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What are your home buying priorities?

Does your home have a laundry room? Energy-efficient appliances? A walk-in pantry? A patio or front porch? These are just some of the features home buyers want most, according to surveys conducted by the National Association of Home Builders. Also on the list: Master bedroom walk-in closet, living room, and shower/bathtub combo in the master bedroom.

The National Association of Realtors also surveys homebuyers nationwide on the features that are most important to them. The association discovered that the typical home buyer currently is looking for a three-bedroom, two-bathroom home with a garage and updated kitchen. Most people consider two bathrooms to be essential. And the majority of all home buyers also are looking for a move-in-ready property that doesn’t require much in the way of repairs and renovations.

Studies also show that home buying needs and preferences vary by age. According to the National Association of Realtors survey, family needs were the biggest factor in prioritizing home amenities for homebuyers under the age of 55. For many families with small children, for example, features such as the number of bedrooms, school quality, and yard size can be important considerations. For those 55 years and older, privacy — having a space in a home that’s sole of their own such as a home office — was an important goal. In that age group, the number of bedrooms and lot size are not as important for many home buyers.

Contemporary and colonial homes were the preference of Millennials, while ranch homes, which typically have a single level and no stairs, are the most popular home style for buyers 55 and older. Lastly, while many homebuyers age 55+ are moving from other homes, many Millennials are moving from rentals and purchasing their first homes or a larger second home. The survey shows that rent increases and FOMO — fear of missing out on the experience of owning your own home— are driving many Millennials to become homeowners.

Some other findings from the National Association of Realtors:

About 85% of buyers purchase a previously owned home. A much smaller percentage — 15% — purchase a new home. Many of those purchasing new homes say they are doing so to avoid renovations, repairs, and problems with plumbing, electrical, and other major systems of the home. Buyers who purchased previously owned homes were most often seeking a lower cost per square foot and a better overall value for their home buying budget.

Detached single-family homes continue to be the most common home type purchased nationwide. Townhomes are a distant second.

Americans aren’t moving far. The median distance between the home that recent buyers purchase and the home they move from is only about 15 miles.

About 12% of home buyers purchase a multigenerational home. That one can accommodate more than one generation of family members. Most people purchasing a multigenerational home do so to take care of aging parents because adult children over the age of 18 are moving back home and for the cost savings of combining two or more related households. Multigenerational properties often are larger homes with layouts that provide different family groups a level of privacy and in some cases, their kitchen.

Americans often move to be closer to loved ones. For sellers, the most commonly cited reason for selling their home was the desire to move closer to friends and family (15 percent), the need for more space (14 percent), and a change in family situation (12 percent).


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