One of the most challenging situations any real estate agent can face is working with a couple where each person has different ideas on what their new home should look like, where it should sit, or what amenities it must contain. Personally, I like challenges because they are like puzzles that need to be solved; once I help buyers work through them and we find a home that makes them both happy, it is extremely rewarding for me as well.
Some buyers start out excited to look at homes and quickly realize they are not on the same page; for others it takes longer – they make find a home that one loves and the other could never imagine living in. Or they may see two homes that are very different, or in different neighborhoods, and divide on which one they would like to purchase.
Most buyer couples quickly realize that they may have to compromise a bit in order to find a home that makes them both happy. Here are some great suggestions that will help these buyers find a home that meets most of what both are looking for:
1.Â Make a list. This is the good-old suggestion that I always throw out there no matter what difficult decision is facing someone – I have taught my kids to do it too and it really does put things into perspective. Ask each of your buyers to make a list of things they must have in a new home, things they would like to have, those they don’t particularly care for but could possibly live with if they had to, and those things they absolutely do not care for. The easiest way to do this is to draw columns so you can compare all these things side by side. It is important that each person who is a decision maker does this along, without the help of the other decision maker(s).
Once the lists are complete, I like to look at them myself and prepare a “report,” that finds the commonalities and the complete differences. It really helps for the decision makers to see what they actually do have in common and what they completely disagree upon. It helps to discuss this together – not to argue or get frustrated, but to understand where the partners are coming from.
2.Â Encourage an open mind. Conflicted couples know that they will likely have to compromise (whether they like it or not), but they may not know there are other options out there that neither has considered. By encouraging them both to have an open mind, I can go to work to find properties that they may not have even considered. Armed with their lists I can research, visit homes and then report back to them – hopefully getting them to agree to have a look. I have had many couples start out looking in particular neighborhoods, yet end up purchasing elsewhereÂ – somewhere they would never have considered in the beginning.
Similarly, a home that would have been overlooked at the start, let’s say because the yard was too small and both parties really wanted a larger yard, may be a possibility if changes can be made to expand the yard – this of course will take some research but if the outcome is positive it may open up possibilities for the buyers.
3.Â Decide which items each party is willing to concede. As for the items that are completely opposing in the lists that were created, the couple needs to think about which items they will each concede – in other words, where are they willing to cooperate? If one insists on hardwood flooring and the other loves a home with travertine tile flooring, can one of them live with the flooring that would not be their first choice? If one wants to be in a neighborhood that is walking distance to shops and eateries and the other wants to be more secluded, who is willing to give in and look at conceding personal desires? Of course, with a concession there is the expectation that the other party will give in as well on another point, so it is important to discuss (see number 4 below).
4.Â Be ready to compromise.Â If one person likes modern style homes and the other likes traditional, both will want to consider a compromise. Maybe they find a Craftsman home and combine interior design styles so that there are modern and traditional elements.
5. Don’t let your relationship be affected by your design tastes. Keep in mind that buying a home is a big decision, and don’t let your relationship take a toll during such an important decision-making process. It IS possible to find a home that will make you both happy, but you need to be open, willing and ready to make concessions.
Purchasing a home is definitely not an easy process, but that doesn’t mean that it should be made more difficult due to clashing personal preferences. If buyers recognize the needs of their partners and make a plan to compromise and have open minds, it IS possible to find a home that will make them both happy – I have seen this happen many times so I know it is true.