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Study Reveals Americans’ Homebuying Deal-Breakers

Searching for the perfect home requires a little give and take; you have to balance location, price, and style among other things. And in the current market, where the average home is now going for $380,000 and are selling in a matter of days, buyers are having to adjust their expectations. But no matter how “open” you are, there will always be deal-breaker. 

In order to find out what some of these deal-breakers are, HomeAdvisor polled 1,792 Americans who bought their house in the last five years about their thoughts on the buying process. 67% owned a single-family home, 16% owned a townhouse, 10% owned a condominium, 6% owned a multifamily home, and 1% owned a co-op. 

As a whole, most buyers indicated that the purchasing process was a stressful time in their lives. Before the pandemic, 60% of buyers said the process was stressful compared to 86% seen today.  

Much of the stress comes from the speed at which the market is moving. When homes are selling in mere days, buyers are pressured to act quickly. The survey indicated that 84% of buyers were forced to make a decision quicker than they were comfortable with. Before the pandemic, this number sat at 48%. 

Other stressors buyers experienced came from their realtor (67%), the owner of the home (57%), their partner (51%) and the limited inventory (28%). 

The prevalence of bidding wars has not helped buyer sentiments either. Before the pandemic 31% of buyers said they lost a bid on a property; today, that number has risen to 79%. 

Buyers indicated that the most common deal-breakers are: 

  • Exterior issues, such as damaged or discolored siding 
  • Weatherproofing issues in an area of the house 
  • A significant number of repairs needed 
  • Noticeable flaws in the foundation 
  • Cracked walls or ceilings 

As always, price was the most important factor for buyers. 60% of responders said that they would go over budget for the perfect home, and a further 25% said they would consider going $100,000 over their budget for a home. 

Buyers were also asked about whether a home’s history and location were major influences in their decision. 

“Interestingly, nearly half would buy a home featured in a popular TV show or movie if it were at or above market value. However, one in three would refuse to buy a home featured on a tour route. Nearly three in four would buy an infamous home, such as a home in which a tragedy took place, as long as it was at or below market value. Nearly half of buyers (47%) say they would buy a haunted home, and they would do so at or above market value. Perhaps this is because three in five people believe they have already lived in a haunted house.” 

Nostalgia was also found to be a powerful feeling for buyers. 65% of buyers would pay at or above market value for their childhood home. Likewise, 63% would do the same for a home that their parents grew up in. Additionally, 90% of buyers wanted a home within close proximity of their parents or their partner’s parents and 66% would do so at or above market value. 

Click here to view the report in its entirety. 

About Author: Kyle G. Horst

Kyle G. Horst is a reporter for DS News and MReport. A graduate of the University of Texas at Tyler, he has worked for a number of daily, weekly, and monthly publications in South Dakota and Texas. With more than 10 years of experience in community journalism, he has won a number of state, national, and international awards for his writing and photography including best newspaper design by the Associated Press Managing Editors Group and the international iPhone photographer of the year by the iPhone Photography Awards. He most recently worked as editor of Community Impact Newspaper covering a number of Dallas-Ft. Worth communities on a hyperlocal level. Contact Kyle G. at kyle.horst@thefivestar.com.

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