When It Comes To Buying A Home, Are You A Donald Or A Hillary?

Written by Jaymi Naciri Posted On Wednesday, 20 July 2016 13:03

Are you bold and independent, not considering anyone's opinion but your own?

Or are you more cautious and studied, making sure your choice is accepted and appreciated?

Do you buy like a Trump or claim your home like a Clinton?

There are pros and cons to both, depending on the situation. And, there are things you can learn from each of the presidential candidates that can make you a more successful real estate buyer.

Having confidence

It's no secret that Donald Trump will say anything to anyone at any time, regardless of (and sometimes in spite of) the potential blowback. Meek the man is not. Hillary Clinton is naturally more mild-mannered and careful in her approach and in the words she chooses. Basic gender difference? A huuuuuuuuuuugely exaggerated one, if it is.

But there's a lesson here on both sides. Being too aggressive can translate to bullying, which can turn off the seller and make them not want to work with you. But not being assertive enough can cause you to fade into the background.

Buying in a competitive market

He may claim to be a careful businessman with a track record of success, but Trump is also highly competitive and has been known to act on emotion. He's likely to haul off and make an all-cash offer over asking price that buries other potential buyers in a competitive market. His determination is often, simply, to win.

"A cardinal feature of high extroversion is relentless reward-seeking," Dan P. McAdams said in a psychological profile of Trump in The Atlantic. "Prompted by the activity of dopamine circuits in the brain, highly extroverted actors are driven to pursue positive emotional experiences, whether they come in the form of social approval, fame, or wealth. Indeed, it is the pursuit itself, more so even than the actual attainment of the goal, that extroverts find so gratifying."

Sound like something you would do? The relentless pursuit might win you the home. But will it be worth it?

When there's a prime piece of property everyone wants but the seller doesn't want to let it go


Again, a Trump-like buyer may let his or her wallet do the talking. A great offer may budge a seller who was previously steadfast about staying put. And, Trump wins points because he simply never backs down. But don't forget about the impact a human touch can have. A personal appeal to the buyer with, say, a handwritten note or a thoughtful detail like a new flowerpot filled with herbs because you see that the ones she has out front have died can go a long way.

Plus, Clinton has that secret weapon: Her husband, Bill. And you can't underestimate natural charisma and the influence it can have.

"Charismatic people start conversations with all types of people and network with ease," said Dal Sohal Strategies. "They come across as confident, being both credible and approachable to those they meet. People listen to them, respect their ideas, and want their opinion."

Now, these are strategies specific to real estate, but they can work no matter what side of the deal you're on. Of course, if you have a charismatic husband with a checkered history when it comes to women, you'll obviously want to be careful who you put him in a room with.

Dealing with difficult sellers

Trump has never been known as the calm one. In fact, if there's anyone who's likely to inflame an already tense situation, it would be him. Adopting Clinton's more laid-back approach and calm demeanor could be key in situations where the seller is, say, refusing to do repairs or make concessions.

When price negotiations aren't going well

Trying to agree on a sales price is often one of the more challenging, and potentially problematic, parts of buying a home. Using profanity or browbeating/belittling the other party is probably not the preferred method of dealing with a tenuous negotiation (although it does seem to be effective in some political arenas). A softer, friendlier, more Clintonian approach and the ability to compromise might be a better option.

Because you're not as financially solvent as you'd like to be

Whether it's money that can't totally be accounted for - perhaps because of how it funded or was funneled through an eponymous foundation - or your background includes several bankruptcies and some questionable investments, you want to make sure you're putting your best financial foot forward when buying a house.

Both presidential candidates depend on donors to support their campaigns. And both have made a tremendous amount of money outside of politics - Trump in real estate and business, and Clinton partially thanks to speaking fees and book advances.

Trump has made some particular savvy real estate investments while leveraging personal contacts and tax advantages to lower his risk - a good strategy for any buyer, especially if you're short on cash.

"A 1983 profile by Marylin Bender in The New York Times described Trump's strategy," said the Washington Post. "He had an eye for what Bender called ‘good financing,' meaning that as much as possible, he'd avoid taking risks with his own wealth. Sometimes, that meant getting taxpayers to chip in. Trump has bragged about his ability to manipulate public officials into granting him tax abatements and other subsidies. Early in his career, he was buying lots across the country and improving them on 40-year mortgages from the federal government at 5.5 percent interest. Those terms meant ‘we didn't have to put up much cash,' he told Bender."

You might not be able to depend on taxpayers or donors when buying your home, or get the kind of tax assistance Trump has talked about, but there are lessons here for buyers who aren't as qualified as they'd like to be:

  • Ask for financial contributions from parents
  • Find down payment assistance programs where available
  • Work on your credit before buying so you'll qualify for a lower interest rate
  • Look for tax-advantaged situations like areas where property taxes are lower or buy a home that needs to be fixed up and use an FHA 203(k) rehabilitation loan, which often offers tax-deductible interest on the improvements

Maintaining good communication

Many agents will tell you that having good communication between all parties - REALTORS®, seller, and buyer - is the single most important factor in a successful real estate deal. That means honest, respectful discourse, which could be hard for some people (looking at you, Trumps of the world). But it also means timely and effective communication, which is more and more often handled through email - which is, umm, harder for some people than others.

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