Buyers and sellers open up: 6 things that influence homebuying decisions

by John Frank


To better understand the perspective and experiences of people who were in the market to buy or sell a home in 2016, Redfin recently commissioned SurveyGizmo to ask 3,352 Americans what would influence their buying or selling of a home. Respondents were from 11 different metropolitan areas and consisted of those who bought or sold a home in 2016 or planned to do so in 2017. Participants answered six questions about their homebuying and selling activities in 2016. Here’s what they said:

Here are 6 things buyers and sellers are thinking about

1. Sellers try to negotiate their agent’s commission

Fifty-seven percent said that they did attempt to negotiate for a lower commission, an increase from the 52 percent from a survey earlier in the year.

Breaking this down by generation, Baby Boomers were more ‘submissive’ than Millennials, with 61 percent saying they did not attempt to negotiate; Millennials reported the opposite, as 66 percent did attempt to negotiate for a lower price/commission. Due to their technical savviness, Millennials have gotten the opportunity to better inform themselves of the market using “relatively recent data transparency and technological innovation,” as Redfin reports. This gives them the confidence to negotiate with a listing agent.


2. Most sellers check online for estimated home value

Before deciding to sell their homes, 72 percent of respondents said they checked online for their estimated home value at least once a week, 22 percent checked daily and 19 percent only a few times per month. The remaining ten percent claimed they checked once to a few times a year or not at all.

Ninety-five percent of people who had sold or tried to sell a home reported checking online estimates at least once a week. Out of those 95 percent, 92 said it had affected their home-selling plans. 

Eighty-four percent of all buyers said it had influenced their homebuying plans.


3. Buyers’ plans in the face of rising prices are a mixed bag

Homebuyers, for the most part, have come to accept that prices most likely will not decrease soon enough to greatly effect their decision. Twenty-five percent said the rise in home prices would have no impact on their homebuying experience. Twenty-six percent said they’d wait to see if prices went down, though 24 percent felt the opposite, feeling compelled to buy before prices surged even more. Twenty-three percent of respondents decided to proceed with homebuying with downsizing the home and a budget in mind. Three percent said they would completely end their search for a new home.


4. Consumers care about the income gap

Given the opportunity to choose three top economic concerns in the United States, 42 percent of people claimed the income gap between the rich and poor was the most significant, 41 percent chose affordable housing and 35 percent said it was the federal budget deficit. Other concerns (ordered from most to least votes) included: overall employment rates, job opportunities for those without a college education, the trade deficit and the income gap between races and genders.


5. Buyers think about the politics of their potential neighbors

Thinking of the neighborhood they’d move into, Millennials were the most hesitant to move to an area where people have different political views from their own at 47 percent; only 30 percent of Boomers reported the same hesitance. Half of the respondents voted neutral and eight percent declared it relevant but approached the situation with more excitement than hesitation to encounter neighbors with differing political views. 


6. Almost half of buyers and sellers of color report experiencing discrimination

Combined with “yes” and “maybe” responses, 49 percent of people of color (POC) said they had been discriminated against due to their ethnicity. 28 percent of Caucasian respondents reported the same. Just as Millennials are more likely to negotiate with their agents due to their access to the Internet, POC are able to avoid the first chance for potential discrimination using the same resources.

In an earlier Redfin report focused on discrimination against buyers in 2016, the report’s author wrote, “The internet has already begun to act as an equalizer. It enables a person of any color to find out about homes for sale in every neighborhood, rather than relying exclusively on a real estate agent to show them available homes.”

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