Buying a home is a big decision. The process of buying a home can be complicated. These are two widely known facts about purchasing a home. This information, however, is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the information that Realtors have about today’s homebuyers and their desires, concerns and motivations.
Each year, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) conducts a large nationwide survey of buyers and sellers to gather important information to help Realtors and their clients understand the current market climate and how to best prepare buyers and sellers for what’s ahead.
Among the abundant data provided in this report, some of the most valuable in my opinion is that which focuses on today’s buyers. This survey of more than 90,000 recent homebuyers provides us great insight into what buyers want. This information not only allows Realtors to better serve buyers, but also to better advise home sellers.
So what does the recent data tell us about today’s buyer?
▪ Buyer motivations:
When it comes to the reason for buying a home, 30 percent of buyers indicated that their primary decision was based on the general desire to own a home. This was especially true for first-time buyers, with 64 percent listing a desire to own as their main reason for purchasing. Many buyers shared that the financial investment of a home purchase was important to their decision to buy. In fact, more than 80 percent of Millennial buyers felt that a home purchase was a solid financial decision.
▪ Buyer desires:
This year’s survey also provided great information about what matters most to buyers in terms of the property they ultimately selected. Among the top considerations were neighborhood quality, convenience to jobs and overall affordability. The typical home purchased was 1,900 square feet with three bedrooms and two bathrooms. Eighty-three percent of buyers purchased a detached single-family. On average, buyers reported a 10-week home search with an average of 10 homes viewed before making a decision to purchase. The survey found that younger homebuyers typically looked for a home longer than older buyers.
▪ Buyer concerns/challenges:
At the top of the list of buyer challenges in the current market was saving for the down payments, as cited by 13 percent of buyers. Of those, 51 percent reported student loans as the contributing factor, with credit card debt and auto loans rounding out the top three. Tighter credit standards made it difficult for some buyers to attain financing, particularly single buyers according to the research findings. The complexity of the home buying process is also of concern to buyers. For this reason, more than 87 percent of buyers utilized a real estate professional to help navigate their home purchase.
Just as important as the availability of this national data, is the localized expertise that Realtors offer buyers and sellers. You might have heard the saying that “all real estate is local” and I firmly believe this to be true. Your local Realtors have a keen understanding of today’s local market – from market statistics to recent buyer trends. Take advantage of this comprehensive knowledge and don’t be afraid to ask questions. After all, a Realtor does more than simply sell homes.
Whether buying or selling a home, it’s an important and many times emotional process, and a Realtor’s main focus is service to buyers and sellers during what is one of the biggest decisions of a lifetime.
If you need additional information about the home buyers or selling process, you can learn more at www.KCRealtorLink.com.
Dan O’Neill, MGRI is 2015 president of the Kansas City Regional Association of Realtors.