5 Reasons Guys Dump(on) Houses They Like

Why Guys Dump Girls They Dig is one of the featured articles on msn homepage this morning. I couldn’t help but notice that the 5 reasons noted in the article had a striking resemblance to how men react when home shopping with their wife or fiance.

For agents who ask “why won’t buyers get off the fence” or “why doesn’t the buyer want to see homes with an agent”, my slight modification of the msn article might offer some insight.

1. The Timing Is Off  – “I ended it because I didn’t want to commit…right then.”

Often agents will scratch their heads saying “if they weren’t ready to buy a house, why are they looking at houses?”  When a single guy or single girl is buying a property on their own, they often don’t start looking until they are ready to buy. BUT when there is a couple involved, often the man is going along…and enjoying the looking process…but not ready to make a commitment.

Generally speaking, a man doesn’t like to say “no” during the day to the woman he plans to sleep with that night. So he says yes…let’s go look at houses, and then he continues to gather information, sometimes for years.  Looking and actually buying are not one in the same, and sometimes not even related one to another, in the man’s thinking and acting process. Just like dating and marrying are clearly NOT part of the same thinking process.

Looking, researching and actually buying one, are not one in the same for a man. Fear of commitment doesn’t enter into the picture until the woman wants to actually BUY one of the properties.  That is why it is important that an agent NOT just fax an offer to the couple for signatures.  Watching how the people react to signing the contract is very important to protecting your client’s best interests.  If the man (or the woman) seems to be signing reluctantly and “going along” to please the spouse or girlfriend/boyfriend, it is the agent’s job to help them take a step back, until they are fully ready to purchase.

2. We’re Not Finished Playing the Field (Looking)- “The moral of the story: Until we mark everything off our checklists, or have too many friends convince us that we can’t do better, the flight risk is real.”

A man is less likely to stop and buy early in the process than a woman.  A woman will often want to make an offer on one of the first properties they like. Women enjoy the buying and getting into it part, more than the “looking at” and “gathering information” part.  At the onset the men and women are evenly excited about looking, but the woman usually gets to “let’s buy this one” earlier.

 If the man is not finished “playing the field”, looking, researching, consulting with friends, etc…he is more likely to find a defect in the property pointing to why he can’t buy it, than admit that he is just not ready to leave the “looking” stage yet.

3. We’re Fixated on the Worst-Case Scenario – “Blame our friends who took the plunge (bought homes) before us, but many guys are hyperaware of what could go wrong down the road.”

Very often, once a potential home to buy is identified, the man comes back many times, emails many questions, calls 4 times a day, and the woman seems to disappear from the equation until the property closes escrow. The woman is often done once the decision to make an offer has been made.  She is thinking about buying towels that match the bathroom.  She is mostly concerned with the seller accepting the offer, so she can start planning the move. 

A man on the other hand is just getting started once the home they want to buy is indentified.  Actually getting it is the least of his concerns (except in #5 below).  The weight of the consequence of actually buying vs. looking is ENORMOUS at this point.  The decision to make an offer is a beginning point of the new “worst case scenario” cycle. What will the payment actually be? (unknown until you can lock the rate AFTER you are in escrow.) What major expenses can I expect that are currently unforseen? (unknown until after in escrow when you do the home inspection.)

The process of buying a home places some of the pertinent facts out of the man’s reach and during the escrow phase.  This is VERY uncomfortable for most men who like all the details to be pinned down before he makes a real commitment. Knowing he has a legal out if he doesn’t like the inspection is little comfort. Knowing he can lock his rate before he loses his legal out on the inspection clause is little comfort.

Panic ensues because the process will automatically back him into a corner of having a near term drop dead date to cancel, or be obligated to buy the house, or lose his Earnest Money. Having only five to ten days to consider all previously unknown factors, and cancel or not during that time, seems absurd to most men. It produces sleepless nights and profuse sweating  in many cases. Rightly so…I say. As an agent, helping him to predict all worst case scenarios prior to offer, makes the client’s life a LOT easier when the actual info comes in better than the anticipated worst case scenarios identified in advance of the offer.

4. We’re in Like, Not in Love – “It’s harsh but true. In fact, it’s probably the most common reason we bolt.”

This one is self explanatory and most men do not want to be in LOVE with a property…EVER!  They want a purchase decision to be free of emotional influence.  They want it to be a sound financial move and not an impulse buy. The problems arise when their woman is in LOVE with the house, and the man is trying to hold on to being unemotional about the purchase and the process.

5. We’re Too into You (it) – “Guys are protective of their emotions. Translation: We’re scared spitless of being hurt. So, if we start to feel like we’re getting into a situation where we’ll be destroyed…we might launch a preemptive strike and yank the plug first.”

Multiple Offers about says it all.  Men rarely like to get involved in an offer if they know there are other offers. They are equally afraid of getting it, as they are of not getting it. They are equally afraid of houses without other offers (why hasn’t anyone else made an offer on this house?)  In many ways men are more likely to get through the process on a property they don’t LOVE, than one they do love.

This last one is very important for agents to understand. When a man really wants the house, you usually don’t know it until about 4 days before it closes.  Sometimes it’s the first time you seem him smile and get excited. He doesn’t emotionally connect with the home until all potential obstacles are behind him.  Sometimes that doesn’t happen until he has the keys in his hand 🙂