Who's the Decision Maker?

Managing Real Estate Broker with Flexit Realty "Flexible Home Selling Solutions"

Who's the Decision Maker,can be one of those bombshell questions.  Real Estate selling and buying requires us, as Realtor's to deal with the decision makers.  You could be talking to the decision maker upon first contact, or you could be discussing your representation with someone other than the decision maker (owner of the property).  Until you meet face to face and get the facts all you can really do is ask questions and note the answers.

Many times younger buyers have parents that will contact me on their behalf.  Some in fact offer so much information they seem like the seller, except their name isn't on the deed!  They lent money for the purchase of the property, failed to have joint ownership, a promissary note or any written attactment recorded for their investment.  They want a say because of their investment but really have no say in how the property is listed or sold.  Unless their child authorizes communication, in writing of course, when you list the property with them they are treated as any other interested party.  Cross the line even though it does not seem reasonable and you could be violating your fudiciary responsibility and possibly your code of ethics.

Knowing Who's the Decision Maker helps you market properties.  We have all had brothers, sisters, husbands and wifes callWho's the Decision Maker?  Professional Real Estate Representation Gary White Flexit Realty Grand Rapids Michigan 616-784-2360 and want to list a property for sale.  In Michigan the husband can not sell a property without the wife's signature on the contract.  Divorce situations happen.  They also cause people to do strange things, like sell the home the wife or husband is living in without their knowledge!  

Knowing Who's the Decision Maker when working with home buyer's is just as important.  Many times someone behind the scenes is offering information that may be counter productive to your efforts.  Parents, co-workers all well meaning use bits of information and turn them into facts that are used by buyers to forge a buying strategy that collapses angry moments when offers to purchase fail.

I have had parents want to preview any home their child would like to buy before lending them money to purchase.  Only reasonable for an investor to think that way.  The problem may be that the parent/investor may not have a flexible schedule, live some great distance away and unable to view the subject property fast enough.  Most properties have the peak visits within the first 30 days of being listed.

Knowing "Who's the Decision Maker" can help real estate agents represent their clients better.  Hidden Decision makers can cause delays in purchases and sales creating undo stress for clients and agents.

Do you know Who's the Decision Maker in your transaction?


Re-Blogged 2 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Charles Stallions 02/23/2013 07:07 AM
  2. Praful Thakkar 02/24/2013 11:58 AM
ActiveRain Community
Michigan Kent County Grand Rapids
Michigan Realtors
Greater GRAND RAPIDS, MI Real Estate
real estate decisions
flexit realty grand rapids michigan
whos the decision maker
hidden decision makers

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Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

I will never forget a couple of homebuyers I worked with.  Mr. Buyer was tall strong and athletic looking.  His wife was a petite quiet spoken lady.  I would sit down with the pair to discuss parts of their transaction, and Mr. Buyer would almost always do the talking.  It appeared he was the decision maker.  But, alas, the wife would quietly lean over and whisper in his ear, and the whole dynamic of negotiation would dramatically change:-)  While some rule with a holler, others can with a whisper!

Feb 23, 2013 10:33 AM #7
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

I agerre, myrl! :) Nice post, Gary! :)


Love and light,


Feb 23, 2013 10:35 AM #8
Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Andover, MA
Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale

Gary, this is a sad reminder for me - in a recent transaction, all the time, buyers were negotiating and we did have 'meeting of mind' in price, terms and conditions - and all of sudden buyer calls me to let me know his brother-in-law would like to preview the property. The next I hear is - brother-in-law felt that my buyer is paying 'too much!' even without looking at the home. A real behind the scene decision maker!

Feb 23, 2013 01:15 PM #9
Karen Anne Stone
New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County - Fort Worth, TX
Fort Worth Real Estate

Most of the time, if it is a man/woman couple... most folks will say that it's the woman who makes the choice.  I must admit that I agree with that.

Feb 23, 2013 01:33 PM #10
Dan Tabit
Keller Williams Bellevue - Sammamish, WA

Gary, I'm glad Karen Anne made that comment. I try to find out what's important to each party I'm working with.  Sometimes I ask straight out, but it can be a delicate question.

Feb 23, 2013 02:14 PM #11
Scott Fogleman
New Home Team 804-573-9592 - Richmond, VA
New Home Team

Gary- You always have to talk to the decision maker, otherwise you are wasting your time...

Feb 23, 2013 07:18 PM #12
Blatt + Cutino
Keller Williams Coastal Estates - Monterey, CA
Broker-Associate 831/206-8070*Call today*

This is si basic but so often overlooked by agents--at least at first. Some find out the hard way. When their client lose a house or two..

Feb 23, 2013 08:43 PM #13
Amanda Christiansen
Christiansen Group Realty (260)704-0843 - Fort Wayne, IN
Christiansen Group Realty

Very good post Gary.  Sometimes, as hard as they are trying to help, the parents cause more harm than good.  Congrats on the feature.  

Feb 23, 2013 09:09 PM #14
Ed Silva
RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

Gary, in most states, especially, only the names as recorded on the mortgage on the town records have a right to sell the property, and those are the ppeople we need to talk with. Good Post

Feb 23, 2013 09:15 PM #15
Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty
Bucci Realty, Inc. - Melbourne, FL
Fifteen Years Experience in Brevard County

Right on target, Gary.  You can do all the work required only to fail if you do not understand the situation and players.

Feb 23, 2013 09:19 PM #16
Charita Cadenhead
Keller Williams Realty - Birmingham, AL
Serving Jefferson and Shelby Counties (Alabama)

This is critical information for buyers, sellers and agents.  The entourage mean weill but they can complicate a situation to the point of being nearly beyond repair.

Feb 23, 2013 09:55 PM #17
Fernando Herboso - Broker for Maxus Realty Group
Maxus Realty Group - Broker 301-246-0001 - Gaithersburg, MD
301-246-0001 Serving Maryland, DC and Northern VA
I found this to be true with a lot first time homebuyers and their parents...but in most cases is the woman that has to give the final approval
Feb 23, 2013 09:57 PM #18
Michael Setunsky
Woodbridge, VA
Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA

Gary, I run into this all the time. In commercial real estate it is often the admin assistant, secretary or another person looking on the owner's behalf. It takes some detective work to get to the person in charge who can make the decisions.

Feb 23, 2013 10:24 PM #19
Margaret Woda
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc. - Crofton, MD
Maryland Real Estate & Military Relocation

Young people often invite their parents to view a home they're considering, but they're really just looking for their approval, not their opinion. Parents don't always get that and it's very hurtful when they torpedo a sale.  It backfires, however, and the young people won't invite them to view the next home they consider.  I've seen this time and time again.

Feb 23, 2013 10:29 PM #20
Karen Anne Stone
New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County - Fort Worth, TX
Fort Worth Real Estate

Ed in #16:  I agree that, in your case, the persons "on the mortgage" are the only ones who can "sell"... or sign the sales paperwork, but if we're talking about a husband and wife, or any couple, the guy MAY be the only one who can legally "sign" to sell the property, but if he knows that if he doesn't do exactly what his partner wants, he's going to be sleeping on the front porch until he does... trust me, "legal" carries much less weight than you may think.

As "they" say... if Momma ain't happy, nobody's happy!

Feb 23, 2013 11:33 PM #21
Gena Hatch
Keller Williams Realty - Carmel Valley, CA
Realtor, CHMS, CNS

I just had a group (young couple, her father who is local, his mother who is from out of the country and didn't speak English) and I showed them investment condos - the young couple's first dabble into investment property. Fast forward to making an offer and it turned out that "his mom" the one who didn't speak English was the decision maker! She may not have spoken English but she spoke "spreadsheet" very well!

Feb 24, 2013 12:33 AM #22
Gary White~Grand Rapids Home Selling Pro Call: 616-821-9375
Flexit Realty "Flexible Home Selling Solutions" - Grand Rapids, MI
Real Estate Services You can Trust!

Hi Charles, asking is easy straight forward but sometimes we still get surprised!  Thanks for the comments Charles.

Hi John, wished I could say after over a decade of real estate dealings I was never caught not taking my own advice!  Thanks for the comments John.

Hello Andrew, those gifts can be great to get a property sold or bought but can lead to some interesting input from those offering a hand.  Thanks for the comments Andrew.

Hi Myrl, you made me think of the old cliche' "walk softly and carry a big stick" offered up by President Teddy.  Thanks for the comments Myrl, hope all is well.

Hi Laura, thanks for taking the time to comment.

Hi Praful, those types of situations stick with you a long time.  Especially when you had no idea a "real estate consultant" was in the wing!  Thanks for the comments Praful.

Hi Karen, I have not found the bottom line to home purchasing in the wife's hands most of the time.  Although I have to say, most couples take the time and respect to consult their partners.  Thanks for your comments Karen a very valid point.

Hi Dan, asking the right questions in the right way can be a ticklish situation at times, given the diversity of personalities we run into in real estate.  Thanks for the comments Dan.

Hi Scott, you should have been a preacher!  Nothing could be more appropriate.  Thanks for the comments Scott.

Hi Angelica, It only takes a few sales to fall through before you remember to ask the right questions.  It takes more than a pre-approval letter!  Thanks for the comments Angelica

Hello Christianson's, how's Fort Wayne?  We are shoveling in Michigan.  Parent can over protect and many times offer outdated information.  The problem, the children know who controls the purse strings.  Thanks for your comments guys.

Hi Ed, I recently represented a seller who was listening to co-workers, media and anyone with a pulse to check to see if my information was accurate.  I finally offered one simple statement.  If you have so many consultants that sell home why do you need me?  When the blank look left his face he said, "They don't sell houses."  Exactly!  Was my comment and I sold his home without any more distractions.  He even gave me a referral of a co-worker and that is under contract as well.  Thanks for the comments Ed.  

Hey Gary, hope all is well in Florida, didn't make it yet but it is on my short list for this year.  We can certainly invest the time and get nothing for our work if we don't ask the right questions.  Thanks for the comments Gary, be well.

Hi Charita, I have had to use crowd control a few times because the buyers brought both sets of parents to view homes.  It looked like a motorcade!  My only redemption is they all liked the same home. :-)  That was luck, by the way!  Thanks for your comments Charita.

Hi Fernando, it must be something in the water?  Or is it just part of the pledge "Trust, Honor and Obey!"  Thanks for the comments Frenando.

Hi Michael, Commercial does require a bit more detective work.  I recently purchased through one of my wife's corporations with the corp as the buyer.  The agent couldn't get past our attorney group to figure out who was actually buying.  Our interest in the business was expansion into another market segment.  Protecting the business identity was key to getting a better purchase price.  Thanks for your comments Michael.

Hi Margaret, I have seen this myself.  It does cause some issues.  I have had the buyers go back and bid on the home they liked even though the parents didn't think it was right for them.  Thanks for your comments Margaret, hope all is well.

Hey Karen, you are having to much fun!  Thanks for the updated comment.

Hi Gena, thanks great, I smiled over that one!  I never had that happen but I have had people look at the numbers, break out the calculation, make calls, hit google for a quick search and all the rest.  Thanks for the comment Gena.

Feb 24, 2013 02:34 AM #23
Nina Hollander
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Charlotte, NC
Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor

It's not always obvious who the real decision maker is in a home purchase. I've found it helps to ask outright how they think they will go about making a decision on a home... amazing what you can learn in terms of the dynamics.

Feb 24, 2013 07:38 AM #24
Christine Donovan
Donovan Blatt Realty - Costa Mesa, CA
Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M
Gary - Hidden decision makers can be a huge problem. It's so much easier when we know who the decision maker is.
Feb 24, 2013 02:16 PM #25
Gary White~Grand Rapids Home Selling Pro Call: 616-821-9375
Flexit Realty "Flexible Home Selling Solutions" - Grand Rapids, MI
Real Estate Services You can Trust!
Hi Nina, Asking is the first step in selling. It's the golden rule ask and you shall receive! Thanks for the comments Nina. Hi Christine, hidden division makers can scuttle the best presentations and reasons to buy! Thanks for your comments Christine.
Feb 24, 2013 05:58 PM #26
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