Coldwell Banker "Housetrology" Quiz Uncovers Intangible Home Buying Influences

Company Asks Consumers, "What's Your House Sign?" and Delves Deeper Into Emotional Instincts Affecting Home Buying Decisions

August 07, 2008 // Franchising.com // PARSIPPANY, N.J. — New Coldwell Banker Survey Data Reveals More than 3 of Every 4 People Feel Quality of Home is More Important Than Square Footage; 60 Percent Say "Feel" of Home Is as Important as Price

Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC today shared the initial results of its innovative and engaging "Housetrology" online quiz in which the company asked people, "What's Your House Sign?" After receiving more than 1,200 responses this summer, Coldwell Banker delved deeper into the emotional instincts affecting home buying decisions by leveraging a third-party research company to conduct a more formal consumer attitude survey on home buying. In addition, Coldwell Banker® tapped the expertise of Dr. Ruth Peters, a family psychologist and special correspondent on NBC's "Today" show, to interpret the results of the company's online quiz and consumer research. Dr. Peters offers an additional perspective on how home buyers can balance emotional and practical issues while hunting for the homes of their dreams.

Encouraging consumers to think beyond such standard home buying variables as square footage or school districts, "Housetrology" examines how emotional instincts can factor into the type of house a person might want to live in. Answers to such questions as, "Which TV show's house would best suit you?" or "What would you see out of your dream home window?" include images and descriptions. At the conclusion of the quiz, consumers learn their ideal home style. More than two-thirds of Facebook respondents fell into either the "Urbanist" (35 percent) or "Contemporarian" (34 percent) categories. The Coldwell Banker "Housetrology" quiz is now also available on the ColdwellBanker.com Web site, giving everyone who participates a fun and unique way to uncover their inner "house signs" and better understand the various factors influencing their home style preferences (See complete results from the "Housetrology" Facebook quiz below).

"As a clinical psychologist with over 30 years of experience, and through my partnership with Coldwell Banker, I've seen how emotions can influence major life decisions such as finding a home," said Dr. Peters. "And while validating our emotions and trusting instincts are important, it's essential to look past emotional triggers like perfect white picket fences, and consider practical factors as well to make the most informed decision for your family."

"Before visiting an open house or reaching out to speak with a sales associate, consumers research and collaborate online in what we call the 'dreaming phase' of the home buying process," says Michael Fischer, senior vice president, marketing, Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. "By delivering this fun and informative 'Housetrology' quiz on Facebook and on our Web site, we're helping future homeowners dream and identify the kinds of homes they like most, and through innovative, interactive channels."

Conducted by International Communications Research (ICR), a leading third-party research company, the findings from the Coldwell Banker Survey include the following highlights:

Quality, "Feel"and First Impression of Home Matter

  • More than three out of every four respondents (78 percent) felt that the quality of a home is more important than square footage.
  • The majority of respondents (60 percent) also said that the "feel" of a home is as important as its price.
  • 12 percent of respondents knew their house was "the one" even before stepping inside. After visiting just once, that figure rose to 51 percent.



"While some buyers begin the process with a list of "must-haves," this data demonstrates how intangible impressions like "quality" and "feel" factor heavily into the home decision-making process," said Dr. Peters. "In fact, some people even experience 'love at first sight' when it comes to their homes, which means one cannot overstate the importance of a strong first impression. And price isn't all that matters – as opposed to investing and then hoping for an overnight return, consumers recognize that a home must have the right 'feel' for their everyday lifestyles."

Buyers Prefer Security, Nurturing and Cozy Spaces Over More Abstract Ideals

  • 51 percent of respondents said that, "A home should be a space that feels safe and secure," while an additional 16 percent felt it should be "full of warm, cozy spaces where I can curl up." Taken together, these responses heavily outweighed those who felt a home should be a "refuge to get away from it all" (13 percent), "open to nature with great views (12 percent)," or "a space that feels airy and light (6 percent)."
  • 58 percent of respondents agreed with the statement, "My home is a place to shelter and nurture my family." The next most popular response was, "My home is a place to escape from the pressures of daily life," which 19 percent of respondents agreed with.


"Lovely views and lots of light are nice to have," said Dr. Peters, "but these results underscore that first and foremost, a house becomes a home when it feels comfortable and safe for the family that resides there. Now more than ever, consumers are probably more inclined to choose security over special add-ons like lofty views or an airy atmosphere."

Coldwell Banker "Housetrology" Quiz Results from Facebook Users

In June 2008, Coldwell Banker® became the first full-service real estate brand to take advantage of the power of social networking by launching the "Housetrology" quiz as a Facebook application. The site currently has 80 million active users, with the fastest growing site demographic being 25 years and older. So far, the quiz has been taken over 1,200 times on Facebook alone, with respondents falling into the following categories:

  • Urbanist – 35 percent. Urbanists say "no thanks" to minivans, puppies and 2.5 children, and prefer culture, chic décor and lofty views.
  • Contemporarian – 34 percent. Contemporaians crave open, light-filled spaces, high ceilings and majestic nature views, and love to bring the outside in by using natural materials.
  • Ranchero – 16 percent. Rancheros desire peaceful spaces with access to the great outdoors. Whether they're actually "home on the range" or settled into suburbia, their homes are their sanctuaries.
  • Colonialista – 11 percent. Colonialistas spend their time and effort securing timeless decorative pieces as opposed to passing trends, and their dream homes rest on stately columns and solid brick structures.
  • Eclectic – 3 percent. Eclectics are masters of incorporating the best of all worlds, and know how to blend it all with style and panache.
  • Victorian – 1 percent. Victorians favors all things ornate, including, color, pattern and whimsical, old-fashioned details.


Those interested in taking the "Housetrology" quiz can access it by visiting www.coldwellbanker.com/housetrology or on the Coldwell Banker page on Facebook.

To learn more about the psychology of house-hunting and schedule an interview with Dr. Ruth Peters, please contact Meredith Topalanchik at 973-220-8577 or mtopalanchik@cooperkatz.com.

About Coldwell Banker®

Since 1906, the Coldwell Banker® organization has been a premier full-service real estate provider. In 2007, Franchise Times magazine's prestigious Top 200 issue ranked the Coldwell Banker System No. 1 in real estate for the eighth straight year and 12th among franchisors in all industries. The Coldwell Banker System has approximately 3,600 residential real estate offices and 111,500 sales associates in 47 countries and territories. The Coldwell Banker System is a leader in the industry in residential and commercial real estate, and in niche markets such as resort, new home and luxury property through its Coldwell Banker Previews International® division. It is a pioneer in consumer services with its Coldwell Banker Concierge® Service Program and award-winning Web site, www.coldwellbanker.com. Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC is a subsidiary of Realogy Corporation, a global provider of real estate and relocation services. Coldwell Banker® is a registered trademark licensed to Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. Each office is independently owned and operated.

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