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Consumer Insights

De-stressing homeownership

Reading Time — 5 minutes

September 13, 2022

By Heather Harmon

Reading Time — 5 minutes

September 13, 2022

When Clay needed to cover some medical expenses by selling his Las Vegas home quickly, he was worried about the cost of selling and moving in a reasonable time frame. “Being in and out of the hospital this past year, I was concerned about my health and hospital fees,” he recalls. “The last thing I wanted to think about was the burden of selling my home.”

Real estate transactions are always stressful, especially during a volatile economy. Like so many Americans, Clay was worried about the many obstacles that come with a real estate experience.

But as he discovered, stress doesn’t have to be part of the equation. “The process of selling my home was seamless and painless thanks to Opendoor,” he says. Today, he is in much better health, he’s engaged to be married, and has even adopted a new pup. “Opendoor removed many fears for me about prepping my house to sell. Now in my new home, I can finally exhale.”

At Opendoor, we aim to remove the hassles that come with traditional real estate sales to create a delightful and stress-free experience. We recently took a look at how people are tackling their finances and homeownership and the stress it can cause in our first-ever Financial Wellness Study.

Money on the mind

The economy has been on everyone’s mind this year. From interest rates to inflation, financial news making headlines is anything but comforting. We found that 56% of current and prospective homeowners think about their finances for at least 30 minutes every day. This is at a time when less than half (46%) of these same people view themselves as financially secure.

So what would help them feel more secure? Other than winning the lottery, 75% of our respondents say having “more money in the bank” and 70% feel “a bigger paycheck” would make the difference.

Another milestone of financial security that many aspire to: buying a home. Buying a home is seen as an investment, with 37%1 of prospective homebuyers believing that homeownership will improve their quality of life. In addition, more than 78% are considering buying their first home in the next five years — and 53% want to buy within the next two years.

Pressure is on

For many, simply the idea of owning a home brings on stress, especially for Millennials, who are currently 26-41 years old. Today some 31% of them indicate feeling pressure to own a home. These pressures are societal, internal, and familial (in that order). Adding to Millennials’ home buying stress is that they are more likely to purchase a home on their own, rather than with family or a partner’s help.

As the last few years have shown, homeownership isn’t easy–or even attainable–for many. Nearly half of Millennials who are considering buying a home (49%) say they are stressed about securing a down payment. Other top stressors include bidding wars (60% of West Coast dwellers) and understanding the mortgage and lending process (51% in Texas, compared to 38% nationwide).

The real (e)state of stress in 2022

Buying or selling a home can bring on a whole host of other stresses. Across the U.S., “moving and packing” and “costs and fees” are cited as the main sources of stress for sellers. For buyers worried about gathering funds for a down payment, the stress of taking on additional debt (74%), the burden of saving enough to complete the transaction (67%), and the fear of future monthly payments (53%) all weigh heavily. Regionally, roughly 1 in 4 New York State residents feel pressure to buy a home; the stress is a lot lower in the Midwest, where residents of Kansas/Missouri (5%) and Ohio (8%) are least likely to feel the pressure to buy.

Our findings also uncovered how expectations around owning a home can contribute to stress. While 84% of respondents noted that they’ve never stayed in a relationship just to afford rent or housing, 41% admitted that homeownership makes a partner more attractive. Another one-third of respondents are more likely to be with a partner who owns a home, speaking to the importance [and pressure] we place on homeownership.

Location, location, location

When it comes to buying and selling a home, location is often a key factor. Nationally, 32% are willing to move out of state to get their dream home. Their willingness to change locations varies, however, by region. New York (44%) and New Jersey (42%) say they would consider crossing state lines to afford a new home. But 43% of Ohio residents say they would not consider moving out of state.

Our data also reveals that 65% of consumers would, perhaps understandably, not move to a less desirable neighborhood to attain their dream home. Ohioans in particular are opposed to moving to a less desirable neighborhood (82%). Western residents are relatively more open, with about 1 in 4 (23% vs. 18% nationally) saying “maybe” they would consider such a move.

Alleviating anxieties

Just as Clay was able to use Opendoor to sell his home easily, there are ways to make the typical financial worries less daunting. Focus on the things you can control—like getting pre-approved for a mortgage—and getting emotional support from others to make the process feel like an exciting new chapter. After all, finding the home of your dreams and moving should be exactly that: A celebration of what’s to come. When you’re ready, Opendoor is here to help.

If you’re interested in selling your home, request an offer or check out our current homes for sale. Don’t forget to check out our open roles, too.

Heather Harmon is the Head of Opendoor Finance.

Methodology: Opendoor conducted a survey in July 2022 among a nationally-representative sample of 2,013 current and prospective homeowners ages 25 to 75 years old with a household income of $50K or more.

1Prospective homebuyers are defined as people looking to buy in the next two years.

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