Thursday, May 29, 2008

Meeting the parents when the kids are shopping for real estate

I had a showing yesterday with a delightful young couple who returned to the Wellington Park Townhomes for a second viewing of a few of our units for sale.  Both members brought their parents and a brother and sister.  It was a three-car-full entourage!  Meeting the parents is always a bit of a gamble.   Teresa Boardman over at the St. Paul Real Estate Blog recently

posted an excellent article about meeting the parents.

Sometimes parents talk the children out of buying a particular home, other times they say go for it.  I would like to make one suggestion though to parents and their twenty somethings.  Shopping for a home is comparison shopping.  Buyers compare one home to another and are usually working in a particular price range, looking in a certain neighborhood and looking at a limited style of house that fits their needs.

If the parents have not been kept in the loop they don't have anything to compare the home to.  The children select a home and bring the parents but the parents don't understand that the home was in the best location, best condition and for the best prices as compared with the other 25 that the buyers looked at.  The parents see the home and raise objections.  The buyers explain that they really think the home is the best one for them.

To the buyers I suggest keeping the parents in the loop.  Email them links to some of the homes that are being considered.  Tell them about last weekends adventure in house hunting.

Mom from yesterday's showing would not stop asking everyone (me, the sellers, the buyers' agent - Brian, random neighbors outside, the other child in the couple, the other parents...) if they had seen the front page article from USA Today.  It was all about how economists were all atwitter whether the real estate market had finished crashing or not.  Also how prices have sunk 14% during the first quarter 2008 compared to Q1 2007.

It's just like our distinguished founder, Thad Wong says: 

Talking about nationwide real estate statistics is like talking about the average temperature in the US in January.

Of course, there was no convincing Mom that in Chicago, we have a slower market, but with slight price appreciation, or that in the Lakeview neighborhood, the market is less sluggish than the rest of the city with market times only 10 to 15%  longer than last year, and with price appreciation.

Teresa said it best:

Parents need to understand that the buyers have spent many hours shopping on the Internet and visiting homes in person.  They have done their homework and I have provided them with a great deal of information.  The process is almost like a treasure hunt and when the children bring you along to see the home they would like to purchase they have put a lot of thought into it.  Without anything to compare it to parents should point out the good and the bad as they see it but should also recognize that they have not seen enough homes to judge weather or not the home their children have selected really is the best home.


lauracannon said...

Thank you for your post. I couldn't agree more with you and Theresa Boardman (I had seen her post too). I know that parents and relatives mean well when they offer their opinions on a home. They are worried that their kids are naive about the buying process. But, actually, I find that many times the parents are the ones who are naive with regard to what a given amount can buy today. They think an extra special deal is just around the corner; however, their kids understand that is not realistic because they have already seen all the "special deals" for the last six months. And, they found their home of choice to be the best deal for them. Parents frequently don't realize that their kids have seen 50 homes and have a sense of context. That's where the kids need to make sure their parents are in the loop as Theresa explains. Great post! thanks!