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First-Time Homeowners Experience Lack of Confidence in Homebuying

Hippo, a home insurance group harnessing real-time data, smart home technology, and a growing suite of home services, announced new findings from its 2021 Homeownership Report. The survey of U.S. homeowners explored how confident homeowners are, and feel, about managing their homes. Findings show that while more than half of homebuyers felt prepared before purchasing their home, 1 in 4 individuals found themselves less prepared and more ill-equipped than expected.  

“Homeownership is an incredible first step into a new life chapter, but first-time buyers often don't take into consideration what's beyond the paperwork and moving process,” said Hippo President Rick McCathron. 

The national survey of more than 1,000 homeowners found that first-time homeowners experience a significant lack of preparedness after purchasing their home. Findings also revealed insights into the emotions and obstacles that new homeowners faced over the past year, including many who rushed into homebuying to benefit from historically low interest rates due to the pandemic. Some 87% of respondents agreed that the pandemic hastened their decision to purchase a home, and 67% of those individuals paid over the asking price of their home. Home sales between July 2020 and June 2021 spent a median of only one week on the market before going under contract. 

A new set of factors are now influencing homebuying, as the housing market continues to surge for people of all ages. Those single and with partners, are now purchasing homes with a different set of standards. According to statistics reported by The the National Association of Realtors: 

  • 8% of new homebuyers were single women.  
  • Women were 300% more likely than average to enter the market by purchasing a condo. 
  • As competition increased, new buyers fronted more cash, as 36% made a down payment greater than 20%.  
  • Married respondents were 31% more likely than single individuals to make a higher down payment in cash. 
  • First-time owners were 318% more likely than existing homeowners to say that climate change considerations factored into their homebuying decision. 

“The past two years have been a pivotal time for homeownership as homes became a central place for much of our daily lives, and we're eager to learn how homeowners are dealing with the changes,” said McCathron. 

New buyers have recognized the importance of home maintenance as well, but many are aware they don’t have the proper knowledge needed to combat unexpected costs. As homebuyers dove in headfirst, many faced unexpected repairs and inconveniences in their first year of homeownership. 

  • 77% experienced an issue that needed repair within the first year of owning their home. 
  • 53% reported repair costs between $1,000 and $5,000
  • 13% had repairs over $5,000 
  • 34% had repairs under $1,000  

Even with unexpected issues, 86% of new homeowners don’t regret their purchase, while almost all of them are happy with their purchase and the lifestyle it has created for them. 

“We will continue to learn from customer feedback and track homeowner trends to better partner with homeowners on their journey to bring joy into their homes,” said McCathron. 

About Author: Demetria Lester

Demetria C. Lester is a reporter for DS News and MReport, with more than six years of writing experience. She has served as Editor-in-Chief at Northlake College and staff writer at her alma mater, the University of Texas at Arlington. She has covered events such as the Byron Nelson, Pac-12 Conferences, the Women in Dallas Film Festival, to freelance work with the Dallas Wings and D Magazine. Currently located in Dallas, Texas, she is an avid jazz lover and reader. She can be reached at [email protected]

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