Real Estate News 1/28/19

 Do you believe in love at first sight? Many house hunters do: They describe stepping inside a house and instantly feeling like it’s “home.” But was it the price, the amenities, or the location that attracted them? Home improvement website surveyed nearly 1,000 consumers about their first home purchase to find some of the top factors that influenced their buying decisions. Aesthetic appeal, affordability, commute time, and neighborhood character were the top draws, according to the survey. Sixty-seven percent of baby boomers and 61 percent of Gen Xers say affordability was the most important factor when searching for their first home. Millennials also placed a high priority on finding a home within their budget, as well as renovated bathrooms. Whether the home was move-in ready also was a powerful influencer, respondents say. “We know home renovations can get pricey, and one thing that appeals to potential first-time home buyers is finding a home where the kitchen and bathrooms are fresh and up-to-date,” according to’s study. “Emotions obviously play an important role in purchasing a first home,” according to the survey, which finds that Gen Xers were the most emotionally driven when deciding which home to purchase. Twenty-one percent of Gen Xers—more than both millennials and baby boomers—mentioned the importance of their partner falling for the right house. Source:

As part of their 2018 year-end report, RENTCafé and Yardi Matrix took a look at what renters searched for on Google in the last year. And the results provide a window into what renters really care about and want in their next apartment. Given that rents have risen pretty consistently over the last few years, it probably shouldn’t come as a surprise that the phrase renters search for most often is “cheap apartments.” According to the RENTCafé report, “cheap apartments” accounted for more than 25% of the total of rental-related Google searches in 2018. The second most popular search term is “studios,” which accounted for 23.88% of searches. That means renters are clearly focused on the cost of their rent as nearly 50% of all searches focused on cheap apartments and studios. One-, two- and three-bedroom apartments were the next most popular search terms, in that order. And for more evidence about what renters care about, also released a report this week about the features that renters will care about in 2019. Number one on the list of amenities that renters will care about in 2019 is “outdoor community living.” According to the report, “balcony space” and “dog-friendly” are among to the top search terms on Next up on’s list is “indoor relaxation.” Source: HousingWire

Brokers say that Zestimates can be off base, but that doesn’t stop sellers from obsessing over what the website says their home is worth. The Zestimate is marketed as a tool designed to take the mystery out of real estate for consumers who would otherwise have to rely on brokers and guesswork. But where Zillow sees transparency, some brokers and homeowners see fantasy, arguing that an algorithm, its clever graphics notwithstanding, cannot account for the nuances that determine a home’s worth, like whether your kitchen is brand new or from the disco era. “Most people are kind of obsessed” with the Zestimate, said Stacey Simens, a saleswoman for Coach Realtors in Hewlett, N.Y., on Long Island. Once a potential seller has a number in mind, it can be hard to pull them away from it, regardless of reality. “They’re looking for that magic button that will tell them that their house is worth exactly what they want it to be,” she said. A Nerdwallet survey found that of the 78 percent of homeowners who thought they knew what their home was worth, nearly a quarter got their information from an online calculator. Zillow claims a median error rate of 4.3 percent, meaning the estimate should be within 4.3 percent of the home’s value half of the time. The remaining homes are off by a larger percentage. How large? The site says 87.6 percent of its estimates are within 20 percent of the actual value. It’s anyone’s guess where your house’s estimate lands. Source: The New York Times

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