Any experienced real estate agent will tell you that the buyer’s parents can, and will kill the deal.
As the buyer’s agent, you have to figure out a way to connect with the parents and ease the concerns they have about any given property.
It’s definitely a balancing act.
One word of caution…tread lightly.
Parenting is one of the toughest jobs on the planet and parents naturally want to protect their children from the cold, cruel world.
That’s been their primary job since their child was born.
As a parent, I know how difficult it is to watch your child do something that you know is not good for them, but you have to let it play out.
That’s how they learn.
As a parent you teach your child to be honest, responsible, trustworthy and independent.
But all of that seems to go out the window when it comes time to buy a house.
All of a sudden, their grown child is 6 years old again and incapable of making an intelligent decision.
Buying a house is an exciting and scary time.
It’s the ultimate “adulting” thing to do.
The buyer has met with you, gotten pre-approved, looked at dozens of houses and have finally decided on one.
Enter, the parents.
Before they make an offer, in a slow market, they want their parents to see it.
“Of course” you say and prepare for the worst.
One of the rules I have in my business is that I only work with people I like.
Sure one or two bad apples creep in, but for the most part I truly enjoy working with my clients.
I think my clients are smart, savvy and know what they want or don’t want.
So when I meet their parents, I compliment them on how well they raised their child.
I talk about how many houses or condos we have looked at to arrive at this particular selection.
As the house tour begins, the buyer tells them what they love about the house.
I mentally prepare for the worst.
The parents begin with the questions and comments.
“Is this neighborhood safe?”
“It seems a little small.”
“The price seems too high. Do you know what you could buy (insert state) with that kind of money?”
“It sure needs a lot of work.”
“There’s no parking? Where are you going to park?”
“Why isn’t there a bathtub?”
“How old is the roof?”
“What’s going on with the house next door?”
…and the list goes on and on.
As the seeds of doubt are being planted, you can see on their face that the buyers enthusiasm begins to wane.
They try to convince their parents what a great house they are buying and that it’s a good investment.
You exchange pleasantries and tell the parents that their adult child is making an educated decision.
You explain one more time about the number of properties you have seen and this one fits their needs and their budget.
Having said all of that, you know in your heart of hearts that there is still a 50/50 chance, the buyer won’t make an offer based on the parents.
It’s always frustrating for real estate agents when someone important to the buyer comes in at decision-making time and doesn’t “approve” of the property.
They haven’t seen all of the properties you and the buyer have seen.
As a result, they can’t appreciate the property their child has selected to purchase.
For some reason, they don’t trust their adult child to make a major financial decision without their input.
So much for raising a strong, independent thinking child.
But I don’t just blame the parents.
The buyer is at fault as well.
Part of adulting is learning to make decisions.
Sometimes you have to stand-up to your parents.
Yes, you can ask your parents for their input, but you ultimately make the decision.
It takes a strong buyer to go against the advice of their parents, but they are out there.
As their Realtor, it’s difficult to think you can come between a parent and their child.
You are bound to upset one of the parties.
So what can you do?
I pull the buyer aside, if possible and remind them of what they are looking for in a house.
I also give a rundown of all of the other properties we have seen and eliminated.
Often times I have to remind my buyers that they are smart and capable of making this decision on their own.
After this pep talk, sometimes I’m successful and other times, the search continues.
Frustrating, but what else can you do?
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As an active Realtor licensed in three jurisdictions, I approach real estate training from a different perspective. With over 18 years in the real estate business, I teach agents what it’s really like to be a real estate agent.