Who Rules the Home Buying Decision?

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Gold DRE #00697006

pia and pica

You know what I hear some Sacramento real estate agents say about buyers? If mama ain't happy, nobody is happy -- meaning it's generally mama who keeps peace in the family. Because if you make mama happy, she'll make everybody else around her happy. And if you don't, she'll make everybody else miserable. So, if mama wants to buy a home, a particular home, maybe a home in Land Park, ya'll better sit up and pay attention.

Except it doesn't always work this way. Sometimes it's daddy who better be kept happy. It's rare that we have a compromise between the two extremes because a balance of power is not always equal.

Around my house, I know who rules. Without exception. It's the cats. Many homes in Land Park are occupied by cats. And right now all 3 of them are sound asleep in the family room, near me and my computer. Among them, Pia is the top cat, although she is the youngest and the only female. Pica is on the left. He's a chocolate-silver marbled ocicat. Pia, on the right, is a cinnamon-spotted ocicat. She doesn't care that Pica wants to sleep by himself on the condo. She is sitting practically on top of him.

If Pia and Pica were looking to buy a condo, Pia would go along with whatever Pica chose. She would not make the initial decision herself, but she would seal the deal. Home buyers aren't that different. But a smart Land Park agent will allow the natural order of relationships -- whatever that balance of power between the parties may be -- to dictate. Without judgment.

Photo: Elizabeth Weintraub

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Elizabeth Weintraub is co-partner of Weintraub & Wallace Team of Top Producing Realtors, an author, home buying expert at The Balance, a Land Park resident, and a veteran real estate agent who specializes in older, classic homes in Land Park, Curtis Park, Midtown, Carmichael and East Sacramento, as well as tract homes in Elk Grove, Natomas, Roseville and Lincoln. Call Elizabeth Weintraub at 916.233.6759. Put our combined 80 years of real estate experience to work for you. Broker-Associate at RE/MAX Gold. DRE License # 00697006.

Photo: Unless otherwise noted in this blog, the photo is copyrighted by Big Stock Photo and used with permission.The views expressed herein are Weintraub's personal views and do not reflect the views of RE/MAX Gold. Disclaimer: If this post contains a listing, information is deemed reliable as of the date it was written. After that date, the listing may be sold, listed by another brokerage, canceled, pending or taken temporarily off the market, and the price could change without notice; it could blow up, explode or vanish. To find out the present status of any listing, please go to elizabethweintraub.com.


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  1. Chris Ann Cleland 11/26/2010 01:08 PM
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Karen Crowson
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Rancho Bernardo, CA
Your Agent for Change

Elizabeth, you bring up a good point. It's important that we figure out who the ultimate decision maker will be when working with multiple buyers. It's best to give equal attention and really watch and listen.  The lead person will certainly become apparent.

Nov 26, 2010 02:37 AM #1
Marjorie Taylor
Riverside Homes - Saint Augustine, FL
New Homes in St. Augustine Florida

Equal attention to all is my pholosophy, then I'm always right on target.

Nov 26, 2010 02:43 AM #2
Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA - Bristow, VA
Associate Broker, Bristow, VA

Beautfiul cats, Elizabeth.  Now I know what breed my Mom's cat is.  We've been wondering. She's got the same markings and face shape as your two, only she's silver and black. 

Nov 26, 2010 03:26 AM #3
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Realtor Top 1%
RE/MAX Gold - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

Hey Karen: I find that sometimes the decision maker is not always apparent -- not without asking questions, anyway.

Hi Marjorie: One of the biggest mistakes agents sometimes make is to ignore one of the parties and to concentrate solely on the decision maker. Agents who employ that practice can discover the role of the decision maker will switch.

Hi Chris Ann: There are different types of ocicats. But only the ones with spots can be shown at a cat show, but I think the marbled variety are very beautiful. The fur is different, too. Pica's fur is soft and velvety. Pia's fur is a cross between straw and hay. They are 1/3 Somali, 1/3 American shorthair and 1/3 Siamese. You can see the Siamese in Pica's face. He has a sheep-head face.

Nov 26, 2010 03:36 AM #4
Bryan Robertson
Los Altos, CA

I try to make sure whatever home is found works for everyone in the decision making process.  It's important not to show bias because when the buying decision finally comes, you never know who will ultimately be enabling or diabling the decision.

Nov 26, 2010 05:06 AM #5
Kathleen Daniels
KD Realty - 408.972.1822 - San Jose, CA
San Jose Homes for Sale-Probate & Trust Specialist

Elizabeth, Your cats are beautiful. No doubt they rule the house. “No judgment” is the name of the game. To each their own.Our job is to advise and guide ... not judge! 

Nov 26, 2010 06:49 AM #6
Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News

OMG Ocicats!  I used to raise the beauties.  My little chocolate point female was the first female champion in the Soutwest Region in the 80's.  She was the sweetest little kitty ever and lived to 15.  Her little friend Jasper ( a pound rescue) missed her terribly when she passed away so we ended up with another rescue to keep him company.  They are still trying to figure out who is top cat but your photo brought back memories of a houseful of Ocicats.  I think at the high point we had 12.

Nov 26, 2010 07:19 AM #7
Nancy Conner
Olympia, WA
Olympia/Thurston County WA

Love your photo - and I can totally relate to pets having a "voice" in home buying decisions, given that we moved twice with one of the prime considerations being a "safe" location for the animals!  Your serious point about determining who the decision maker truly is brings back memories of one couple I worked with where the husband kept saying that whatever she wanted was what they would buy - and then proceeded to pick to shreds every house she liked.  Her face began to fall and her distress was really hard to watch as it became abundantly clear to both she & I that he didn't mean it at all.  Yuck!

Nov 26, 2010 07:31 AM #8
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

First off, Elizabeth, I need to tell you I love that fine print disclaimer at the bottom of your post, "If this post contains a listing, information is deemed reliable as of the date it was written. After that date, the listing may be sold, listed by another brokerage, canceled, pending or taken temporarily off the market, and the price could change without notice. It could blow up, explode or vanish. To find out the present status of any listing, please go to elizabethweintraub.com.". . .Hilarious!

I hope you had a great Thanksgiving!  Your cats look as content as they can be!  I'm certain either of them would be happy with a house or a condo. . .As long as you were there with them:-)

Nov 26, 2010 08:36 AM #9
Kathie Burby
Coldwell Banker Mother Lode Real Estate - Sonora, CA
REALTOR, SFR, Tuolumne County Real Estate Guide

There is a top dog (or cat) in a every home - always good to know who it is!

Nov 26, 2010 12:42 PM #10
Cynthia Larsen
Cotati, CA
Independent Broker In Sonoma County, CA

Elizabeth - you are SO right. I just closed a deal where I dealt with the husband all through the process until the very end. He called me and asked me to talk to his wife ... evidently in the background she was the one that was calling the shots. Who knew!!

Nov 26, 2010 01:17 PM #11
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

So funny.  I had friends over for lunch and cards this afternoon.  I sold them a house 11 years ago.  The bought the house their dog "marked"  Sadly they lost him a couple of years ago, but I'm ever so thankful the dog liked that house.

And we have a top cat among the 6 four leggers living in our home currently too.

Nov 26, 2010 01:50 PM #12
Michelle Gibson
Hansen Real Estate Group Inc. - Wellington, FL

Elizabeth - I could probably say the same about my dogs, love the pic, beautiful kitties.

Nov 26, 2010 02:19 PM #13
Anita Clark
ColdwellBanker SSK Realtors ~ 478.960.8055 - Warner Robins, GA
Realtor - Homes for Sale in Warner Robins GA

Good post that makes a great point Elizabeth.  When working with clients it's important to accurately assess who is in control as they will a) usually require the most attention b) make the final decision

Nov 27, 2010 01:10 AM #14
Colleen Fischesser Northwest Property Shop
RE/MAX Advantage | Managing Broker - Chelan, WA
A Tradition of Trust in the Pacific NW since 1990!

This is a skill some agents naturally have and one that can be learned (the hard way sometimes) through experience. BTW, what's an ocicat? Never heard of that but they're adorable!

Nov 27, 2010 04:24 AM #15
Jim Hale
Eugene Oregon's Best Home Search Website

Often in this process (and other family decisions) there is one spouse would makes the motions...sets the agenda....but it's the other who finally must be satisfied.

You are right, unless you are careful, focusing on the initiator may put you out of sorts with the finalizer.

Nov 27, 2010 11:07 AM #16
Cece Blase
Paragon Real Estate Group - San Francisco, CA

Cute post. In my experience, the woman is nearly always the driver-- and it pays to make sure you're in touch with that 'better half' when soliciting a listing or solidifying a relationship with a buying couple!

Nov 29, 2010 04:23 PM #17
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