Opendoor Report: Journey of a New Build Buyer

March 3, 2022 — Written by Alex Toth

Building a home from the ground up is a dream for many Americans, empowering them with the freedom to customize a property that perfectly fits their family, lifestyle, and individual needs. And with aspiring homeowners facing bidding wars, nightmare closing schedules, and competitive housing markets across the country, opting for a new construction home can be a very appealing route. While homebuilders were met with their own challenges in 2021, data shows that consumer demand for new-build homes continues to increase. That was the case for Jen Joy of Florida and her family, who began their home search a few months ago. While Jen didn’t set out to buy a new construction home, once all of her options were laid on the table, the decision was a no brainer. 

Learn more about Jen’s story as we guide you through this Opendoor 2022 Homebuilder Report: The Journey of a New Build Buyer. For this report, we heard from homebuyers nationwide who were interested in buying a home or entering into contract for a new construction home within the next 12 months. The journey reveals what’s driving current buyer interest in new construction builds, what matters most to them throughout their journey, and how they’re making their new build dreams come true.

The start of their journey

New build buyers typically develop a strong interest in new construction right off the bat, with 37% saying their interest was piqued before they started looking for a new home, and 38% while browsing online or driving around. Of the 82% of new build buyers we surveyed who are current homeowners, almost one-third are serial new build buyers—currently living in a home that they purchased as new construction. 

When asked the question of why buyers were looking to purchase a new build, the top three answers were: 1) the ability to customize, 2) new builds will likely have fewer problems, and 3) that they’re more energy efficient. Many also like that the home will be new, with higher-end, modern appliances and features. A substantial number of buyers expect finding a new construction home will be easier than buying a previously owned home.

As buyers look for new construction builds, many also consider potential roadblocks, such as unexpected delays with building supplies and contractor availability. Fortunately, Opendoor’s homebuilder program allows for buyers to remain in their current home for up to nine months while their new construction is being built. This service provides homebuyers flexibility and a piece of mind knowing that they have options for their move. 

Trust is key…in finding the right homebuilder

When it comes time to decide on a builder, 70% say trust is extremely important, and approximately two-thirds look for excellent craftsmanship and a builder that is easy to work with. More than half of buyers prioritize good communication and sticking to a schedule. Lastly, innovation in a builder is also a key decider when buyers are looking for a new build (83%).

You can’t always get what you want! Or can you?

Early on in their journey, almost three-quarters (73%) of new build buyers say the first thing they do is identifying overall needs and wants for their next home. What’s top of the list? The standout features that were deemed very important include a beautiful kitchen (89%), energy efficient features (88%), a safe and clean neighborhood (86%), and the right layout (84%). 

New build buyers also rank nice landscaping (78%), a luxurious main bath (77%), premium finishes (76%), and an eat-in kitchen (71%) as important to them when customizing their home. Smart home features pique the interest of two-thirds of buyers, while parks and pools are a lower priority.

Navigating two transactions is tricky

We know that two-thirds of sellers are also buyers and our survey similarly found that more than two-thirds (69%) of new build buyers are also looking to sell. And about two-thirds (67%) are concerned about lining up the sale of their existing home with the move-in timing of a new construction home.

Yet, our survey revealed that figuring out how to sell their current home is often one of the last tasks new build buyers complete. Why? It could be because selling your home the traditional way can be daunting, complex, and time-consuming. 

That’s a concern Jen Joy had when she began her home search, in addition to her desire to live in a safer neighborhood. As her family began the search, they stumbled upon a picture perfect neighborhood with a model house by one of Opendoor’s homebuilder partners. Opendoor partners with leading homebuilders around the country providing a seamless and convenient way to sell your current home and line-up the closing date with your new build construction. 

Jen was able to get a competitive cash offer and sell directly to Opendoor, so they skipped the hassles of listing their home and managing repairs and showings. Plus, they were able to line-up their closing dates with their new build move-in date, eliminating the need for double moves or mortgages. 

“We had no idea what the process of building a new home and simultaneously selling ours would be like, but I’m sure glad we did it.” said Jen. “The entire process and customer service from both the homebuilder and Opendoor was so seamless and pleasant that my father ended up doing the exact same thing a few months later! It worked out perfectly.” 

As a new build buyer’s journey comes to a close, we found that 92% of them said they would be interested in selling to Opendoor after learning more about how we help homeowners buy and sell with ease. Learn more about how we partner with homebuilders to provide more convenience and certainty at every step. 

Alex Toth is a General Manager of Opendoor Homebuilder

Methodology
The Opendoor Survey was conducted online by OpinionRoute among a nationally representative sample of 489 US homebuyers ages 25-78 who are likely to enter into contract on a new construction home in the next 12 months. The survey also included a nationally representative comparison sample of 262 homebuyers unlikely to enter into contract on a new construction home in the next 12 months.