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ORLANDO, Fla. – It seems parenthood adds another level of chaos to the homebuying process, according to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) 2019 report, Moving With Kids. It explores the homebuying habits and seller preferences of people with children under the age of 18 years living in the home.
Neighborhood characteristics The report found that buyers with children in the home were often drawn to specific neighborhood characteristics. For example, 53% of buyers considered a neighborhood based on the quality of the school district and 50% of buyers with children selected a neighborhood based on its convenience to schools.
Of those polled without children, only 10% chose a neighborhood because of the quality of its school district, and only 6% said “convenience to schools” factored into their choice.
“Parents inherently make sacrifices for their children and family, and that is no different when shopping for a home,” says NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “Of course, affordability is a part of the decision, but we have seen buyers with kids willing to spend a little more in order to land a home in a better school zone or district.”
The buying process
In terms of making the final selection on which home to purchase, buyers with children and those without shared some common ground. More than half of all buyers, regardless of children, said that finding the right property was the most difficult stage in the process. During that phase, 86% of buyers with children purchased their home with the help of a real estate agent and 87% of those without children did too.
Working with an agent
While most buyers with and without children used an agent, NAR found that preferences regarding agent interaction differed. Of buyers without children shopping for a home, 74% wanted a direct phone call when relaying information about new real estate activity. However, 67% of buyers with children preferred a text message.
Polling confirmed that buyers with children ultimately purchased larger homes and properties. As a whole, they opted to buy homes that measured 2,110-square feet in size with four bedrooms and two full bathrooms. Those without children, on average, bought 1,800-square feet with three bedrooms and two full bathrooms.
However, 26% of buyers with children had to postpone their homebuying process because of child care expenses. Although some buyers were still able to make a purchase even with child care costs in play, some of those buyers had to ultimately make compromises and concessions on the properties: 31% said they compromised on the condition of the home, another 31% said they compromised on the size of the home, and 24% compromised on the price of the home.
Home selling trends
The report found that 23% of sellers with children said they sold their home “very urgently.” Only 14% of buyers with no children said they had to sell their home quickly. One notable difference between the two groups is that 46% of those with children had to sell somewhat urgently; just under half of those without children said they were able to wait for the right offer.
Other reasons for the sale: 25% of sellers with children said they sold because their previous home was too small; 19% said a job relocation caused them to sell, and 13% said a change in their family situation spurred the sale. Only 7% of owners without kids said they felt as if their home was too small.