According to a new Zillow survey, over 50% of U.S. home buyers say the process left them in tears, with Gen Zers and millennials -- many of whom are first-time home buyers - far more likely to cry at least once during their home-buying journey. More than 65% of Gen Z buyers and 61% of millennial buyers cried at least once when going through the process of purchasing their home.
It's no wonder. In today's low-inventory market, homes are receiving multiple offers and oftentimes selling for over list price; 60% of sellers report getting at least two offers on their home, and nearly half of all homes sold in the U.S. in April 2022 went for over the asking price, up from 37% a year ago.
Additionally, some buyers planning to finance their purchase with a home loan are losing out to others who are able to pay entirely in cash, which is seen as a more attractive offer to a seller, since they don't need to worry about the sale falling through in the financing stage. According to Zillow's survey, nearly 30% of recent buyers said they lost to an all-cash buyer at least once.
"Buying a home is not like buying any other asset; it's deeply personal and it's emotional," said Zillow home trends expert Amanda Pendleton. "When you make an offer on a home, you have likely envisioned your life there. If you lose out on that home to a stronger offer, it can feel like losing a future you have already started planning. These survey results find, even when they are ultimately successful, a large share of buyers in today's competitive market experience heartache and stress."
Nearly 90% of recent buyers Zillow surveyed said at least one aspect of the home-buying process was stressful.
Buying a home can be challenging for many reasons. Among those buyers surveyed, 62% were stressed about being able to find a home within their budget, 61% were stressed about not having enough homes to choose from, and 58% were stressed about finding a home in their preferred neighborhood.
The stress of buying is experienced differently among racial groups, as well. Latinx buyers were far more likely to report crying at least once (68%) compared to Black (51%) and white (48%) buyers. And 26% of buyers of color reported "losing out" on a home because of financing falling through, compared to 18% of white buyers.
Zillow research has shown that Black mortgage applicants are denied 84% more often than white borrowers.
There are about 23% fewer homes on the market than a year ago, which increases competition and leads many buyers to feel the need to waive crucial contingencies in order to stand out. Zillow's survey found that nearly 40% of buyers waived a contingency, such as their financing or inspection contingency, on at least one of their offers.
Even in this fast-paced market, there are still steps buyers can take to help relieve the stress of the process: