A quarter of prospective first-time homebuyers said they expect to purchase a home in the next two years, according to Bank of America's second Homebuyer Insights Report. To prepare for the purchase, 61 percent say they are paying off their current debt, 47 percent are working to improve their credit score and 45 percent are saving money to put toward their home purchase.
First-time and experienced homebuyers differed slightly in what they look for in a home, the survey found. More than half of first-time buyers said they preferred a home that they could make changes to, whether minor cosmetic changes or major renovations. Experienced buyers were more likely to seek move-in ready homes that would require no improvements.
When asked to define homeownership, nearly half of first-time buyers said they associated it with responsibility. Current homeowners, on the other hand, associated homeownership most strongly with financial investment; 70 percent reported spending their free time working on their homes, and 82 percent said they look for ways to make their homes more valuable.
The survey also noted that an increasing number of millennials are understanding the value of homeownership. Seventy-nine percent of millennial homeowners (those ages 18 to 34) agreed that buying a home would have a positive impact on their long-term financial life, and 86 percent said they view owning a home as a more affordable option than renting. The majority of millennial homeowners—68 percent—said they view their current home as a stepping stone toward the home they want to end up in.