Love is in the air this Valentine’s Day, at least when it comes to home. A new surveyi from Zillow finds 80% of Americans say they love their home. However, finding a house is a lot more challenging in today’s hypercompetitive and rapidly appreciating housing market. About one-third of recent movers (34%) say it’s harder to find a house to buy than a spouse, yet most say shopping for a home is more enjoyable.
Women are more likely than men to say shopping for a home is more enjoyable than dating; 62% compared to 39% of men. Some psychologists believe looking at for-sale listings can create a mood-boosting chemical reaction in the brain similar to the excitement of a romantic relationship, a phenomenon parodied on SNL. During the pandemic, a record number of users surfed Zillow to escape the stress of their lives and dream of the possibilities a move could bring.
“The way we shop for homes is in many ways similar to the way we meet romantic partners,” said Zillow home trends expert Amanda Pendleton. “Both involve wish lists, compromises and deal breakers, and much of the legwork happens online. But unlike dating apps, tools like interactive floor plans and virtual 3D home tours mean fewer home shoppers are disappointed when they see a home in person for the first time. Perhaps that’s one reason this survey found that far more people think they’ll be successful using an app to find a home to buy (76%) than to find a romantic partner (24%).”
Another reason may be expectations. Most people (62%) say their wish list for a romantic partner is more difficult to satisfy than their wish list for a home (38%), and 61% say they have more deal breakers when it comes to choosing a partner. Two-thirds of Americans are more willing to compromise on qualities in a home to buy (67%) than qualities in a romantic partner (33%).
Still, most people are romantics at heart, at least when it comes to their home. Nearly 3 in 4 Americans believe they could fall in love at first sight with a home (73%), while more than half believe they could fall in love at first sight with a person (54%). While 65% of singles would consider moving to improve their dating prospects, 84% say they would consider moving in order to buy a home.
Once they find it, most people love their home (80%). The most common reasons people love their home are the memories associated with it (82%), and their home’s location, neighborhood or neighbors (77%). Tools like Zillow’s travel-time function, walk score and transit score can help shoppers choose a neighborhood they’ll love. As with dating, finding “the one” in today’s housing market may be tough, but shoppers can take steps to land their dream home with the right partners, preparation and persistence.