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Love at first sight for most new homebuyers

TORONTO - Looking for a perfect home can be an emotional roller-coaster, but a new study suggests finding the right property often comes down to love at first sight.

In its report titled Psychology of House Hunting, the Bank of Montreal (TSX:BMO) found that 80 per cent of prospective homebuyers know if a house is the right one for them the moment they step inside.

But it's usually a long journey before they get to that point.

The study found that on average, house hunters visit 10 homes before they decide to buy a home, while 68 per cent say they're willing to settle for a property that's not "perfect."

Thirty-three per cent say they feel rushed into making a purchase, with that figure rising to 39 per cent among first-time homebuyers.

Those looking for a new home also express a wide variety of emotions, from 48 per cent saying they're excited, 41 per cent saying they feel cautious and 31 per cent saying they're optimistic. Twenty-five per cent of those polled say they're stressed through the process, while 21 per cent say they feel anxious.

First-time homebuyers are also more likely to feel stressed and anxious, compared to those who have owned a property before.

"It’s important to take a practical approach when house hunting and have a clear idea of where you stand financially to ensure you make a responsible home buying decision,” said Laura Parsons, a mortgage expert with BMO.

“Doing research ahead of time and setting realistic expectations can help you avoid making an uninformed or rushed purchase.”

The study also looked at the motivations behind a home purchase. It found 44 per cent buy because they felt it was a good investment and 37 per cent say it was a good time to jump into the market.

Twenty-three per cent say exploring a new neighbourhood was one of the reasons why they bought a new home, while 18 per cent say it was because they were expecting a baby.

The survey was conducted by Pollara using online interviews with a random sample of 2,000 Canadians 18 years of age and over conducted between Feb. 25 and March 5.

The polling industry's professional body, the Marketing Research and Intelligence Association, says online surveys cannot be assigned a margin of error because they do not randomly sample the population.

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