Romance & Real Estate: How Your Housing Situation Affects Your Love Life

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Where you live affects who you date—and who will absolutely refuse to date you. In honor of Valentine's Day, the real estate website Trulia commissioned Harris Interactive to conduct a survey looking at the intersection of attitudes about housing and romance. Are homeowners regarded as “marriage material” more so than noncommital renters? Are people more interested in potential mates if they live alone? Just how bad is your love life impacted if you live with your parents? When it comes to dating and housing, what’s hot and what’s not?
Owners vs. Renters
While owning a home has always been a part of the traditional American Dream, it’s apparently not a deal breaker (or maker) when it comes to dating. Nearly two-thirds (63%) of unmarried U.S. adults said that homeowners had no significant “home advantage” in terms of attracting dates. Only 28% of those surveyed said they’d prefer someone who owned a home. So you can’t really use the fact that you’re a renter as an excuse for why you can’t find a date. Well, perhaps guys can use that more as an excuse than the ladies: While just 19% of men say that they have a preference for dating homeowners, 36% of women prefer dates who own property.

(MORE: Who Qualifies for the $26 Billion Foreclosure Settlement?)

Homeownership = Marriage Material?
Buying a home demonstrates some level of commitment. But for the most part, owning a home is not viewed as a sign that you’re ready, or even interested, in marriage. In the survey, 43% of unmarried U.S. adults said that homeownership is not an indication of a person’s desire to get married or be in a serious, long-term committed relationship. However, young people are more likely to view homeowners as capable of committing to a partner. A higher percentage of millenials equate homeownership to stability and commitment. Baby Boomers, by contrast, are generally past the stage of first-time homeownership, so it matters less to them in terms of viewing the commitment potential of a new partner.

Lose the Roommate
The majority of those surveyed (62%) say they’d rather date someone who lives alone. Location matters too: When comparing the preferences of men and women, Trulia found that more men would rather date someone who lives alone in a big city. On the flip side, more women would go for a date with someone who lives solo in a house in the ‘burbs.

Move Out Already!
Nearly 25 million adults live at home with their parents because they’re unemployed or underemployed, they’re trying to pay off student loans or save money to buy a place, or for any number of other reasons. While calling mom and dad your “roommates” may be a smart financial move, it’s the kiss of death for a healthy dating life. Trulia’s survey found that only 5% of unmarried adults would be open to dating someone who lived with their parents.

(MORE: More Young Adults Are Poor, Live With Their Parents)

Shacking Up to Save
Nearly three-quarters (74%) of unmarried renters said they’d be willing to consider living with their significant other in order to save money. Somewhat surprisingly, more men than women said they’d be very willing to make the commitment of cohabitation.

Everyone Loves Master Bathrooms
Trulia posed the question: “If you were in the market for your first home today, what home amenities would make you fall in love with a home?” The results show that, for the most part, men and women largely want the same things. The top amenity for both sexes is a master bathroom, followed by a walk-in closet. More women (72%) are infatuated with a walk-in closet than men (55%), but there are apparently plenty of metrosexual males in need of closet space, as well as a gourmet kitchen—No. 3 on the list of most-desired home amenities for both sexes. Perhaps men and women aren’t as different as we’ve been led to believe.

Michael Corbett is the real estate and lifestyle expert at Trulia, an online real estate resource. He is also the host of NBC’s “EXTRA’s Mansions and Millionaires;” appears regularly on ABC’s “The View” and Fox News; and is author of three real estate books: Find It, Fix It, FLIP IT!; Ready, Set, SOLD! and Before You BUY!