I invented this back when I was doing a lot of relocation work for Coldwell Banker on the East Coast. I thought Dustin and Anna might like to try it when looking at homes in California. It comes in very handy when you are touring a lot of homes the first day in a new area.
It’s pretty simple. You each have three little cards (kind of like Richard Simmons’ Deal a Meal – yes, it was that long ago when I came up with this.) One card says YES, one says NO and the other says MAYBE. You can only use ONE card in each house. Anna has a set and Dustin has his own set.
At each house you are not allowed to say a word to one another until you make your selection from the three cards. If you are touring homes with an agent, you hand her one of the cards as soon as you know your answer, not how you think your spouse will feel about the house. Since there is a MAYBE card, this should be a fairly quick procedure for most people. If the agent gets handed two NO cards as soon as they walk in the front door, you can all get back in the car. Unless the owner is home, in which case you do a “pity” pass through. Easier than saying we already know we hate this house.
If you have all NO cards played at the end of the day, what you don’t like is your price range, and you may have to go back to your new employer and say, “what you offered to pay me is not enough to live here”. If you have three YES houses where you both said YES, you may as well toss out the MAYBE houses and go back at the end of the day to the three YES houses and spend more time in them. I usually ask people to rank their YES choices as they go. First YES, no ranking. Second YES, you have to label one #1 and the other #2. This way if you have 7 yes houses at the end, you can go back to #1, #2 and #3.
Why did I feel the need to invent this system? Can’t people know if they like a house without a little card?
1) Sometimes the relocated spouse feels guilty about making the family move and says “Whatever my sweetie wants will be fine with me” until it is time to sign the contract and wants to offer 80% of asking price. That’s called saying yes and meaning no. It’s a passive/aggressive thing some people do 🙂
2) The wife walks in first and starts saying things like, “well, we could take this wall down over here and we could add a master bathroom…”, take it from experience, that’s a NO. Before they start arguing over how they are going to afford the time and money to do all of that stuff…get a NO card and GET OUT! Otherwise they will be crying and fighting before you get to house number 4.
3) When they both hand me a YES card and find out that the other party agrees, they can move through the house really evaluating whether or not they should actually buy it, instead of discussing whether or not the other likes it. And you will be amazed at how happy they both are when you tell them they both said YES. Sometimes one spouse is afraid to say they like the house because they don’t want the other spouse to buy it just because THEY like it. It is a great moment when they both hand over a YES card.
Of course the client that keeps handing me all three cards at every house drives me nuts 🙂 Some people just don’t like to be pinned down.