“Surprise! People want the same things as they did in the ’70s!” I don’t know whether it’s accurate (having not been alive during the ’70s myself), but this commentator sure seemed to believe so when reacting to Realtor.com’s Home Buyer survey results. To me, the results weren’t entirely surprising, but I did find them interesting, especially in seeing some of the differences between age groups. Below, I’ve outlined some of the topics and results (or check out this infographic ):
- More than half of home buyers are looking for a 3 bedroom home, with 75% wanting a minimum 2 bathroom home as well. Honestly this is not surprising at all. 3 bedroom homes are a great size, whether you are single, a couple, or a family. Plenty of space to have an office, in home gym, guest rooms, or room for the kids to grow.
- Among the younger home shoppers there is a strong demand for townhouses and row homes. Also not surprising. Town homes and row homes tend to be a bit cheaper, making them easier for newer home buyers to purchase. Of course this also depends on how high the HOAs are for the property, as most townhomes have HOA fees. Townhomes also tend to be easier to maintain yard wise (with many HOAs also covering exterior maintenance), and are generally located fairly close to town, making shopping and transportation fairly accessible. It is a great way for new home buyers to get started.
- Most searched attributes on Realtor.com: Large backyards, garages, and updated kitchens. These attributes were popular in all age groups. So basically we all like to relax in the backyard (BBQ for all!), have space for our car or storage obsession, and have a nice place we can eat. If only the updated kitchen came with a chef!! Seriously though, having a good sized back yard is a great find considering that many of the new construction homes barely have a yard. Kitchen remodels are also expensive, so finding one that is already updated is nice as well. Less money to spend later on.
- Least searched features on Realtor.com: Guesthouse, Mother-in-Law suite, solar panels, and a “man cave.” This one actually surprised me a little bit, because for awhile it seemed like a lot of people wanted those features, and I was seeing builders start to construct more homes with them. Perhaps it was a fad? I mean, a mother-in-law suite is not appealing to me (space, give us space!), but a “man/woman cave?” I would be for that. Also a great place to throw the kids when they are being too loud, or an escape route. You find peace where you can. The lack of desire for solar panels wasn’t as surprising. I think unless you are really into going green or already know the cost/benefits, solar panels are something that is going to be more preference. I also can’t help but wonder how well they function in Oregon with how dark it gets sometimes. Poor house!
- Most desired home style: Ranch homes took first place with 42%, followed by Contemporary homes at 28%, then Craftsman and Colonial. Ranch homes seem so hard to get ahold of when it comes to the buy side. They are so popular, and I think this is mostly because of how accessible the home is for people of all mobility. More and more of the boomers are hitting the age where they desire a home that provides ease of movement, and in my opinion as a parent, Ranch homes are nice because I know my kid isn’t going to have a second story window to potentially fall out of or sneak out of as a teenager. I will catch them on the only floor there is!
- Favorite room in the home: Kitchen won by a landslide with 80% of the votes. Hmm. Room where the food comes out of being the favorite. Hello! Of course. That is where the magic happens and everyone leaves mostly happy. Unless you are a picky child eater. Not that I would know anything about that. Personally, I would have gone with either the master bedroom, which came in second at 49% or the living room in at third with 42%. Anyone else notice these percentages are funny? Interestingly enough, the 55 years old and up bracket preferred garages over living rooms. I am curious as to why this is. My guess is they have an awesome classic car collection or love sports, but these are just theories that will drive me nuts because I will never know for sure.
- Top goal when searching for a home: Privacy (AKA having a space that is solely one’s own). Privacy beat out other options such as stability, family needs, and financial investment. I can see this. With more homes being constructed closer and closer together, it can be hard to feel like there is any privacy. Especially if you want to hang out in your yard or throw a barbeque. Life is so busy, work hours so long. Having a space to come relax and escape is pretty desirable.
- What motivates Millenial home buyers the most: Family needs. To be fair, the 35-44 age bracket also cited family needs as their top motivation to buy as well. This includes events such as moving in with a partner, getting married, increasing the size of the family…AKA LIFE. Life happens. One of the differences between the millennial bracket and the 35-44 is that the latter also desired to be in a good or better school district, and that “changing family circumstances” was a motivation to buy. I interpret that part as potentially a divorce or remarriage (I am full of theories today!). For that age bracket it makes sense. For home buyers over the age of 45, the main motivation for moving is the desire to downsize as children move out of the home or they are prepping for retirement. I feel like you really see the circle of life in these motivations. It also semi-freaks me out that I am in the middle of them which pretty much means the end is near and I may as well fight the over 45 group now for the Ranch style homes. I kid, kind of.
Were there any answers or statistics that you identified with? Was there anything that you felt was left off the survey that should have been on there?