Dueling Spouses: How to Find the Right Home for Both Parties

Posted on Feb 9 2016 - 10:36am by Housecall

By Kelly Hager of the Kelly Hager Real Estate Group

SpousesMy favorite kinds of transactions are those where I really get to use my skills as a REALTOR®! One type of family that I really like to help is the family that needs to get on the same page before moving forward. When you first meet with clients to understand what their needs are, it's easy to see when their wants are completely different. Finding common ground is the place to start.

As a REALTOR®, staying in neutral is a key to success. Understanding the needs of both parties and then bringing them to consensus will drive everyone to their goals. Here's how to approach the situation:

  1. ​Mitigate nearly all of this by sitting down with both parties and finding out what they specifically agree on as a NEED vs. a WANT.
  1. If it's a type-A vs. type-B thing, be careful not to take sides. Be impartial, but be a devil's advocate for both personalities.
  1. Level shift on them. Ask both if they would be happy if...(insert a compromising perspective). Often times, the conflict is about money/lifestyle, not necessarily a feature of the home or where it is located.
  1. Be fact-based. Part of the duel may be one party applying a yesteryear attitude to real estate or assuming something to be true because they heard it happened before. The realistic party can often be the submissive party. Again, don't take sides, but be ready to overcome anything with facts. Learn market conditions, statistics, forecasts and anything else you might find useful to make the point, but without ganging up on anyone.
  1. Compromising is push and pull. If there is truly a stalemate, no one will feel like they've "won" unless they think the other side has "lost" something.  Ask questions like, "If you could get everything you wanted in a home, but had to sacrifice an extra 10-minute commute, would that be worth it?" or "If location is a deal-breaker, would you be content with handling a few projects after you take possession?" Sometimes this opens peoples' minds to the alternative action they'd need to take as a cause of their behavior. The idea is to ask simple questions that make them think and ultimately discover they aren't the only decision maker and they can't have it all.
  1. Getting the right home is often times not acquiring the perfect home. As a professional, understanding up front what motivates each person, what their lifestyle is like (job/kids/background) can aid later on in emotional objections or if there is a difference in opinion. It will give you a chance to go back and recall their pre-emotive state. Say they are disagreeing on location: "Remember when we first met and I asked you if living in this particular school district would be OK, as long as we found something updated and priced well?" If they are disagreeing on money: "You're approved for well above this amount and the home has all of the criteria we identified when we first met. Just out of curiosity, what specifically makes this a poor fit now?
Kelly Hager is the CEO and owner of The Kelly Hager Group LLC which celebrated its tenth year in 2015. Kelly is designated as one of "St. Louis' Top One Percent" of real estate agents. Through her leadership, The Kelly Hager Group crossed over the 53 million dollar mark in 2015. For 2016, the team is projected to grow to 100 agents and have sales volume of over 100 million dollars.
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  1. Mike February 9, 2016 at 1:04 pm - Reply

    Wow this was really helpful. I’ve had situations in the past where dueling couples just got in each other’s way and forgot about the process…as an agent, you really have to exercise some learned skills you didn’t acquire in real estate school.

  2. Rick February 10, 2016 at 2:07 pm - Reply

    Timely, timely post! Thanks

  3. Monica February 11, 2016 at 9:41 am - Reply

    Its tricky to not sound as though you are talking out of both sides of your mouth! I find I can relate to both, and if you are empathetic to both, you can’t always make forward progress. Its like we are their therapists. . I like how you phrase the compromises . . And I constantly have to remind myself that its not about me, its about them!

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