I’ve never bought a house for a reluctant wife. I’ve bought many for a reluctant husband, but never a wife,’ laughs Tom Hudson, co-founder of Middleton Advisors. Gender stereotypes that portray women as emotional and indecisive clearly don’t hold true among property buyers. When it comes to finding a balance between the practical and the emotional sides of a purchase, women can be more pragmatic than men, says Rob Fanshawe, partner at Property Vision.
‘They do the lion’s share of the work. They find the property, report back and tell their husband what they thought of it. He can be carried away about how lovely it is when she’s already measured the school run and worked out how far it is to Waitrose.’
Set in an AONB at the edge of Hawkhurst, Kent, Grade II-listed
Chittenden falls within the catchment area for Cranbrook School’s day
entry and is within reach of Tonbridge and Sevenoaks. £1.85 million,
Jackson-Stops & Staff (01892 521700)
The ease of the school run is often key to buying a potential home, but there can be a marked difference in the importance that men and women attach to it. ‘The generalisation is to say the mother does the school run and the father goes to work, but, the other day, I came across the reverse,’ reveals Mr Fanshawe. ‘She wanted to carry on working, but he was retired.
He seemed pretty relaxed about the school run, in the belief he would be sharing it, although I’m not sure she agreed.’ Attention to specific property features can also defy traditional gender stereotyping. ‘In the past, it was always reckoned that she would look at the kitchen, laundry and airing cupboard and he would only show interest in the cellar, attic and outbuildings,’ comments James Grillo, director of Chesterton Humberts‘ Country Department. ‘He now looks at the kitchen, too.’
Likewise, she often ventures into areas that were formerly considered a male preserve. ‘I once showed a couple around an amazing house in the Home Counties, expecting them to fall into the classic pattern. They did until we reached the garage, when an almighty argument broke out over which one of them was going to park their car in the bay with the inspection pit-both were competitive and mad-keen classic-car racing drivers. In the end, they bought it and I’m told they dug a second inspection pit.’
Being in a secluded setting is often another area where compromise is required, explains Mr Hudson. ‘You could say that the husband wants to be on his own, down a long track in a more rural position, whereas the wife wants to be in a community. The compromise is “edge of village”, where people overlook land and feel as if they’re away from the village, but have a community around them.’
It’s usually the husband who starts with the romantic vision and the wife who brings him down to earth. ‘Men can find it difficult to see acres and there aren’t many who even know what a five-acre field looks like,’ says Mr Fanshawe. ‘He’d often love lots of land, but the woman tends to be more sensible. When they’re flicking through COUNTRY LIFE, he’ll say “Look at that -it has 20 acres”, to which she’ll reply: “Don’t be ridiculous!”.’
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