The past year has inspired us to re-evaluate our living spaces and how they do or don’t meet our current lifestyle. Some wish for more space or different configurations to accommodate new needs, such as a home office or gym. Others are looking for more outside space. Recent shifts in the way people use their homes, combined with low mortgage rates, have made way for a wave of first-time homebuyers, eager to change things up in a home of their own.
Understanding the features homebuyers are looking for, and what challenges they perceive may be in their way, is critical, especially when you have meaningful and relevant solutions to share.
Space, technology, and proximity are key
No surprise, buyers are particular about the look and feel of their homes. They’re also looking to stretch out. According to Bank of America’s Homebuyer Insights, 86% of prospective homebuyers wish for more indoor space, and 64% want more space outdoors. Additionally, technology is a must-have with high-speed internet and strong cell service (56%) ranked as very important features. Buyers also want proximity to essential businesses (51%) and recreational activities (44%).
Be your buyers’ eyes and ears
As virtual home tours become the norm, knowing what prospective buyers want is more important than ever. Half of the millennials, who make up a significant portion of today’s homebuyers, shared that they would make an offer on a home they had only viewed virtually. Moreover, 85% of people believe the way we view homes will be very different moving forward. While technology makes virtual home tours feel relatively seamless, it’s challenging to capture all five senses virtually – and prospective buyers can miss nuances like a noisy garage door or lingering pet odors. A trusted agent can point out details during FaceTime walk-throughs that homebuyers might have missed or ask questions that may not be intuitive.
House wish list in hand, but barriers on the horizon
While many first-time homebuyers have a clear picture of what features they’d like in their next home, perceived barriers may be holding them back. Nearly nine-in-ten survey respondents said they are motivated to purchase their first home, but expensive home prices (62%), high rent costs (48%) and student debt (30%) are making homeownership more difficult to achieve. The good news is there are solutions you can offer your clients to help overcome these roadblocks. In particular, the upfront costs of homeownership can be the biggest deterrent. Luckily, there are low down payment loans and down payment and closing cost grants aimed at helping those who can afford monthly mortgage payments but are simply unable to accumulate funds for the upfront costs.
Opportunity is within reach, but buyers lack information
Although homeownership remains one of the best ways to build wealth over time, 20% of hopeful buyers said they lack the financial education they need to become homeowners. Fortunately, tools like the First-Time Homebuyer Online Edu-Series and Better Money Habits offer homebuyers easy-to-understand help to set them up for making smart homeownership decisions. Your clients will find it easy to access online educational videos and articles designed to make the homebuying process more manageable, all at their own pace. And, an informed and confident client benefits you.
You’re surely seeing firsthand how the changes over the past year are fueling a strong desire for homeownership. The meaning of home has changed in many practical ways, but it also continues to mean opportunity and the power to build personal wealth and a legacy for families.
Bank of America helps clients build pathways to credit and meets a broad range of financing needs, including mortgages for home purchase or refinance and home equity lines of credit. Bank of America, N.A., Member FDIC Equal Housing Lender © 2020 Bank of America Corporation. Credit and collateral are subject to approval. Terms and conditions apply. This is not a commitment to lend. Programs, rates, terms and conditions are subject to change without notice.