Twenty-six years ago John Gray wrote a book titled “Men Are from Mars, Women are from Venus” that noted, among other things, how men and women see things differently. This was reflected in a 2014 National Association of Realtors realtor.com survey that found men and women homebuyers — 66 percent of whom were married couples in 2013 — don’t always agree on what they like most about a home.
While not always on the same planet with their wish lists, their likes were in the same solar system. For example, while percentages often varied, both their wish lists noted a desire for outdoor living spaces (women 54 percent and men 46 percent), the importance of a home’s curb appeal (men 35 percent and women 29 percent), and a fondness for open floor plans (women 42 percent and men only 30 percent). However, it wasn’t surprising that 40 percent of men wanted a garage, a like that didn’t appear on the women’s list, while 29 percent of women wanted a home with updated appliances, a feature that didn’t show up on the men’s list.
One of the more revealing statistics in the NAR realtor.com survey was that 69 percent of all buyers liked a home so much that they were drawn back to looking at it more than once online or in person. Let’s face it: Real estate is, and always has been, a highly emotional experience. But falling in love with a home can have a problematic side. The NAR realtor.com survey showed 41 percent of women and 30 percent of men had a “crush” on homes outside their price range.
Strong emotional ties to a home can often blur a buyer’s judgment and practicality and quash the chances of being able to walk away easily at any time. While there was no evidence in the NAR realtor.com survey that showed buyers paid more for a home, history shows us that there are always cases where buyers stretch a bit beyond their comfort zone when push comes to shove in order to land their dream home.
To help keep buyers grounded, it is important for them to work with a skilled real estate agent or broker. A good agent is your emotional firewall. He or she helps keep you on track so that you adhere to your original objectives and budget goals. A good agent also negotiates on your behalf and creates a comfortable distance between you, the home and the numbers.
According to a 2014 Gallup poll, a growing number of Americans (30 percent up from 25 percent a year ago) see real estate as the top long-term investment. Differences aside, men and women agree that when it comes to security, controlling your own destiny, and achoring your family to a certain lifestyle, housing is and always will be the best investment. This is especially true in a weather-friendly market like Central Florida where a broad range of buyers from singles and young families to business professionals and retirees find the living very appealing.
Scott Hillman is president of Fannie Hillman + Associates, a 33-year-old Winter Park-based real estate company specializing in residential real estate. Visit fanniehillman.com or call 407-644-1234 for more information.