Men are quick, women take their time

For women, it's about emotion. Men? Size, of course.

No, we're not talking about that. We're talking about home buying. And the male-female approach to that activity is about as similar as football and crocheting.

To be fair to the less-fair sex, size isn't the whole picture, although men do like big yards and ample square footage. When buying a house, they prefer to deal with facts, researchers say, and they tend to make decisions quickly. They like schematics and floor plans: Where's the garage and will it accommodate my jet ski?

Women, on the other hand, want to know what a room feels like and if the family will be comfortable there. Or as Andrea Learned, co-author of the book "Don't Think Pink," puts it, men are like stick-figure drawings, preferring the basics, and women are the Michelin Man, plump with the same facts men have stored, but with additional layers of questions and emotion.

That's right, women -- painted in some circles as less technologically savvy as men -- are the ones burning through the Internet to research a home, and often are the ones who read the fine print on listings.

Men, whose stress hormones increase when dealing with a multitude of facts and feelings, lose their focus more quickly, says Richard Peterson, a psychiatrist and author specializing in investment psychology. Women -- big surprise -- are adept multi-taskers.

David Toyama, a veteran Los Angeles-based agent, puts it this way: "If a house has a big garage and a good place for a TV, men are ready to buy, and they say, 'Let's do it!' Women like more time, and if the place doesn't feel right, they shop further. They examine the whole picture."

And they're not afraid to drop some coin. Women in the U.S. make 85% of all purchase decisions, according to a host of experts and surveys. And, according to a National Association of Realtors survey, single women made up 20% of all home buyers in 2008, compared with single men, who made up 10%.

That scenario may be changing. Toyama has noticed that single men under 40 are showing much more interest in home buying than previously. But guess what? They bring their girlfriends and fiancees with them.
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