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New survey shows that people are having a harder time finding a house than a spouse

Posted at 10:08 AM, Feb 14, 2022

CLEVELAND — A new survey from Zillow shows that people are having a harder time finding a house than a spouse.

That’s despite most people saying their list of qualities in a partner is harder to fulfill than their wish list for a home and their willingness to compromise on a living situation as opposed to a spouse.

Real estate across the country continues to see rising prices due to high demand and low inventory. However, one local real estate agent said it’s not as bad here in Northeast Ohio and the key is to learn to compromise.

“It's challenging in the sense that there is just more demand than there are houses for sale. And so, it's very common for buyers right now to be falling in love with multiple houses, writing offers, getting rejected and having to start all over again,” said Jessica Chodaczek, a realtor with Lofaso Real Estate.

When it comes to swiping right or left in 2022, the way we search for romantic partners or a place to live has more in common than you might think.

“There's many similarities between dating and house hunting, and right now, arguably dating is the easier one,” Chodaczek said. “It's definitely taking people a little longer in their search right now than it was a couple of years ago.”

Both tasks require having lists of non-negotiables that would be a deal-breaker and things that can be compromised on.

“Right now, you have the luxury of time in a dating relationship. Hopefully, you can go on at least a couple of dates before you decide if this is the right person, but you don't have that luxury in the housing market right now, the luxury of time,” Chodaczek said. “But it's really important to know what's not going to fit your arguably your two biggest decisions in life are who you're going to marry and what house you're going to live. So, you should think carefully about both of those.”

But unlike dating apps, tools like interactive floor plans and virtual 3-D home tours mean fewer home shoppers are disappointed when they see a home in person for the first time.

“I'm not kidding when I tell you people's eyes sparkle when they're in the right house and we can tell this is it. They are in love. It's a real phenomenon,” Chodaczek said. “We are seeing a lot of buyer's remorse because they fall in love. They put in a crazy high offer. They get it. And then they realize maybe this isn't the right one. So that is a danger in the market right now.”

Zillow’s new survey shows that 76% of people believe they’ll be successful using an app to find a home to buy than finding a romantic partner.

“Our survey found that women really enjoyed the home shopping process a lot more than dating, and for men, it was the reverse,” said Amanda Pendleton from Zillow. “And dating is hard, and I think especially when you're online dating, you don't know really what you're going to get in person in real life and home shopping used to have the same reputation. But now there are new tools that are making it a lot easier to get a realistic experience of a home.”

Locally, in Northeast Ohio, the market isn’t as competitive as the rest of the country despite an uptick in recent years.

“If you look at what happened in the Cleveland market for sale, inventory is now down 55% compared to pre-pandemic levels, and home values surged nearly 16% in 2021. And homes are flying off the market in 12 days,” Pendleton said. “It's really this combination of rising prices, low inventory and extreme time pressure. That's leaving a lot of people to say it's really hard to find a house in this market.”

January’s housing report from the National Association of Realtors finds Cleveland is one of the top 50 major cities with the lowest median house price. Price fell across the area during December while they continued to increase in others.

Meanwhile, Akron is one out of four Ohio cities in the top 10 of the nation’s most affordable housing markets for Black households.

“I think if we're outbid in a bidding war or the deal falls through because the financing, it really is heartbreaking,” Pendleton said. “You get your financial ducks in a row; you prepare for this process, and you hire the right real estate agent to guide you through, so you don't experience that heartbreak.”

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