The Real Deal New York

Think of the children: What happens when brokers sell their parents’ homes?

“I knew if I messed up the transaction, I would have to hear about it at every Thanksgiving and Christmas for the rest of my life.”
February 24, 2018 09:00AM

(Credit from right: Max Pixel; Rhoda Baer)

Parents say it’s a no-brainer: who else will listen to their directions or represent them better than their flesh-and-blood?

But for adult kids-turned-brokers repping their parents is more complicated than it might seem, and often turns out to be much more onerous than a gifted listing and easy commission from your parents appears.

Brokers, interviewed by the Wall Street Journal, reminisced about how handling listing for their parents — or in-laws in one case — was both the best and worst thing that could have happened to them.

Many brokers who handled their parents’ often multi-million dollar listings won other high-end listings as a result. However, on the flip side, some parents put demands on their kids that, according to their offspring, they would not have tolerated from any other client — from packing up the house to forgoing commission, to being subjected to “angsty conference calls.”

Then there’s the heart wrench of perhaps selling your own childhood home mixed with the paralyzing fear of failing your family.

“Everybody was counting on me to deliver,” said LA-based broker Kaitlyn Benson of Sotheby’s International Realty to the Journal. “I knew if I messed up the transaction, I would have to hear about it at every Thanksgiving and Christmas for the rest of my life.”

And if things go wrong? Broker Mauricio Umansky of the Agency has been called in enough times after the child of the sellers has failed to get the deal done to be a voice of caution.

“You really need to make sure your house is being well-represented,” he told the Journal. “It could cost you way more in sale-ability than the commission.” [WSJ]Erin Hudson