Are Americans Intimidated by the Home Buying & Selling Processes?

graph showing 3 out of 5 people noted as a group

Does the process of buying or selling a home make you sweat a little bit? You’re not alone. Many people feel the same way, and the COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t relieved any of that anxiety. When most Americans think of all the stressful milestones in their lives, buying or selling a home makes the top five; it’s the way it has always been. The Harris Poll and Homie worked together to poll* a group of people in the US over 18 years of age to learn more about their feelings surrounding home buying and selling.

While we weren’t surprised by the fears and challenges that surfaced, we are still unsettled about the amount of people who are worried about the possibility of homeownership and the process to make it happen. Here’s what the poll uncovered and how Homie changes the game:

COVID-19 Impacted Home Buying

The pandemic left no area of life untouched and homeownership was no exception. The survey showed that 61% of Americans agree that the pandemic created more financial strain when buying a home. Because of this, 46% of buyers said they had to change what they were looking for in their next home purchase. This particularly affected Americans aged 35-44, where 70% report this concern.

With changes in employment, child care options, and educational situations, many families were looking to either size up or down to fit their pandemic needs. However, many buyers found it to be a challenging time to be in the market, as inventories across the country lowered and demands soared.

Lack of Clarity + High Costs = Stress

According to our poll, 70% of Americans who have bought or sold a home before reported that they experienced a challenge of some kind in their last transaction. The last place a homeowner wants to experience bumps in the road is the road to buying or selling. The traditional processes make things difficult to understand and prepare for ahead of time, which result in unforeseen issues along the way that homeowners are not ready to address.

Because it is widely known that traditional real estate transactions can be confusing, 49% of those polled said they were intimidated by the steps to buying or selling, and 44% said they wouldn’t even know where to start. This is even more prominent in Americans aged 18-44, where 60% said they were intimidated and 56% didn’t know where to begin.

In addition to being an emotionally taxing process, the cost can feel imbalanced. For those who had purchased or sold a home in the past, 25% said they paid a commission fee to an agent that felt too high.

An Agent’s Role

The shepherds of real estate transactions are the agents. An experienced local real estate agent can mean the difference between being prepared to address bumps in the road during the journey to buying or selling and feeling out of control. However, finding the right agent is the first step in the process, and it’s not always easy.

26% of Americans aged 18-34 who had purchased a home in the past said that they felt pressured to work with a specific agent during their last transaction. Overwhelmingly, 72% of those polled between ages 35-44 said they wished it was easier to find a real estate agent that worked for them.

Gaining Confidence in the Process

The traditional real estate industry isn’t going to change overnight. While we here at Homie are hard at work bringing transparency and confidence to the forefront, here’s what you can do to become more involved and supported during your home buying or selling journey.

Find a Trusted Agent

Start by vetting multiple agents. Many people know an agent already, but it doesn’t mean they have to be your first consideration and only choice. Research an agent that can help you get what you need. Start by:

  • Looking at different local agents and brokerage websites.
  • Read reviews online.
  • Check out their social media profiles.

Once you’ve found a few options, ask potential candidates questions like:

  • What is your commission percentage?
  • Where have you been conducting real estate deals for the past few years?
  • Do you have experience in being the type of home I am looking for?
  • What are the current market conditions like?

These are a few surface-level questions that will help you get to know and weigh the pros and cons of several agents.


One of the biggest mysteries in real estate for new home buyers and sellers is the topic of commissions. Who pays them and are they negotiable?

Read our guide to learn if the buyer or seller pays the commission percentage and why.

The number one thing you should know is that commissions are negotiable, and you have the right to ask an agent what their commission percentage is before you sign a contract.

Vocabulary Breakdown

Real estate is an industry, and industry jargon exists. It can be confusing to understand contracts and terms without knowing all the vocabulary. Get prepared by reading our guide on real estate terms.

Learn About Buying & Selling Before You Start

In addition to understanding the vocab of real estate, take the time to deep dive into resources that explain the buying and selling processes thoroughly. The more prepared you are for every step of the journey, the smoother it will go!

We have blogs on everything from finding a home to closing on a home for buyers and pricing to closing for home sellers.

Click here to read all of our blogs on buying.

Click here to read all of our blogs on selling.

How Homie Helps Buyers & Sellers

Let our agents help you. Our mission is to change real estate for the better. Making homeownership easy, accessible, and affordable for all is our ultimate goal. That means cutting costs for buyers and sellers where we can and providing end-to-end service solutions and local experienced agents to make the journey smoother and more transparent.

If you want to learn more about selling for a low fee with a Homie agent, click here.

If you’re in the market to buy, our local buyer’s agents can help you find the right home for your budget. Click here to learn more.

*This survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of Homie from February 16-18, 2021 among 2,073 U.S. adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. Contact Homie for complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes.