Compromise a Fact of Life for Current Homebuyers

Few people get everything they want in a home.

The annual National Association of Realtors' (NAR) "Home Buyer And Seller Generational Trends" 2016 report was just released, and as always, it's got some interesting factoids to bear in mind if you're considering buying a home.

One data set that seems particularly relevant in a market where a low inventory of homes for sale is leading to price rises and bidding wars (at least in some parts of the U.S.) is the list of home characteristics on which recent buyers felt they had to compromise. (A mere 34% of buyers reported having made no compromises at all in the course of their home purchase, and most of them were older and in all likelihood wealthier.)

Topping the list of common compromises was, not surprisingly, the home price: 20% of all buyers paid a different amount than they'd hoped to--presumably more. This rises to 22% if you leave out buyers over age 50.

Next on the list is the condition of the home, over which 19% of recent buyers compromised. We can safely presume they accepted a house in worse repair or condition than they'd hoped to find.

Compromise was especially necessary among younger buyers. For those age 35 and below, 21% made compromises on the size of the home, 14% compromised on lot size, 13% compromised on home style, 13% compromised on the home's distance from their job, and 6% compromised on distance from friends and family.

How long do they plan to live in this compromise home? The largest group, at 26%, said 16 or more years (not counting the 38% who said they don’t know).

See Buying an Affordable House: Top Tips for ideas on how to get the most out of your own home purchase, with the minimum amount of compromise.