Real Estate: Kissing the (Hand) That Feeds You

In life, it’s very important to know which side of your bread is buttered. In my real estate career over many years, I’ve had the honor and privilege of representing clients who have bought homes with the financial contributions of their parents, in-laws, other family members or a loan through a financial institution. One common denominator has reigned supreme in each situation:

Those who hold the purse-strings get to call the shots.
I’ve seen the young couples with small children who need their parents’ blessing of cash and change their minds about where they buy because “mom doesn’t like the house”. In that case, since it was mom’s money helping to make that next purchase, the kids changed their plan about where they bought so they could be “closer to grandma”. Sounds fair to me.
One young couple I represented planned to buy a home with enough space so the in-laws could stay with them. In this case, the mother-in-law was being very difficult about what the kids were considering buying. I felt compelled to gently remind them that since “mom” isn’t contributing financially, then perhaps they could be more independent about their home purchase.
I don’t remember if I actually said what I was thinking — my edit button is broken sometimes. Let’s just say that my business partner/husband Greg backs away from showing property under these circumstances. (He has enough of his own mother-in-law sometimes. Love ya, mom!)
The most common example I see of our Buyer Clients being at the whim of he/she who provides the funds is when they’re relying on a bank of other financial institution to provide a loan for their purchase. Although most of our Buyers have enough of a healthy down payment, they still need to borrow money to be able to buy their home. It may seem odd when the lenders ask for abundant financial documentation or signatures or explanation letters or super-bizarre last-minute conditions. Sometimes I have to remind our Buyer Clients that this is all part of getting a lender to loan ’em many hundreds of thousands of dollars.
They have the money; they make the rules.
Sounds fair, right? Here’s one thing that really irks me when I’m showing property but luckily, this only happens when I’m hosting an Open House at one of our own listings, mainly because we’re selective about who our Buyer Clients are:
Scenario: Teenage kid doesn’t like the house. Complains annoyingly. Whines. Sulks. Pouts. Cops an attitude. Disrespects the adult.
Is this adolescent helping to make the mortgage payment? No.
Is this kid a child-star who’s bringing in the total infusion of cash in order for the purchase to happen? No.
Personally, I’ve gotten better over the years about commenting that whoever makes the house payment gets first pick about who bunks where.
The bottom line is this:
If mom and dad are giving you money to buy that house, you better be home for Christmas!