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More than 70% of Couples Argue Over Home Buying or Selling

Zillow survey identifies the parts of the real estate transaction that put the most stress on relationships

Feb 12, 2020

SEATTLE, Feb. 12, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Buying or selling a home can signal the beginning of a new phase in a couple's life together, but a new survey commissioned by Zillow and conducted online by The Harris Polli finds those two transactions are often fraught with conflict. 

A vast majority of Americans (77 percent) who have gone through the home buying process with a significant other in the past decade say they argued over the home buying process.  Nearly as many Americans (71 percent) who have sold a home with a significant other in the past decade say they argued over the home selling process, suggesting those two life events may take a toll on relationships. 

Beefing Over Buying

Of those who argued with their significant other over the home buying process, most (54 percent) disagreed over the size or style of home to buy, and nearly half (47 percent) disagreed over a home's must-have features or deal breakers. 

Other conflicts surfaced over the location or neighborhood to buy in (42 percent argued over this), the budget (37 percent) and whether to buy a fixer-upper (29 percent). 

Nearly a quarter of couples who argued over the home buying process were feuding over their mortgage options, such as selecting the right lender or mortgage product. 

Selling Squabbles

A large percent of Millennial sellers, aged 25 to 39, argued with a significant other over selling a home (85 percent) while a smaller share of baby boomer sellers, 55 years and older, argued about the home selling process (54 percent), indicating that life experience - and a higher likelihood of being a repeat seller - may help couples weather the tension that can come with a home sale. 

Of couples who argued over the home selling process, a majority (69 percent) fought about at least one of three financial decisions: what price to list the home for, whether to drop the price and whether to accept an offer. 

Many also argued over the following hassles of a traditional sale:

  • Whether or not to make repairs (24 percent)
  • Strangers walking through the home during open houses (24 percent)
  • Keeping the house clean for showings (23 percent)
  • Uncertainty over whether the house would sell or not (21 percent)

Previous Zillow research found more than one-third of home sellers cry when selling a home, and more Americans are stressed out by selling a home than they are by planning a wedding or getting fired.  Zillow also found uncertainty caused sellers more stress than showings and repairs. 

"We know buying and selling a home can be taxing, but now we know those stressors can cause friction in a relationship," said Zillow lifestyle expert Amanda Pendleton. "Couples may want to take that into account when deciding how to sell, and consider an alternative that removes many painful parts of the real estate transaction."

Zillow Offers is a new way to buy and sell that allows homeowners in 23 markets nationwide to avoid open houses, showings and repairs by selling their home to Zillow.  Couples can skip the uncertainty of a traditional sale and set their closing date, anywhere between seven and 90 days, and move on to the next chapter of their lives. 

About Zillow

Zillow® is transforming how people buy, sell, rent and finance homes by creating seamless real estate transactions for today's on-demand consumer. Zillow is the leading real estate and rental marketplace and a trusted source for data, inspiration and knowledge among both consumers and real estate professionals. 

Zillow's proprietary data, technology and industry partnerships put Zillow at nearly every major point of the home shopping experience, helping consumers search for and get into their new home faster. Zillow now offers a fully integrated home shopping experience that includes access to for sale and rental listings, Zillow Offers®, which provides a new, hassle-free way to buy and sell eligible homes directly through Zillow; and Zillow Home Loans, Zillow's affiliated lender that provides an easy way to receive mortgage pre-approvals and financing. Zillow Premier Agent instantly connects buyers and sellers with its network of real estate professionals to help guide them through the home shopping process. For renters, Zillow's innovations are streamlining the way people search, tour, apply and pay rent for leased properties. 

In addition to, Zillow operates the most popular suite of mobile real estate apps, with more than two dozen apps across all major platforms. Launched in 2006, Zillow is owned and operated by Zillow Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:Z and ZG) and headquartered in Seattle.

Zillow and Zillow Offers are registered trademarks of Zillow, Inc.

i This survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of Zillow from January 30February 3, 2020 among 2,004 U.S. adults ages 18 and older, among whom 816 have gone through the home buying (n=583) or selling (n=387) process with a significant other in the past 10 years. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes, please contact



For further information: Amanda Pendleton, Zillow,