Mars and Venus Weigh In on Home Buying

John Gray’s “Men are from Mars; women are from Venus” mentality may apply to far more than communication styles, conflict resolution and acts of love. Turns out, there may be differences between the genders when it comes to purchasing a home.

Home builder Mark Patterson took a women-centric design course and made big sales based on what he learned. Patterson told that while men look at the big picture, women see the details. Men also are concerned with how the house will provide for relaxation and entertainment, while women are more conscious of how they will live and work in the home.

At the same time, what used to be the woman’s preserve – the kitchen – is now of interest to men. Increasingly they’re weighing in on the kitchen’s design and furnishings, partly because they’re focused on the resale value of the most salable room in the house.

Interestingly, women approach the home-buying process with more anxiety than men do. More than 40% of women find shopping for a home stressful, compared to approximately 30% of men.

A recent insurer study found that the way each gender views mortgages is also different, with 75% of women saying that an easy-to-understand mortgage plan is important, but only 60% of men agreeing.

Study results indicate that women and men do see the home-buying experience differently, but that both are concerned with the home’s livability and resale values.

When it comes to big issues, it’s not so much “He says, she says” as “They say.”

Homeowner Investments to Boost Economy in 2013

After a downturn in spending on home renovations, homeowners across North America have once again been bitten by the renovation bug. And this bodes well for the economy as a whole in 2013.

Residential investment – including construction and remodeling – is expected to add almost three-tenths of a percent to the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) in 2013. And, according to the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University, Americans will likely spend upward of $134 billion by June 2013, up from $115 billion recorded in September 2012. The peak of renovation activity across the U.S. occurred in 2007, when it was 8% higher than that predicted for 2013.

However, even more telling is the impact the entire housing sector has on the economy as a whole. Studies indicate a robust housing industry boosts consumer spending – and consumer expenditures constitute two-thirds of the U.S. economy.

In fact, reports suggest that U.S. consumers are beginning to feel positive again. This is reflected in increases not only in remodeling projects, but also in the purchase of investment furniture.

Homeowners are also looking for changes to their homes that will make their lives easier. Busy families may consider adding a deck, but they’ll likely be looking for low-maintenance decking; some will replace traditional lawns with easy-to-maintain grasses or ground covers.

Many homeowners have downsized to smaller houses where storage is at a premium, so renovations to improve storage capacity will become increasingly popular. Part of this trend is a move toward multifunctional rooms and renovations that can be considered investments in the future.

While aging at home may not yet be a concern to boomer homeowners, most have seen their parents renovate to enable them to continue to live at home. This type of renovation has a future and will grow significantly in the next few years.