October 8th, 2009 1:29 PM by Joan Rusco
The best Realtors or lenders are those who do less talking and more listening. Some of my clients at VALoansMN.com tell me of their discouragement while shopping for a house. The Realtor, they say, seemed more interested in showing them houses that she wanted them to buy rather than homes the client might want. In many cases, they say, Realtors are selling house features not necessarily what women might really want. So what is it women want? Is it the beautiful updated kitchen? Is it the open floor plan? In fact, it may be none of these things.
When you begin shopping for a home (and after you’ve called me to be pre-approved for your loan J) talk to your Realtor. Ask her about her experience working with other women. Ask her what women want. This might be very revealing. A Realtor friend of mine thought women wanted above all other features the updated kitchen, the nice family room, the open floor plan. He made assumptions that perhaps it was the school district that drove the deal. Then he discovered something else. He discovered perhaps he had been talking and not listening. He discovered some recent surveys that changed the way he does business with women.
In March of 2009 a Canadian pollster surveyed 1,000 women age 18 and older who have independently purchased a home. I’ll leave it to you to decide whether or not there might be significant differences between Canadian and American women. See how your answers might compare to the poll results.
The TD Canada Trust Women and Home Ownership Poll found the number one factor when choosing a home is cost (98%) followed by neighborhood (97%) then security and safety (96%). The survey, released just a few months ago, found that the surveyed women considered being close to family and work less important than cost, neighborhood or safety. Nowhere in the top of this list of values were features of the house itself.
The least attractive issues of home ownership according to this survey are cost of maintenance, the chore of doing the maintenance, yard work and snow removal.
This leads me to some conclusions I’ve written about before. Mortgage rates are still incredibly low and housing prices have declined in recent years. Since cost is the number one factor driving women to purchase a home it’s understandable why, in my opinion, women are driving the housing market today.