Marriage or mortgage? 58% of unmarried couples would say "yes" to homeownership before saying "I do"

In this article:

The Orchard Marriage or Mortgage Report explores the evolving homebuying attitudes of 2,000 Americans in various stages of relationships and family planning.

The survey was administered in September 2022 by OnePoll and conducted by Orchard, a real estate tech company that is radically simplifying the homebuying and selling experience. In addition to helping first-time buyers move into their first home, Orchard helps people to buy their next home before they have sold their original residence.

From our research, we discovered how homebuying goals and sentiment are impacted by family planning and relationship status. 

Getting a mortgage is hotter than an engagement ring

  • 58% of unmarried couples would consider buying a house prior to getting married.
  • Of those unmarried couples, 37% shared they would want both names to appear on the title. By comparison, 51% of married couples would like both names to be listed.
  • Men are twice as likely to have cold feet – 30% say they would not feel comfortable buying real estate with a partner before marriage compared to only 15% of women who are opposed to the idea

Six-months may be enough to meet the parents… and buy a house together

  • 25% of Americans would begin looking at real estate with someone they’ve been dating for six months.
  • Would you buy with someone before hitting the six-month relationship mark? While most Americans say no, a surprising 10% of Northeast residents would consider it, compared to only 3% of those on the West Coast.
  • Southwesterners are the most traditional with 23% of people from states, including Texas and Arizona, sharing that they prefer to wait three or more years before considering buying property together.

Until moving do us part

  • Half of couples (both married and unmarried) share that they would want to sell the house and distribute the equity equally if they went their separate ways.
  • 27% of married individuals would hope to stay in the house and buy out their partner’s share if they later separated or divorced.

→ Here are some helpful tips on how to sell the house if are getting divorce

Not all relationships have to be romantic

What to expect when you're expecting

You may want to add a house to your baby registry

  • 88% of parents say that finding out they’d be welcoming a child into their family increased their interest in buying a home.
  • 24% of expecting parents share they were already looking at home listings during the first trimester of pregnancy, with an additional 38% looking by the second trimester.
  • 65% of those who went through with a home purchase share they purchased the home prior to their first child’s arrival.
  • For those parents expecting duplicates such as twins or triplets, 97% share their interest in home shopping surged – 4 in 5 parents browsed listings prior to delivery/adoption date.

Americans share that as their families grow, so does their square footage

  • 39% of parents with home buying regrets feel that their house is the wrong size for their current needs.
  • 15% of parents say one more kid would be enough to consider upgrading to a bigger home with 29% of parents saying two more kids would be the tipping point.
  • Expecting triplets? One-third of parents would upgrade their home size if three kids were joining their family.

Mom, won’t you be my neighbor?

  • Access to extended family members within driving distance ranked as the most important home factor for parents, with 92% sharing that it’s of great importance.
  • 81% of parents also weighed diversity in area as an important factor in choosing where to raise a family.

Overall, families feel good about buying a home

  • 86% of parents who bought a home think it was a good decision.
  • Parents share that the top reasons for that sentiment are that they believe they made a good investment, and that they feel pride in their homeowner status.

Money worries are the main reason some families regret their purchas

  • Of those parents who feel buying a home was not the right decision, 46% share that expensive mortgage payments is the main reason with 33% also sharing that there have been unexpected costs of homeownership.
  • 24% of parents with home buying regrets feel they rushed their home buying decision (possibly due to pressure around their baby timeline).

Single and ready to home-shop

Our study shows that single women are twice as likely as single men to buy a home.

  • 50% of women have looked at home listings online, while only 37% of men have browsed casually.
  • 75% of women hoping to buy a home have saved 20K or more for a down payment, compared to only 69% of men hoping to buy a home.
  • 51% of women have applied for a mortgage or home loan, compared to only 41% of men.
  • Single, divorced, or widowed women are 2.5x as likely to have started saving for a down payment compared to men at a similar life stage.
  • 38% of divorced women share they currently own or hope to own property on their own in the future.

*Source: National Association of Realtors 2021 Report

Methodology

The Orchard Home Shopping Sentiment Report was conducted by Orchard in September 2022 via OnePoll and received responses from 2,006 Americans, ages 24 to 50.

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