One of the most important things I can do as a Realtor is getting couples on the same page to buy a home. You’d think that everyone comes to the home buying process with one goal in mind; to buy a home. That hasn’t been my experience, however. Home buyers usually have to work through their decisions with each other before actually purchasing a home.
Buying a home as a couple
I think I know the main reason couples get into trouble when buying a home. For young couples, it’s likely that they’ve never made such an expensive and life altering decision before. They haven’t yet gotten comfortable with expressing exactly what they want in a home and what they don’t want. This leads to some awkward interactions. Here is one I encountered.
I was working with a young couple on their first time home purchase. They were wonderful to work with; if I needed their input, they would always call/text/email quickly. There was a new home that came to market in St. Charles. They’d gone to the open house and asked me to stop in later. They told me that they were interested in making an offer. I went through the home and gave them my opinion. Then, the strangest thing happened. When I called them to work out our home purchase offer, they disappeared! I called, left voicemails, emailed, texted, nothing.
Could it be that my clients were dodging me? It sure seemed so. The house in St. Charles went under contract the next day, and I didn’t hear from my clients until the following weekend. Because I was curious, I asked, “Hey, what happened to you on Sunday?” The woman responded that her husband liked the house but she didn’t want to live in St. Charles. We had looked at homes in St. Charles for at least two months prior, and the wife never said anything. The minute the seriousness of writing an offer to purchase a home caused her to openly state her requirement.
We can’t blame the wife in this situation. She wanted to be supportive of her husband’s decision, and it’s a good thing she spoke up when she did. Early in the process with this same couple, the husband pulled me aside and said, “We aren’t moving to Chesterfield, make sure it doesn’t happen.” I’m pretty sure he didn’t tell the wife that either.
Home Buying Decisions
What can we do at Deerwood Realty to help couples make these decisions? I’ve come up with two questions that we discuss early in the process, before we even look at houses.
- Ask the question, where do you really want to live, followed by where do you really NOT want to live? When you are having a discussion out loud and everyone is in the same place, you seem to get more refined answers. The wife might bring up a community she wants to live, and the husband may say something totally contrary to that, and it’s better to have these discussions up front than to let them fester.
- Ask what features they must have in a home. This is different than a prioritized list. For an example, one family I worked with had someone who was highly allergic to leaves. The husband always wanted to live in a wooded area. It wasn’t going to work. They were going to have to live in a more urban setting. I had another couple where the wife had to have a pool. The husband felt like he was going to be the one taking care of it and said absolutely not.
If we can get these issues out into the open early, we have a better chance of having a wonderful time finding that perfect home. This is so important! It’s certainly OK to have different opinions and thoughts about what you want in a home and what you do not. Sometimes, compromises happen. As an example, one might want to live in a big house in the city, and the other just wants to live in a big house wherever. The key is to work together to get couples on the same page to buy a home.