How Women and Men Differ When Buying a Home

Nearly three-quarters of all people buying a property are couples with or without children. But who decides which house is purchased? Are there any gender-specific differences? Credit Suisse conducted a survey of real estate agents and financing specialists.

Ninety-seven percent of the real estate agents and 67 percent of the financing specialists questioned by Credit Suisse for its Real Estate Market study see clear differences between the genders. In a majority of cases it is women who take the lead when searching for a new home. In 53 percent of cases it is women who make initial contact with the agent. What's more, in 56 percent of cases it is ultimately the woman who decides for or against a property.

However, the roles are reversed when it comes to negotiating the price. This tends to be men's business: In almost two thirds of cases, it is the man who negotiates the price of the desired property with the real estate agent.


Decision Behavior in Search for Property

Shares in %; agents canvassed: 31

Source: Credit Suisse

Women and Men Have Different Criteria When Buying a Home

But what is really important to men and women when choosing a property? The survey of real estate agents confirms the familiar clichés whereby men are interested in the technical fittings and parking space but women are more interested in the kitchen and bathroom. It is interesting to observe how clearly these patterns emerge.

However, the focus of women is not limited to the features of the property itself. Equally important are the location of the property, in particular neighbors/social surroundings, child-friendliness, and access to kindergartens and schools. Another significant factor is whether a property has emotional appeal. If women are not immediately attracted to a property, it is usually put out of the running immediately. For men, on the other hand, financial aspects as well as quality of construction quality/structure and any need for refurbishment work are paramount.


Topics in Search for Property

On which topics are the questions of potential buyers concentrated; agents canvassed: 31

Source: Credit Suisse

Couples Jointly Decide Whether to Buy

Once the desired property has been found, financing needs to be secured. Here the roles are reversed. In 52 percent of cases, it is the man who makes initial contact with the bank. When it comes to financing matters – such as choosing the mortgage product, desired mortgage term and type of repayment – it is once again the man who assumes the leading role in 41 percent of cases. This confirms what was already seen at the time of choosing the property: As soon as financial aspects come into play, the man more frequently takes the lead.

However, couples normally decide on a joint basis whether to buy the house. Where the decision is taken by just one half of the couple, it is the woman in 35 percent of cases and the man in just 24 percent of cases. Thus women are more likely to have the final say when buying a home. According to the literature, the differences are less striking in the case of childless couples.


Buying a Home: Decision Behavior for Financing?

Shares in %; financing specialists canvassed: 96

Source: Credit Suisse 

Financial Security Is Important to Women When Buying Real Estate

In terms of financing, what matters most to men is the mortgage interest rate they receive and what the total cost of the mortgage will be. They tend to take a more detailed look at the various mortgage products and their terms. Men are also more likely to discuss the purchase price and resale value with a financing specialist.

By contrast, women are particularly concerned about financial security. They worry about the affordability of the property as well as repaying the mortgage. Women are more likely to seek the expertise of financing specialists with regard to the property itself, for example in terms of location and infrastructure.


Topics for Financing a House Purchase

On which topics are the questions of potential buyers concentrated; financing specialists canvassed: 96

Source: Credit Suisse 

Be Aware of Gender Differences When Buying a Home

The Credit Suisse survey ties in with the results of international research studies. At the same time, the different focal points illustrate that women and men complement each other when purchasing a home – thus ensuring that nothing gets forgotten. Real estate agents leverage these findings and in the first instance seek to persuade the woman to buy a property.

Potential buyers should be aware of this. So, if the woman has already made known how much she would like to have a property, the man will barely have any leeway in the price negotiations. Buyers would therefore be advised not to put all their cards on the table; instead, they should act skillfully in order to achieve a good price.