Mars vs. Venus in Home Buying

It often seems as though men and women are from different planets, but every day millions of couples navigate through day-to-day and even life-altering decisions. Because a home is the biggest purchase most people will make in their lifetime, The Bremner Group and Coldwell Banker Real Estate surveyed 1,000 individuals to discover how much men and women differ in the home-buying process.

We engaged a third-party research firm, International Communications Research (ICR), to delve into the innerpsyche of men and women, asking questions such as “How long did it take for you to know that the last home you purchased was right for you?” and “If you found the home of your dreams but had concerns about its security, would you still be interested?” We also surveyed couples on additional topics, such as “Who wears the pants in the relationship?” when it comes to making major financial decisions.

The results were surprising.  Not only did we uncover some of the inherent differences between men and women, but we also pinpointed a number of ways that the two genders are actually the same. For example, both men and women are increasingly concerned with having a space to work in their homes- something we would not have seen 40 years ago.  We also found that feeling insecure about a home’s safety is a deal-breaker for most people, regardless of gender.

This topic is particularly timely given that many first-time homebuyers are hoping to take advantage of the $8,000 tax credit before it expires on this spring.

Below are some key highlights from the Bremner Group/ Coldwell Banker Real Estate study:

Women may be inclined to make up their mind more quickly than men.
-When asked how long it took before they knew their home was “right” for them, almost 70% of women had made up their mind the day they walked into the house, vs. 62% of men. Conversely, significantly more men needed two or more visits: (32% of men vs. 23% of women).

Women would rather live closer to their extended family than to their job.
-55 percent of women find it more important to be closer to their extended family (those that do not live in their household) than to their job, compared to only 37% of men.

A home’s security is a deal-breaker for both men and women.
-64 percent of women said that if they found the home of their dreams but had concerns about its security, they would no longer be interested. More than half of men agreed (51%).

Couples say that no one “wears the pants in the relationship” in terms of major financial decisions.
-When asked who wears the pants in the relationship (when it comes to major financial decisions, such as purchasing a home), almost 70% of respondents living with their significant other said it’s actually mutual.
-However, 23% think that they, themselves, wear the pants in the relationship, not their partner. More men than women said this (26% vs. 20%, respectively).

Men and women agree on how they would use a spare room, for the most part.
When the respondents were asked how they would use an extra 12 x 12 room if it could be anything they wanted, men and women agreed on the top three most popular, and very practical, responses:

-Bedroom: 25%
-Office/Study: 15%
-Family Room / Den: 11%

However, men really do want a “Man Cave.”
-Interestingly, out of the 8% who indicated they would turn that spare room into an entertainment center, it was a preponderance of men leading the charge. In fact, four times as many men as women said they would use the extra space for recreation / entertainment.

In addition to providing background on the survey results, the study gives us the ability to offer tips for couples who are currently going through the process of buying a home.  These results further validate how critical it is for couples to recognize each other’s differences and work together, from picking a neighborhood to how to use a spare room.  Online tools and the expertise of all of the members of the Bremner Group can be particularly helpful for couples, especially if they work together step-by-step along the way.

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