Growing Out of Your Home? You’re Not Alone

Americans who are house shopping in 2013 are looking for more than granite countertops and hardwood floors. According to recent research, it’s all about the family.

Most home buyers cite growing families as the main deciding factor in purchasing a new home. According to real estate professionals, almost three-quarters of their clients are motivated to look for a new home when they outgrow the old one thanks to their growing families.

The second key motivator relates to the job market; almost 70% of respondents to a recent survey of real estate professionals cite job issues as a reason for buying a new home.

As has been the case for several years, neighborhood safety remains the top factor influencing where buyers will purchase, according to the 2012 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, recently released by the National Association of Realtors. Convenient access to work was the second top factor. Families and couples placed a high priority on the quality and location of schools, and affordability remained a concern in 2012.

While looking for affordable properties, families living with elderly parents or returning adult children are paying as much attention to the home’s floor plan as to its cost. According to real estate professionals, many of these buyers are looking for split floor plans to give the different generations breathing room.

Smaller homes are gaining traction. Builders are expecting the average home size will be 2,152 sq. ft. in 2015, compared to almost 2,752 sq. ft. in 2007. Part of this relates to increased energy costs; 87% of buyers now consider heating and cooling costs at least somewhat important.

Single-family homes are still much sought after; according to NAR, almost 80% of last year’s buyers purchased a single-family detached home. It appears the American dream isn’t dead; like previous generations, families have and will continue to seek a place of their own.

Gifts First-time Homeowners Will Really Use

Spring is home-buying season, and if you have friends moving into their first home, you know a housewarming gift is in order.

While flowers and candles are lovely, why not pick up something practical, particularly for those first-time homeowners? Read on for ideas that are sure to be appreciated.

Books
Pay a visit to your local bookstore and check out the home improvement shelves. Books on do-it-yourself home projects or a first-time owner’s guide are great options. Alternatively, pick up a beautiful coffee table book on a subject your friends are interested in.

Gift baskets
Don’t pay big bucks for someone else to put one together; get creative and personalize a gift basket yourself. Try items a homeowner would find handy, such as dish towels, hand soap, linen spray, funky paper napkins and monogrammed coffee mugs. Or go with a theme, such as movies: Pick up a few classics on DVD and add some gourmet snacks.

Gift cards
Buy them a gift card for home improvement, decor, gardening or grocery stores. Or give them a break with a restaurant gift certificate or a one-time visit by a cleaning service.

Tools
A collection of essential tools is something that every homeowner will need at some point. Buy a basic toolbox and fill it with items such as a hammer, various screwdrivers, pliers, a wrench and a tape measure. Or choose one tool – a drill or a hammer – and buy the best quality item you can afford. Include drill bits or nails.