A Snapshot of Today’s Homebuyer: Who They Are & What They Care About
How well do you know your homebuyer audience? And not just their demographics — things like age and financial status — but their psychographics: needs, motivations, challenges . . . essentially the things that make them “tick”? Understanding your audience on a deep level fosters greater connection; it helps you cater your business to them, which contributes to more sales and happier homebuyers. Below, we’re bringing you a snapshot of today’s homebuyer. Who they are, what they want, and how you can help them.
Demographics — things like age and financial status — play a key role in who is buying homes and what types of homes they’re buying. Below, we explore the demographics of common buyer types and what you, the homebuilder, can do to appeal to them.
Those buying a home for the very first time tend to be Millennials, usually in their early-to-mid 30s. The most common hindrance to home buying for this group is existing debt, e.g. student loans. Saving up the down payment required is the biggest hurdle for 29% of first-time buyers, while 28% of buyers use a gift from friends or family to finally make that down payment.
Homebuilder Tips for First-Time Homebuyers
- Focus on affordability — existing debt makes millennial first-timers budget-conscious. Consider offering some upgrades for free or at a discount, such as nicer cabinetry or more energy-efficient appliances or materials. You can also work with the mortgage lender to lower up-front costs through a buy-down or fixed rate.
- Cater to convenience. Millennials are already burned out between work and social obligations. The last thing they want is for their home buying experience to be equally stressful. Offer digital solutions such as virtual tours or online consultations to save overworked millennials travel time to and from the build. Provide asynchronous forms of communication, such as email or text message, as well, so that they don’t have to schedule time to talk to you and address issues or make decisions.
The majority of homebuyers are upgrading from a previously owned home. Returning buyers make up 66% of the market, as of 2021, and that number is climbing as demand prices younger buyers out of the market.
These move-up buyers are typically married, middle-aged, and middle-class, looking to upgrade from their existing home in some way, usually in terms of space or maintenance needs. They often have to make multiple offers before finalizing a sale, due to an overcrowded and competitive market.
Homebuilder Tips for Repeat Homebuyers
- Show them the ways they can upgrade from their previous home. Feature upgrades that would be more difficult to install in an existing home, such as energy-efficient roofing, tankless water heaters, or sub-floor heating. Other popular upgrades include accessibility for older or disabled homeowners, larger kitchens and bathrooms, and convenience appliances such as dishwashers and garbage disposals.
- Share with them how purchasing a newly built home can save them from having to fight for space in a competitive housing market. Although newly built homes are a little pricier than existing structures, there is less competition to purchase them, and some of that extra cost can be made up for in savings on repairs they might have had to complete on a poorly-maintained existing home.
- Emphasize family — many of these buyers are growing families looking for more space. Offer features such as entryway storage for all the kids’ coats and backpacks, easily gated stairs and doorways for corralling crawlers, separate bathrooms for kids and parents, and additional rooms like a playroom or home office.
- Make maintenance easy by compiling all of their maintenance needs in one place. HomeKeep creates a comprehensive maintenance schedule with timely reminders, and stores all of the important paperwork such as work orders, appliance warranties, and contracts, so nothing gets lost in the shuffle of moving.
Surprisingly, those investing in luxury homes seem to fall into the Millennial category, as well. Though Millennials, also known as Generation Y, tend to be first-timers, many of them are holding out until they can afford something higher-end. They’re not afraid to shop around for the best value, especially as luxury home prices have been declining in recent months.
These more tech-savvy audiences are particularly interested in luxury smart homes, with all the automated bells and whistles they can come with. In an age of modern convenience, they want those conveniences integrated into as many aspects of their lives as possible.
Homebuilder Tips for Luxury Homebuyers
- Millennials interested in luxury homes have grown up with every convenience. Provide them with tech solutions throughout the experience that make the purchase and maintenance of their new home as convenient as possible. Include smart home integrations such as lighting, security, and thermostats, and connect them with HomeKeep for an app-based, easily accessible maintenance schedule.
- Just because they’re looking for luxury doesn’t mean they’re not budget-conscious. Millennials often worry about financial stability, especially when it comes to large investments, so show your buyers how high-quality materials and regular maintenance can help maintain the value of their luxury home.
Real estate investors have long been predominantly male; the majority fall between ages 46 and 56. Female investors tend to be younger than males, with an average age of 39-49. Key factors real estate investors look for include:
- Positive return on investment
- Future opportunity
- Minimal upkeep and maintenance
Homebuilder Tips for Investors
- Investors are looking for a great deal. Show them how you can save them time and money without sacrificing the value of the home. With a new build, they don’t have to spend weeks shopping around for something that might turn a profit. And while existing homes may be a little cheaper initially than new construction, they often come with repairs, upgrades, and other maintenance issues that can quickly break the bank.
- Connect them with maintenance solutions like HomeKeep to help them keep track of scheduling maintenance. Investors often have to keep track of multiple properties at once, so it’s easy to wind up with maintenance mix-ups. HomeKeep will remind them when maintenance is due so they don’t end up with costly repairs later that might cut into their bottom line.
- Investors also need to be able to keep track of contracts and maintenance records to facilitate future sales. HomeKeep stores all of that information digitally, in one place, so they don’t have to hunt through bulky filing cabinets and risk misplacing important paperwork at a critical moment.
While demographics refer to a group’s objective statistical information — things like age, gender, education, and region, for example — psychographics refer to the more subjective psychological information about a group. Things such as personality traits, typical attitudes, long-term goals, and habits or lifestyles all fall under this category.
While much data regarding purchasing trends tends to fall under demographics, the psychographic information about your audience is just as — if not more — important. Knowing your audience is all about knowing what will speak to them the most, and much of that falls under their psychographic profile as opposed to their objective classifications.
There are a handful of trends in particular any home builder should be aware of. Read on to learn more.
Attitudes Toward Homebuying
Millennials and other first-time homebuyers feel increasingly discouraged regarding their ability to afford a home. Student debt, increasing housing costs, and low wages make those dreams seem nigh impossible. Returning buyers want to know that they’re upgrading from the home they’re leaving. No one wants to spend money on a downgrade.
- Show first-time buyers that their goals are not out of reach. Be respectful of a first-time buyer’s budget, and be sure to warn them in advance of potential price increases throughout the process. Consider offering some complimentary upgrades such as energy-efficient products that can save them money over time, and provide them with the maintenance knowledge they need to keep their home in top shape even after you hand over the keys.
- Find out what current home owning customers specifically hope to improve on: A bigger kitchen? More bedrooms? Less maintenance? Show them how you can help them achieve that upgrade. Work with them to create a floor plan that suits their space needs, or show them what kinds of new appliances are available. Demonstrate how new construction is easier to maintain, and connect them with HomeKeep to make that even easier.
Homebuyer Maintenance Knowledge
A barrier to new buyers fully enjoying their new home is trepidation around its maintenance. First-time buyers are used to relying on landlords or property owners for repairs, since they’re often not allowed to modify their space. The maintenance that goes into a home, even a brand new build, can be overwhelming for these inexperienced first-timers.
Once the initial hurdle of move-in is over, a household requires regular upkeep — cleaning, meal planning, budgeting, home repairs, preventative maintenance — that can be difficult to track. Many tools can help new homeowners track these tasks, including smart home devices, maintenance schedules, and home management/maintenance apps like HomeKeep.
Even move-up buyers have maintenance in mind. Though they’re likely more comfortable with handling maintenance on their own, they typically want to know that their new home won’t be more of a handful than the last one. Even if they have experience managing a home, some tasks can be easily forgotten or overlooked. A newly built home may also require different maintenance than one that has been standing for some time.
- Reassure them that the home is in tip-top shape before they even set foot inside.
- Make sure the final inspections are done by someone qualified that they trust.
- Create a schedule that shows homebuyers when and how each aspect of their new home will need to be maintained. HomeKeep can help by storing that calendar, as well as any manuals or documentation needed.
- Eliminate some of the guesswork by connecting your buyer with vetted professionals in their area who can complete the maintenance tasks needed.
- For tasks the homeowner can or should complete on their own, make sure they fully understand what needs to be done and how.
Digital Tool Understanding and Convenience
Millennial homebuyers are driving a push toward more tech-based home buying and upkeep. Increasingly, younger homebuyers are using tech like 3D virtual tours, live video tours, virtual communication like email and text, and even phone apps that can unlock the home to tour on their own time. Once they’ve bought the home, they’re also more likely to apply tech such as smart devices and maintenance apps to assist in home management.
Although older people are more likely to distrust tech — or eschew it entirely — many are becoming more comfortable with virtual tools, especially in a post-pandemic society. Recent statistics show as much as 27% of those over 65 are completely absent from the internet. However, this is not necessarily out of fear or lack of understanding, as much media would have us believe. As long as a tech tool’s usefulness outweighs the effort to learn to use it, more and more older consumers are becoming comfortable with virtual tools for things like scheduling appointments, tracking health and other data, and setting reminders.
Homebuyers of all ages desire convenience. Younger homebuyers seek out digital tools because of the convenience they provide, while older customers will typically only use tech that is more convenient to use than inconvenient to learn. Some digital conveniences buyers of all ages will appreciate might include:
- A virtual task schedule and automated reminders for maintenance
- Easy cloud storage and organization of important paperwork associated with the home, such as warranties, manuals, contracts, and work orders
- One-stop access to important phone numbers and qualified professionals
The younger the buyer, the more conveniences they’ve grown up with and come to expect. Today’s buyers are able to complete many daily tasks from the comfort of their couch. They’ll love adding home purchasing and maintenance to that list.
- Provide tech solutions that are easy to learn and clearly useful.
- Integrate home maintenance solutions like HomeKeep, which covers all of the tech conveniences listed above within a simple, intuitive app that is accessible to people of all levels of tech literacy.
- Provide tutorials in how to use tech conveniences being applied. HomeKeep provides step-by-step instructions for completing maintenance tasks as they arise.
- Offer both virtual and in-person options for things like meetings, home tours, and other important parts of your business. That way, customers can decide what level of tech is convenient for them throughout the homebuilding process.
HomeKeep: The Solution for Any Demographic
If you want to help your buyers feel comfortable with maintaining their new home, setting them up with a home maintenance solution like HomeKeep can go a long way. Fill out a contact form to learn more about what HomeKeep can do for you and your customers.