Buying a home is hard at the best of times and it’s especially difficult when buying property as a couple. There is always a challenge when two people need to come to an agreement, even more so if each has a different list of priorities. Where we see this manifest the most is with young families. It’s the ideal time consider whether you need a buyers agent
In families where there is a bread-winner role and a homemaker role, there is often a time of readjustment (and this can take years!) where each struggles to reconcile the workload balance with loss of independence, heavy responsibility and attempts to value both financial and non-financial input. These roles and their relative perspectives can magnify any differences when the time comes to upgrade the family home. Buying property as a couple suddenly feels like climbing Mount Everest.
What often happens is that our couple jots down a bit of a wish list and the wife (let’s call her Jill) starts looking online and attending some open homes. She gets to know the local agents and pretty quickly works out how much money they will need to spend in order to get what they want. Jill communicates this to her husband (let’s call him Jack) who then goes to the bank to see how much money they can borrow. All goes well until Jack realises what the mortgage repayments will be and he thinks “I’m going to be working till I’m 85!!!”.Engage a buyers agent: it's the threesome that's good for your marriage! Click To Tweet
Then Jack & Jill start trying to work out what they can compromise on. Pretty soon they realise that they are both prepared to compromise, but they each want to strike off different things from the must-have list. This is where the trouble begins.
Meanwhile, Jill keeps looking for a home and she starts to notice the sale prices of the houses they have already looked at and rejected. Her heart sinks as she realises that they can’t even afford what they don’t want! So she resets her expectations and starts looking at homes that are affordable and maybe even in a different suburb.
Then she finds one! It’s going to auction, it looks like it will be within the budget, it’s all systems go… she just has to get Jack on board. When Jack sees the house he is incredulous: “you can’t expect me to pay that for this? You have got to be joking!”. The house sells for what Jill thought it would go for and they are back to square one. Only, they aren’t really, because while Jack might be at square one, Jill is now educated about the market and at square two. He has to catch up to Jill before they will make any progress. It no longer feels to Jill like they are buying property as a couple, she feels like a lone ranger. Jill is worried they will never buy anything. Now, there are some things that Jack & Jill will need to do to get onto the same page and I’d also suggest looking at whether you need a buyers agent.
It’s at this very point that many of our clients have come to us. We often speak with women who are frustrated with their property search and want to seek help. They have already decided that they need a buyers agent. Some of these women have partners who share their desire to get expert advice, others have husbands who believe that this is something they should be able to do for themselves. Buying property as a couple brings up so many issues that they never thought they had! So, how can Jill get Jack to agree to pay for expert advice?
Caroline explains how she did it: “getting you guys involved was my idea. Initially, Joe, like all men, seemed to think he can do it himself. But some years ago we missed out on a house we really wanted and I noticed that a buyers’ agent was there and she seemed so calm. I thought; ‘next time I buy something I am going to get one of them on board’. It took a while for me to get Joe on board but what sold it to him in the end was when I said; ‘the vendor has an agent on board, so we should get one to level the playing field’.”
Why are women more likely to seek help?
One of our clients, Steve, believes it is because: “women are more prepared to recognize their strengths and weaknesses and are generally more open to learning. My wife was more ready to accept help than me and had already asked around our friends to find out about their experiences and one of them had recommended speaking with Good Deeds.”
Richard tells it like this: “Some parents from our kids’ school recommended using a buyers’ agent, and Cath thought it sounded like a good idea considering we were finding it difficult to find what we were looking for and we were also getting to a position where we might have jumped at something inappropriate for us. We both knew what we wanted however we felt like we needed another opinion on the key things like value, aspect and proximity.”
How can you get your husband to agree to take advice?
Recently I spoke to some of our “converts”: men who initially couldn’t see the value in our service but then realised that they did need a buyers agent. These conversations provided me with a valuable insight into the male psyche.
Steve summed up why many men resist the idea of paying for a buyers’ agent: “I’ll admit that I am a bit old fashioned in my thinking in that, like many men, I think I can do everything. Negotiating is part of my job in the commercial world, I have bought houses before, so I was thinking; “I can do it”. Quite simply, I couldn’t see the benefit in engaging a buyers’ agent, all I saw was a big dollar sign in front of the fee. Looking back now I see the value in the fees. Throughout the process, I learned about what goes on behind the scenes in a property negotiation. I was exposed to the inside tricks and could see how I’d been done over in the past by agents.”
Ash is another client who has this advice for men: “It will help ensure that your partner doesn’t let their heart rule their head. You get more surety in your return on investment (ROI), and less chance of buying a lemon. Ultimately, unless you are buying properties all the time, you don’t really have the opportunity to get good at it. Buyers agents do it all the time so have experience that can work for you to get the best deal. They should also pay for themselves in the negotiation and prevent you from paying too much for a property.”
Richard identified four main benefits:
- “The time saving for busy families was a great bonus and something we hadn’t fully appreciated until we engaged you.”
- “The analysis around values was very good – we were able to approach each property with a very objective way of thinking. This objective way of discussing values avoided the general discussions between couples that get to be very subjective around dollars and value. ‘I love it versus value’.”
- “Doing the deal on our property was very difficult and we didn’t even realise at the time how difficult it was. Good Deeds helped separate the bidding from the emotion.”
- “An objective third party to help the conversation. Even though we were mostly aligned, there were some emotional criteria that each of us were holding onto and Good Deeds helped us deal with that.”
Here’s how Joseph described the value add: “First and foremost the results – we got a great place at the right price. Secondly, the research and analysis that comes with the service. A lot of guys my age have a youngish family and are time poor, we just don’t get the opportunity to spend months / years researching the market. Guys will talk about property and quote record prices and that somehow qualifies them as a bit of an expert – the reality is a bit of knowledge is gleaned from the media, but they have no real idea what property is really worth. When you are looking at purchasing a multi-million dollar home, having Good Deeds do the legwork, provide recommendations and remove the anxiety (and arguments!) is well worth the fee.”
Until I had these conversations I had underestimated how ingrained it is with men that they should be able to do everything themselves. It’s really a massive burden, especially with something as expensive as the family home. It’s simply not possible for them to be an expert unless they work in the field or spend a hell of a lot of time researching the market. They need a buyers agent and just need to be able to justify it to themselves.
Engaging a buyers’ agent certainly makes sense with regards to hiring expertise and managing risk. These men also highlighted another major benefit of getting a third person involved in their property search: provision of an objective viewpoint that can help Jack and Jill to come out of their respective corners. (There I go, mixing metaphors again…) One thing they didn’t mention, which we see a lot of from people who go it alone, is the resentment that comes from one partner if he or she feels “unheard” and doesn’t get enough of a say in the final decision. When buying property as a couple, a third party can ensure that the needs of both people are equally addressed.
Many men write-off women’s opinions when it comes to buying a family home because they fear that emotion will cost them money. This is actually a risk for all of us, but women also possess some very good attributes when it comes to making sound decisions about something as major as buying a property. Remember that buying property as a couple is actually a team sport – but one where “win-win” is a better outcome than “win-lose”. If you are getting nowhere, maybe you need a buyers agent.
Published:- 28 July 2016
DISCLAIMER: Good Deeds buyers tips are intended to be of a general nature. Please contact us for advice that is specific to your individual circumstances. You may also need to get advice from other professionals such as an accountant, mortgage broker, financial planner or solicitor.