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Subject:  Contacting agent who is family friend Date:  5/10/2004  1:40 PM
Author:  yosandiego Number:  70820 of 128887

My wife and I are moving to the Bay Area in a few months and have just learned that a family friend's mother is a real estate agent there. The family friend has told her mother that we're moving to the Bay Area, are not yet in a position to buy, but hope to be in a year or so.

She focuses on Berkeley/Albany/El Cerrito and Oakland which is the area that we'd like to buy in. Our family friend has also told us that her mother is very good at getting people into their first homes in the very tight Bay Area market (we will be first time homebuyers). She has offered to talk to us and give us a sense of what we'd need to have lined up once we're ready to start looking.

We lived in Berkeley a few years ago, so we do have a sense of what areas we'd be interested in living in. I have two questions. First, what types of questions should we ask her at this point when we're just beginning to save for a downpayment and not planning on buying for a year or so.

Second, what do people think about talking to/using someone who is a friend of the family? I can see the obvious benefit of having an agent who you have more reason to trust and who may look out for your interests more than they might for other clients. On the flip side, is there a major downside I should be aware of? Would anyone recommend not talking to her at this point?
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