Buying, Selling a Home Causes Arguments with 70 Percent of All U.S. Couples

Buying, Selling a Home Causes Arguments with 70 Percent of All U.S. Couples

Residential News » Seattle Edition | By WPJ Staff | February 17, 2020 9:00 AM ET

Based on a new Harris Poll commissioned by Zillow finds buying or selling a home are often fraught with conflict between couples.

A vast majority of Americans (77 percent) who have gone through the home buying process with a significant other in the past decade say they argued over the home buying process.  Nearly as many Americans (71 percent) who have sold a home with a significant other in the past decade say they argued over the home selling process, suggesting those two life events may take a toll on relationships.

Beefing Over Buying

Of those who argued with their significant other over the home buying process, most (54 percent) disagreed over the size or style of home to buy, and nearly half (47 percent) disagreed over a home's must-have features or deal breakers.

Other conflicts surfaced over the location or neighborhood to buy in (42 percent argued over this), the budget (37 percent) and whether to buy a fixer-upper (29 percent).

Nearly a quarter of couples who argued over the home buying process were feuding over their mortgage options, such as selecting the right lender or mortgage product.

Selling Squabbles

A large percent of Millennial sellers, aged 25 to 39, argued with a significant other over selling a home (85 percent) while a smaller share of baby boomer sellers, 55 years and older, argued about the home selling process (54 percent), indicating that life experience - and a higher likelihood of being a repeat seller - may help couples weather the tension that can come with a home sale.

Of couples who argued over the home selling process, a majority (69 percent) fought about at least one of three financial decisions: what price to list the home for, whether to drop the price and whether to accept an offer.

Many also argued over the following hassles of a traditional sale:

  • Whether or not to make repairs (24 percent)
  • Strangers walking through the home during open houses (24 percent)
  • Keeping the house clean for showings (23 percent)
  • Uncertainty over whether the house would sell or not (21 percent)
Previous Zillow research found more than one-third of home sellers cry when selling a home, and more Americans are stressed out by selling a home than they are by planning a wedding or getting fired.  Zillow also found uncertainty caused sellers more stress than showings and repairs.

"We know buying and selling a home can be taxing, but now we know those stressors can cause friction in a relationship," said Zillow lifestyle expert Amanda Pendleton. "Couples may want to take that into account when deciding how to sell, and consider an alternative that removes many painful parts of the real estate transaction."

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