Written by PJ Wade

While juggling the complexities of buying your dream home, how can you keep both your emotions and your parents’ in check, so you don’t gain a home and lose the close connection with your parents? PJ Wade shares Five Realities about Parental Input – Wanted and Otherwise – with buyers.

Your parents may be more excited than you are about your plans to buy your first home. How do you curb their enthusiastic interference without offending them?

Parents’ Perspective: Experience makes parents certain they can save you money and disappointment, now and down the road.

  • When things don’t work out you’ve always turned to them for advice and help—even a bailout—so you can’t blame parents for wanting to head off potential problems that they, as experienced property owners, know can be part of buying real estate.
  • Parents also know your “bad” habits and how those quirks have gotten you into trouble in the past.
  • Most important, they genuinely want to save you time and money that could be lost if you insist in “learning the hard way” through buying the wrong property or ending up over your head financially.

Your Perspective: Even with less real estate experience, you are certain you’re ready to take the plunge into home ownership that so many of your friends have successfully taken.

These two sets of certainties can collide to materialize as frustrating stubbornness from the parents’ viewpoint and annoying parental interference from your perspective. This can leave all of you both right and wrong, and unnecessarily upset.

While juggling the complexities of buying your dream home, how can you keep both your emotions and your parents’ in check, so you don’t end up gaining a home and losing the close connection with your parents?


Here are Five Realities about Parental Input – Wanted & Otherwise – When Buying:

#1. Friends who told you they went solo lied

If your friends have parents, the parents chipped in suggestions, warnings, and maybe cash or connections. Whether this was helpful or not, your friends want to be seen as confident grown-up buyers, so you’ll probably never know what really happened during the buy. Understand that savvy buyers want to gather all the “if only we’d known” insights they can from friends and family before signing on the dotted line.

#2. If you listen, you’ll learn

You may have lived in the family home most if not all of your life, but you probably know little about the problems and solutions your parents have lived through. Ask them to give you a tour of the house and property pointing out the problems, so you get a feel for what to look for when you tour listings. Take notes as practice for keeping track of the differences between the 3 or 53 properties you’ll view and as a signal to your parents that you’re listening, so you’ll not need to be continually reminded. Having shared their experiences, your parents will feel they have contributed. They can now relax and back off. You’ll be better prepared than most of your friends were when they started their search.

#3. If money’s involved, learn the terms before you need the dough.

Parents are often generous enough to contribute funds for the downpayment and other expenses, but find out before you start viewing homes what their terms will be. Will they merely want to see the property or will they expect to have veto rights on your choice? Who else will they want to show the home to? Uncle Bill the electrician? Cousin Joan the banker? Understand expectations – yours and theirs – from the start to avoid delay when you’ve found the dream home.

#4. It’s who you know that can make the difference.

Your parents may have close, real-estate-savvy friends who will go out of their way to help you. Acquaintances or less-than-the-best connections may hold you back. It’s up to you to discover who’s who. Take time to learn how professional knowledge and experience can benefit you as you build your buying support team. You’ll then make good decisions, not guilt-driven choices, regarding whom to place your – not your parents’ – trust in.

#5. Even the most knowledgeable parents can’t know all that a real estate professional knows.

If you’re close to your parents, you might decide to involve them in your search for professional support; however, the final choice should be a professional who suits your needs and compliments your style, not your parents. One much-appreciated service is the real estate professional’s expertise in simultaneously involving and detaching parental input. With the professional present at family meetings, your real estate interests and intentions will be heard by your parents. The professional buffer makes even the most emotional transactions survivable. Just let the real estate professional know exactly what your parents’ and your own expectations are. If you’re not sure, the professional can’t be.