The housing market is more competitive than ever, with buyers battling for a winning bid on homes in short supply homes are selling at record-high values, frequently above the asking price. One study found that the average home in the U.S. increased in value by almost 20% last year. The window of market availability is fleeting as properties sell rapidly, and in this fast-paced environment, some buyers have had to adjust their expectations. 

Even amid the housing market boom, homebuyers still won't compromise on several deal-breakers and must-have requirements. To discover these prerequisites, HomeAdvisor surveyed close to 2,000 homeowners who had bought their homes within the last five years – the results reveal that despite the limited number of homes on the market, people won’t settle for a place with major issues.     

The Biggest Deal-Breakers

By far, the biggest deal-breaker was noticeable flaws in the home itself. Specifically, the survey found that 49% of homebuyers would turn down property with exterior issues such as poor siding or loose bricks, with 46% of participants hesitant if there were weatherproofing problems. Other deal-breakers included noticeable flaws in the home’s foundation, cracked ceilings or walls, and any other damages that would necessitate repairs. The home's exterior, such as landscaping, was also a top deal-breaker. Moreover, buyers admitted that they would never compromise on the location or the home's condition unless they were looking for a fixer-upper.    

What Isn’t Dissuading Buyers

Interestingly, buyers are not as dissuaded if the property is in a fire zone or potential fire zone area. However, this factor is important to keep in mind on the West Coast, where wildfire season is year-round. Survey contributors were also not likely to be deterred by homes with lead paint, the presence of radon or if there were issues with the yard. More aptly, it was only the homes that buyers perceived as needing significant work. An interesting (and potentially humorous) find of HomeAdvisor was that almost half of homebuyers were willing to buy a haunted home and would do so at or above the market value.  

The Main Things Buyers Are Looking For

Although it is essential to be aware of the primary deal-breakers for homebuyers, realtors could gain helpful insights from the main requirements of buyers. The report found that price, home size and an updated kitchen were the most critical factors when considering a home. Likewise, with the pandemic radically altering the way people work, it comes as no surprise that 76% of participants mentioned a dedicated office space as a must-have. Respondents were also more likely to buy a home near a school (53%) and not near busy roads or interstates (23%). Similarly, 90% of buyers specified that they wanted a home close to their parents or grandparents – 66% would even do so at or above market value. Finally, nostalgia was a strong driver for buyers.

Tips When Searching for a Home

Unsurprisingly, the HomeAdvisor survey found that almost three in four recent homebuyers had a stressful home buying experience, a 15% increase from before the pandemic. The heightened pressure also caused 84% of people to buy more hesitantly. Before you begin your search, reduce the stress of the home buying experience by making a list of your top deal-breakers and things you won’t compromise. Start with your current property, then grab some ideas for a Pinterest board of what you hope to find in a home and create your own vision board in the process. 

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