someone else. Sometimes it is better not to work with friends and family anyway.

Jul 28, 2015 11:08 AM
Mike Rock
Complete Design - Granite Bay, CA
Granite Bay Luxury New Construction...For Less

i know its a olddddddd saying. but i never buy or sell anything from or too a relative or friend. period. i refer them to someone good

Jul 28, 2015 10:52 AM
John Meussner
Mortgages in AZ, CA, CO, DE, FL, GA, MD, MT, NC, NJ, NV, OK, OR, PA, SC, TN, TX, UT, VA, WV - Fair Oaks, CA
#MortgageMadeEasy Fair Oaks, CA 484-680-4852

I dont do it.  In my line of work, I can't do it, it's illegal for me to work for less on any file.  Even if I could, I still wouldn't do it.  I'd take care of them and make sure they got amazing service, but I try to do that for everyone.

Jul 28, 2015 10:00 AM
Sharon Altier, SFR
Lawton Realty Group, Inc. - Elmhurst, IL
Your Real Estate Partner

Right. Set boundaries and as John McCormack mentioned, remind them that you work for a living and this is significant time you invest.  If they have issue, refer out.  Nothing wrong with not discounting.  Sounds like you have it under control Daniel!

Jul 28, 2015 09:40 AM
Dale Erwin
Househunter of Fort Worth - Fort Worth, TX

I cut my commision very sparingly. Typically I may give family a discount, depending on what level of service they want. If the market is hot, my out of pocket expenses are low. I've learned in my twenty four years in the business cutting my comission is rarely a good idea. Working for or with family is the toughest thing you can do. 

Aug 03, 2015 01:16 AM
Katina Hargrove 352-551-0308
Stake Your Land Realty, Inc. - Eustis, FL
Broker/Owner, GRI,SFR, REALTOR®

Daniel Hayes,

I personally made a decision last year no to handle any family members real estate needs.

Jul 30, 2015 06:48 AM
Jill Moog
Coast & Country Homes and Estates, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
Carlsbad, CA Homes for Sale

At my previous brokerage, they told us a horror story of an agent "helping out" a relative for free, then got named in a lawsuit and ended up paying out thousands - even though they didn't make a dime.

Jul 29, 2015 07:00 AM
Olga Simoncelli
Veritas Prime, LLC dba Veritas Prime Real Estate - New Fairfield, CT
CONSULTANT, Real Estate Services & Risk Management

I have provided free consulting services and offered such, but I think that to be appreciated as a professional we should always attach a fee to our services, in writing. If we like, we can offer a discount or waive the charges as a professional courtesy, but that should be up to us. 

Jul 29, 2015 01:31 AM
Richard Robibero, e-Pro, ABR, SRS
Panorama R.E. Limited - Toronto, ON
Selling Your Home as if it were My Own!

I cut my commission for family. They don't have to ask.

Some caveats:

- I don't lose money on these deals.

- I issue a refund check after they buy something from me which has been 80% of the deals.

- I don't think twice if they don't use me.


My mother, father, and sister... I don't charge a penny. The things they have done for me over my lifetime are incalcuable. They may try to pay  but I won't accept. 

It's not up for debate.

Jul 29, 2015 01:20 AM
Jeff Pearl
RE/MAX Distinctive / LIC in VA - Lovettsville, VA
Full Service Full Time Realtor

I would never ask any family member to do something for me for free. I would insist on paying them full price no matter what I hired them to do. But my family members don't have the same thinking that I do. One of my sisters wanted to sell a house. I had another listing nearby, and I had a buyer that would have bought their house. She said she didn't think they should have to pay me because I wouldn't have to do much work. I did comps and suggested list price of 443000.00 They said that was too low. plus I offered to list it for 4.5% and they said that was way too much. They listed it with another broker for 6%, and listed it for 15,000.00 less than what I suggested. Sometimes it's just not worth it to deal with whining relatives.

Jul 29, 2015 01:17 AM
Shirley Coomer
Keller Williams Realty Sonoran Living - Phoenix, AZ
Realtor, Keller Williams Realty, Phoenix Az

I have never had family ask for a discount.  For my children I would offer a reduced commission, but offering is different than asking.  Some people subscribe to the old adage that if you don't ask you won't get it. Sometimes just telling them this is how you pay your bills and feed your family is enough.  I find usually the clients that ask for a reduced fee have plenty of money, they are just used to asking for  discount.  If they know me they know how hard I will work for them and with my business knowledge and negociation skills will save them money on their transaction.

Jul 29, 2015 01:05 AM
Jeanne Gregory
RE/MAX Southwest - Sugar Land, TX
The most important home I sell is YOURS!

I sold a home for a family member two years ago.  My son in laws mom needed to get out of a bad neighborhood.  I sold her house for free.  However, she didn't ask, I volunteered it.  She's retired, living on fixed income and needed to get out of that neighborhood fast!  But if someone asks upfront before you even start, it could be a bad deal about to happen.

Jul 29, 2015 12:43 AM
Virtual Realty Consultants
Virtual Realty Consultants LLC - Wellesley, MA
Making the American Dream a Reality

It's easy - if you are a sales agent you simply tell the "friend" that it's not your decision.  Your broker owns the business and sets the commission rates that you charge.  You are not allowed to change commission rates without his permission.  It's the same answer we give to anyone who asks us if we will cut our commission.  We are running a business.  It's a business decision to be made by our broker, not by an independent contractor representing the brand.

Jul 29, 2015 12:37 AM
Tabitha Rector-Richardson
Premier Homes Realty - Owings Mills, MD
Premier Homes Realty (443) 415-4215

I usually tell friends and family I normally charge 6% but I can reduce it to 5-5.5%.  I don't really provide a huge discount but I definitely will not do free.   We do not go to their jobs asking them for free services so I don't expect them to ask me either.  Sometimes I would prefer not working with friends/family because they turn out to be the biggest problem clients. 

Jul 29, 2015 12:08 AM
Lee Marlin
First United Realty of Georgia - Atlanta, GA
ATL Metro 404.384.2274 - Luxury/Divorce/ShortSales


Would you:

- ask your heart surgeon for a cut-rate by-pass operation?

- ask your dentist for a steep discount on a root canal?

- ask your server at a fine restaurant to bring you some pre-eaten or returned food?


Remember always that anyone can do shabby, incomplete, or  slipshod work.  The difference in real estate is that selling a home is usually the most expensive transaction that a family faces.  Selling/Buying are highly detailed processes where missing a "little detail" or fine point can cost the seller/buyer plenty of money or even result in a lawsuit.


In a case like that, do they want to shave  a little off your commission or do they want all your attention and skill applied to getting the best price and terms that work for them?


Good Selling,



Jul 28, 2015 11:56 PM
Michael Setunsky
Woodbridge, VA
Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA

Daniel Hayes Sorry to hear you had to learn this the hard way.

Jul 28, 2015 11:43 PM
Debra Peters
Referral Realty - Manorville, NY
NY Real Estate Salesperson

I have never been asked to sell someone's house for free. Reduce my commission, yes.

If I knew someone that was totally destitute, I might consider not charging them a fee or charge a small fee to cover my advertising costs.

If it comes down to the nitty gritty and it's a matter of earning something instead of nothing, then I would think twice about it. My area is very competative and there are many homeowner's that need every dime they can get from their transaction. 

I value myself and the services I can offer to my clients. I don't however let greed get in the way. Each and every client/customer is unique.


Jul 28, 2015 11:30 PM
Annette Lawrence , Palm Harbor, FL 727-420-4041
ReMax Realtec Group - Palm Harbor, FL
Making FLORIDA Real Estate EZ

When presented with such an opportunity to work for free, I always say 'YES' with that half smile that suggests to the knucklehead they may want to ask more questions.

I actually have a 'free' model that requires the seller to make some commitments. In explaining the 'free' model, it becomes clear the seller must commit to selling the house before I invest my resources and knowledge. (NOTE: the real estate professional actually makes more $$$ using the FREE model than the traditional model)

THEN it becomes clear the motive of the knucklehead who proclaims they NEED such a concession.

Jul 28, 2015 10:01 PM