Emotion Drives One in Four Home Sales

By Steve Cook, Real Estate Economy Watch  |  March 29, 2012 at 2:04 PM
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As thousands of American families prepare to sell and buy homes during the 2012 season, some 28 percent of women and 25 percent of men put more emphasis on their feelings about a home than they do on the layout, square footage, or price.

In fact, the majority of women (62 percent) and men (61 percent) participating in a new Coldwell Banker survey released this week said that they know within the first visit if the home is right for them.

Square-footage and price are important when selecting a home but couples also rely on how they feel and how their lifestyle fits into a home when looking for a place to live "When two people are looking for a home together, there are many considerations to take into account.

Of course, price and layout matter, but 'feeling at home' is an important factor," said Jessica Edwards, Coldwell Banker Real Estate consumer specialist and a Coldwell Banker Realtor.

The findings underscored the importance of staging a home for sale and "depersonalizing" it so that buyers can easily see themselves living there, said Ms. Edwards. She said that price bracket makes no difference and preparing a house properly for sale can pay off in a reduced time on market.

Her views echo a February Coldwell Banker survey of CB professionals Some 94 percent said their sellers are getting rid of clutter and making cosmetic updates, such as fresh paint and minor repairs and 78 percent agree clients are willing to "de-personalize" the home.

The survey of owners also found that over half of women (54 percent) say that they take the lead when it comes to decorating. However, younger men play a larger role in décor decisions than their older counterparts. Forty-eight (48) percent of younger respondents, age 18-44, say decorating is mutual; this decreases to 36 percent for respondents 55 and over.

Sharing financial decisions may get easier over time. Fifty-four (54) percent of people age 18-44 say major financial decisions are mutual, compared to 60 percent of those 45-54. This increases to 70 percent for people 55 and over.

Men are more likely to control the family purse strings today than three years ago. Some 30 percent of men said they make major financial decisions compared to 18 percent of women. In a similar Coldwell Banker survey in 2009, 26 percent of men made the family's financial decisions compared to 20 percent of women.

For couples entering the home-buying process, here are Edwards' tips for harmonious house-hunting:

• Each person should come up with a list of a few things that are most important and then come together as a couple to decide on a list of the top three to five things that are important for the home.

• When looking for a home, communication is key. Consider designating a point person for different aspects of the home-buying process, so that information is not delayed or communicated to just one part of the couple.

• Don't get too many people involved; typically more people means more stress and what is most important is that the couple is happy with the decisions being made.

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