Real Estate Love Is as Real as Romance

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Men and women are different when it comes to falling in love with a house, according to a new report released just in time for Valentine's Day.

Realtor.com's "Home Crush Survey" found that about 35% of men swoon for curb appeal compared to 29% of women who fall for updated appliances and fixtures.

"Searching for the one in real estate is similar to searching for the one in love," said Leslie Piper, consumer housing specialist with Realtor.com. "Buyers have to evaluate crushes based on turn ons and offs and whether the home is in their league so they often find themselves spending a good amount of time checking out their crush online."

A home crush is when a consumer likes and is drawn back to looking at a house more than once online, driving by or in person at open houses.

"There are many people using the internet to view homes," said Brenda Hendrickson, author of How to be a Frugal Millionaire. "They take virtual tours online to view the inside while open houses are tightly controlled with visitors logging in to protect the seller's property. These can become obsessive but not stalking."

However, women and men do share some common ground in that outdoor living spaces topped the list as the attribute most likely to make them fall in real estate love.

Some 54% of women compared to 46% of men report that outdoor living spaces make them fall in real estate love.

"Whether it's love or real estate, having a short list of deal breakers is critical for finding the one to help buyers weed through the crushes to find the home of their dreams," Piper said.

The Realtor.com study further found that 70% of men say their home crush is within in their price range compared to 41% of women who report that their home crush is out their price range. However, making a decision based on a house crush rather than reality can be a recipe for stress and financial disaster.

"Women tend to be nesters who want to seek out the best home they can find for their family, which is not necessarily the house they can afford while men use their left brain more," Hendrickson told MainStreet. "Men tend to be able to zero in on analyzing the facts."

While 26% of women develop a new home crush monthly, 36% of men say they find a new home crush weekly.

"Men are more likely to move from one crush to another on a weekly basis and consider a garage as an important home feature," Piper said. "Women tend to find a new home crush on a monthly basis and swoon for updated appliances and fixtures.

About 40% of men seek garages in their home crushes compared to 29% of women who favor curb appeal.

"Real estate agents have an internal sense when they are being used as a chauffeur by a crusher and most of them do not buy," said Hendrickson.

--Written by Juliette for MainStreet

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