First-time homebuyers have gotten picky, according to a Coldwell Banker Real Estate survey. In a national survey of 300 consumers who bought their first homes in the past year, 87 percent said finding a move-in ready home was important to them.
Associate broker Karin Hendricks of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Smithtown agrees that today’s buyers can be turned off by fixer-uppers. “We live a very busy life, so most new homebuyers don’t want to take on too many projects," she says.
About 78 percent of buyers also insisted on a place that was convenient to shops and services, and 75 percent said it was important to be close to their jobs. Nearly two-thirds said it was important to be near highly rated schools.
And they seem to be getting their wishes: Many of those surveyed said the market afforded them perks they weren’t expecting. About 67 percent were able to buy a home sooner than they anticipated, half got into a better-than-expected neighborhood, 61 percent got a better price than they expected, 40 percent got more space and 43 percent locked in a lower interest rate than expected.
Buyers shop around till they find the goods, the survey found. First-time buyers on Long Island house-hunted for 15 weeks and looked at an average of 15 homes before making their selection, according to the National Association of Realtors.
Being choosy may account for some of that, but the glut of information available to the buyers can slow them down, too, says Hendricks. “So much information is being thrown at them, it almost paralyzes them. Yes, there’s a lot of inventory but there’s also too much information to dredge through it all.”
This can be especially confounding to first-timers -- a segment that the National Association of Realtors reports made up 70 percent of the Long Island market in 2010, thanks in part to last year’s federal tax credit for first-time buyers.
To appeal to this segment, help new buyers escape information overload by making your home a no-brainer choice, Hendricks advises: Make the home clean and clutter-free, and remove any obstacles -- such as an outdated heating system -- that could get your home crossed off a buyer’s list.
Educate yourself on who is buying in your neighborhood and what kind of expectations they have – then try to meet those expectations, Hendricks says. “A lot of people buying today are two-income families with busy lives. . . They want to know maybe a kitchen’s been done, a bathroom. They don’t want to get overwhelmed,” she says.
Upgrades such as granite will really make your home stand out. “People like the houses that have bling in them, a little something to walk away with,” she says.