“All in the Family” is a sitcom circa 1970’s. As the purchase and sale of a home has such significant ramifications, I’ve found that in almost all cases there are peripheral people involved. Usually it is family members but also there can be financial advisors, close friends, neighbors and business associates. All seem to have an opinion on what the client should be doing. And like the telephone game of old, that message can come through to the agent in a distorted fashion. This being during the holiday season, seems like an appropriate time to discuss how it affects the purchase and sale of real estate.
With experience I have come to realize it is best to assume that here are other people that will be involved or will influence the client’s decision making. Recently I was visiting an agent who was working with clients on the purchase of a new home. She was dismayed that the brother-in-law came along for many of the appointments with the builder. It felt to her that he was acting as the “bad cop” bringing up problems and concerns that weren’t even issues just to show that he was adding value.
On average most Americans buy and/or sell a home only once every five to seven years so it isn’t surprising that the process is overwhelming for many people. Even if one has done it more frequently, laws and practices often have changed, as does the market. Perhaps this is why many people seek outside counsel from trusted friends, relatives and associates. One of the strategies I have employed to great success is to follow up all conversations and meetings with an e-mail synopsis of what was discussed and happened. In this way the client has written clarification that they can then forward to whoever is advising them or they seek counsel from. Then if that person has a question or desires more information, the client usually in most cases just forwards it to me directly.
At that juncture I now have a better understanding of who else is involved. In the case of a newly widowed woman, it was her financial advisor that was reviewing everything. In the situation of a first-time homebuyer, it was her lawyer father who was weighing in. In the case of a young married couple, it was her sister who is a real estate agent in another state that was sharing her opinion. In the case of the out-of-state seller, it was his neighbor that was watching over all the comings and goings of the house and reporting back.
Now I proceed with every transaction with the assumption that someone else is watching or listening to everything I’m doing, albeit through my client’s eyes. It has been my experience those parties’ intent is for the best for the person. Thus I can be the most helpful by not assuming a defensive posture. When I convey through my words, message and actions that I too am seeking the best for the client, most people relax and then are open to hear my counsel. Just remember, it is “all in the family.”
Karen Briscoe and Lizzy Conroy and their team HBC Group at Keller Williams are active and experienced Realtors® in the Northern Virginia, suburban Maryland and Washington, DC market place. They would be delighted to assist whether selling or buying a home. Please contact via the means most convenient for you: www.HBCGroupKW.com, 703-734-0192, Homes@HBCGroupKW.com.