The term “starter home” seemingly refers to an entry-level property – one that is affordable yet needs “tender love and care.” But amidst the many homes available in today’s market, current first-time buyers want places with a little less “room for improvement.” In a survey of 300 consumers who purchased their first home in the last year, 87 percent said finding a move-in ready home is important to them.
This survey from Coldwell Banker Real Estate explored what was most important to new buyers to provide insight for those looking to buy or sell in 2011. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), first-time home buyers accounted for half of the market in 2010.
What Surprised First-Time Home Buyers
Several consumers experienced unexpected benefits after buying their first home:
- 67 percent said the market afforded them the opportunity to buy a home sooner than expected
- Half said they found a home in a more desirable neighborhood than expected
- 61 percent were able to get the home at a better price than expected
- 40 percent got more space than expected
- 43 percent locked in a lower interest rate than expected
“There’s a real ‘a-ha’ moment for sellers revealed by this survey that the condition and quality of their home matters a great deal to first-time homebuyers,” said Diann Patton, consumer real estate specialist, Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. “On top of that, our agents have reported that on average, first-time home buyers now look at more than 11 homes before making decisions which is higher than in the past. They can be choosy about what appeals to them and are recognizing the benefits of the low prices and wide selection of homes in many areas.”
What They Want
In addition to move-in conditions, first-time buyer results revealed the old adage “location, location, location” still holds true:
- 78 percent of respondents said the home had to be in an area convenient to shops and services
- Three-quarters of buyers said it was important to be close to their place of work
- Nearly two-thirds said it was important to be near “highly-rated” schools
Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC conducted an online survey of 300 first-time home buyers in the United States (people who purchased their first home within the last year) on their experiences and perceptions of the home buying process.