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Why do women find home buying more stressful? Add to ...

When it comes to buying a home, women and men have one thing in common - both genders agree that owning a home will give them a sense of well-being and security. But that's where the similarities end, according to surveys conducted by Genworth Financial Canada.

The research shows that even women in fairly strong financial positions tend to be more stressed and less confident than men when it comes to home buying. "Women are consistently more worried and anxious about finances and feel they have less understanding about the home buying process than men," Genworth says.

The mortgage insurer found that 43 per cent of the women surveyed, compared with 32 per cent of men, find the home shopping process stressful. Three-quarters of women say it is important to have a simple and easy to understand mortgage structure. Only 60 per cent of men feel the same way. And while half of the men surveyed want the security of low monthly mortgage payments, women were even more conservative, with 65 per cent saying this is critical.

Over all, Genworth found that the women surveyed felt more anxiety than their male counterparts when thinking about their financial futures.

It would probably take a doctorate in women's studies to identify all of the reasons for this, admittedly broadly generalized, crisis of confidence among us.

Nonetheless, Genworth gamely offers some tips to make home buying easier for both sides of the gender divide.

First, agree on what you want before looking. For example, how many bedrooms do you need? Is a double garage a deal breaker or a negotiable feature?

Second, set a limit before going out house hunting. You don't want to get caught up in a bidding war that leads you outside of your comfort zone.

Third, get a pre-approved mortgage. This will help you and your partner understand what you can afford and give you the confidence to make an offer for a home.

Finally, educate yourselves as much as possible. With knowledge, comes power. You'll feel less anxiety buying a home if you know you're making an informed decision. To help first-time homebuyers understand the home buying process, Genworth Financial Canada has launched National Homeownership Education Week, taking place April 12-16. For tips, tools and resources check out www.homeownership.ca.

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