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DanvilleSanRamon.com

Real Estate - September 11, 2009

Survey shows how men vs. women look at home purchases

Security, 'man cave,' head list for gals, guys buying houses

by Jeb Bing

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 in buying new homes.

Because a home is the biggest purchase most people will make in their lifetime, Coldwell Banker Real Estate surveyed 1,000 individuals to discover how much men and women differ in the home-buying process.

The real estate company engaged a third-party research firm, International Communications Research, to delve into the inner psyche 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?" Coldwell Banker 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," said Rick Turley, president of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in the Bay Area. "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," Turley said.

"We also found that feeling insecure about a home's safety is a deal-breaker for most people, regardless of gender."

Turley noted that more couples are considering home purchases to take advantage of an $8,000 federal tax credit before it expires Dec. 1.

Here are some highlights from the 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 percent of women had made up their mind the day they walked into the house vs. 62 percent of men. Conversely, significantly more men needed two or more visits: (32 percent of men vs. 23 percent of women).

Women would rather live closer to their extended family than to their job. Some 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 percent of men.

A home's security is a deal-breaker for both men and women. A total of 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 percent).

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 percent of respondents living with their significant other said it's actually mutual. However, 23 percent think that they, themselves, wear the pants in the relationship, not their partner. More men than women said this 26 percent vs. 20 percent, 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 12x12-foot room if it could be anything they wanted, men and women agreed on the top three most popular, and very practical, responses: bedroom, 25 percent; office/study, 15 percent; family room/den, 11 percent.

However, men really do want a "Man Cave." Interestingly, out of the 8 percent 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.

  "These results further validate how critical it is for couples to recognize each other's differences and work together, from deciding on a neighborhood to how to use a spare room," Turley said. "Online tools and the expertise of a real estate professional can be particularly helpful for couples, especially if they work together step-by-step along the way."

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