What are you looking for in your next home?
By: Robert Davis
Stop for a moment and really think about this question. The National Association of Realtors surveyed home buyers nationwide on the home features that are most important to them and found that home buying needs and preferences often vary by age.
According to the survey, family needs are the biggest factor in prioritizing home amenities for home buyers 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. Proximity to schools — walking distance being a priority — is another item on most parents’ wish lists. For parents, the number of bedrooms — not necessarily the size of each room — is critical. Pet owners want homes, yards and neighborhoods that can accommodate their pets.
For those 55 years and older, privacy—having a space solely their own—is often the main goal. In that age group, the number of bedrooms and lot size are not as important for many home buyers. For older home buyers, offices, sunrooms and entertaining areas are often important.
Contemporary and colonial homes are the overall preference of Millennials, while ranch-style homes, which typically have a single level and no stairs, are the most popular home style for buyers 55 and older. Many home buyers in that age group are also looking for properties that can accommodate extended visits by adult children and/or elderly parents. Older home buyers may be looking for homes that help them ‘age in place’ and accommodate their changing needs as they grow older. Other research shows that many people in their 70s and 80s are hesitant to make a major move to a new home or city.
Lastly, while many home buyers age 55+ are moving from other homes, many Millennials are moving from rentals and purchasing or building their first homes. For that segment of home buyers, affordability and value remain major factors. Many first-time home buyers have to make some serious tradeoffs and compromises due to their home-buying budgets. While some first-time home buyers purchase new homes, many find the greatest value in purchasing existing homes.
Some home-buying preferences are the same among all age groups. Among those who work, a reasonable commute to work is a priority. Most people also don’t want to be too far away from at least one grocery store and other shopping and restaurant options. A safe neighborhood is another top priority. People of all ages love parks and walking trails.