Who Are Today’s Homebuyers and What Do They Want? | SRES®

Who Are Today’s Homebuyers and What Do They Want?

home renovation

Has it been a decade or two since you moved into your current home? Are you now planning to sell it? If yes, it’s a good idea to learn about today’s buyers, what they want, and the steps you can take to help sell your home for the best possible price.

For example, if your interior walls showcase paint colors that were trendy decades ago, a substantial number of buyers no longer share your taste. “Let them repaint the walls,” you say. “That’s what I did!” Yes, paint is indeed a relatively easy cosmetic update.

However, you’re also assuming that buyers will take time to use their imagination (instead of moving on to the next online listing) and be willing to tackle paint projects after purchasing a home.


Who is buying houses?

To get a better understanding of today’s buyers, consider research published by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR).

According to NAR’s 2019 Home Buyers and Sellers Generational Trends Report, millennials (ages 21 to 38) represented the largest segment of recent homebuyers, at 37 percent.


homebuyers by generation chart

If you’re selling your home, the odds are good that millennials will be your primary target market, as potential buyers. Staging your home to appeal to this generation will help you sell it faster and at a better price.

Boomers and the silent generation dominate the other side of the market, representing 55 percent of recent home sellers. (In contrast, millennials are just 20 percent of recent sellers.)

On average, sellers age 54+ have lived in their home for 12 to 17 years before putting it on the market—plenty of time for home design trends to change.


Attracting today’s buyers

The vast majority of buyers (86 percent) purchased a previously owned home, instead of new construction. This is especially true for younger buyers, who are often cash-strapped compared to older buyers in their peak earning years.

Among millennials who purchased previously-owned homes, their top reasons for doing so were to obtain a better price, a better overall value, and more charm and character.

However, among younger buyers who COULD afford a newly constructed home, the top motivation hinged heavily on avoiding renovations or problems with plumbing or electricity—a factor that was much less concerning to older buyers.

Percent of buyers who purchased a new home to “avoid renovations or problems  with plumbing or electricity,” by age

The data supports the advice of many real estate professionals, who often tell their listing clients that younger homebuyers place a priority on homes that are in “move-in-ready” condition and don’t require any renovations.

Millennials are typically busy professionals and possibly the parents of young children. They don’t have the time or interest in making home modifications before moving in unless they can easily hire someone to do the work—and reduce their offer price to cover the cost of renovations.


Every market is unique

The trends and data shared here apply to buyers and sellers across the U.S. Your market may be experiencing different dynamics. That’s why it’s essential to consult with your Seniors Real Estate Specialist® (SRES®), who can provide vital local market perspectives.

A real estate professional who has earned their SRES® designation has specialized knowledge and experience in assisting clients ages 50+ and is attune to generational differences between buyers and sellers. To identify qualified agents in your area, consult the Find an SRES® directory.