BAM Key Details:

  • A new RE/MAX report shows nearly 80% of prospective homeowners are willing to get creative and make adjustments to their homebuying plans to achieve homeownership in 2024. 
  • Those adjustments involve more affordable or cost-saving options such as fixer-uppers, multifamily properties, sub-20% down payments, buying homes with longer work commutes, and co-purchasing with or borrowing from friends and/or family 

According to a new RE/MAX report, nearly 8 in 10 prospective homeowners are willing to make adjustments to their homebuying plans to achieve homeownership this year. 

Some of those adjustments mentioned in the study include—

  • Buying a fixer-upper
  • Buying a home with a friend or family member
  • Borrowing from friends and/or family members
  • Putting less than 20% down
  • Buying a multifamily home
  • Buying a home with a longer work commute
  • Buying a tiny or prefabricated home
  • Making an all-cash purchase

And it’s important to note, that more than 9 in 10 respondents were either “somewhat likely” or “very likely” to discuss alternative options with a real estate agent. This shows that people want the knowledge broker—someone who can educate them on all options available. 

Not surprisingly, low affordability is the main reason behind the increase in prospective buyers’ readiness to get creative to clear the hurdles between them and homeownership before the end of 2024.  

RE/MAX’s survey factored in responses from 1,000 individual U.S. residents. 

Affordability remains a key concern for homebuyers as home prices, interest rates, and inventory continue to fluctuate. Despite today’s economic environment, it’s clear that homeownership is still a priority for many, and the results of our survey prove that buyers are willing to go outside their comfort zone to reach their goal.

Nick Bailey

President and CEO of RE/MAX, LLC

Market conditions have made affordability priority #1

Spend enough time shopping for homes in a difficult housing market—with rising home prices, low inventory, and fluctuating mortgage rates—and your list of must-haves tends to shrink, especially if you’re determined to buy a home within the next 12 months. 

According to the RE/MAX study, 43% of respondents are open to considering adjustments to their home buying plans that involve both—

  • Property type: including multifamily, tiny homes, and fixer-uppers
  • Financing options: including sub-20% down payments, purchasing with a friend/family member, borrowing from friends/family members, or making an all-cash purchase

Read on to learn more about specific adjustments prospective homebuyers are willing to make this year to get into a home of their own. 

Multifamily

Over a quarter of consumers say they’re open to buying a multifamily home, defined as a property occupied by the homeowner, with separate units rented by non-owner tenants. 

Over half of these are willing to buy a condo, attached home, or townhome to reduce potential maintenance costs. 

Among the 29% of respondents who say they were willing to purchase a multifamily home:

  • 61% want to purchase an investment property
  • 50% are willing to buy a multifamily property to split the mortgage payment
  • 47% want to live in the same multifamily home as family and/or friends without having to share living space

Fixer-upper

Of the 56% of respondents saying they would consider buying a fixer-upper property in need of remodeling (either cosmetic or structural), 73% of those say they would do so to get a home at a lower listing price. 

Homebuyers considering fixer-uppers also want a home they can make into something uniquely theirs. Almost 70% want a home that essentially gives them a “clean slate” to work with. 

  • 28% are willing to pay $30K–$50K for home repairs and renovations
  • 10% would spend upwards of $90K
  • A majority want to keep home repair/renovation costs under $70K—with 23% saying $50K to $70K is their limit and 25% saying $10K to $30K is their “sweet spot.”

Buying a tiny or prefabricated home

About two in five (39%) respondents in the RE/MAX survey are open to buying a tiny home or a prefabricated home. 

Respondents willing to consider a tiny home pointed to the following benefits:

  • 82% would purchase a tiny home for its relative affordability
  • 58% want to reduce home maintenance costs
  • 23% say they prefer tiny homes to other housing options

Also, more than 8 in 10 respondents (84%) would choose a prefabricated home due to its more affordable price point, and 31% pointed to the lack of other housing options in their market. 

Purchasing with friends and/or family

More than a quarter (27.7%) of the prospective homebuyers responding to the survey are open to buying a home with a friend or family member, and 78% of those would do this to share the cost of buying a home. 

Almost 7 in 10 (69%) would consider jointly buying a home with a friend or family member to get a better home than they could afford on their own. 

Respondents open to this arrangement were most amenable to purchasing a home with their— 

  • Non-married partner/significant other (38%)
  • Parent (19%)
  • Sibling (17%)

Borrowing from friends and/or family

When buying a home together isn’t an option, borrowing from a friend or family member may still be on the table. 

Of the 17% saying they would borrow money from family or friends to help them with a home purchase, 52% are most likely to borrow money from their parents, followed by— 

  • Friends (15%)
  • Non-married partner/significant other (11%)
  • Siblings (11%)

Almost 3 in 10 (29%) are open to borrowing $10K to $20K from family or friends, while 28% would accept a loan of $5K to $10K. Almost 1 in 5 (19%) say they would ask for $30K or more. 

Putting down less than 20%

Slightly more than a third of respondents (34%) would consider making a down payment of less than 20%. As for why, more than 75% say that’s what they can reasonably afford. Half would make a down payment of 10% or less. 

The “super commute”

Thirteen percent of respondents say they’d consider buying a home that was located two-plus hours away from their workplace if it was more affordable than housing options closer to work. 

The report didn’t mention how many of these “super commuters” had the option of working remotely at least part-time. 

Paying in cash

Only 21% of respondents indicated they were willing (or able) to make an all-cash purchase. But those that did pointed to high mortgage rates as the main reason: 

  • 62% would do so to avoid the added cost from high mortgage rates
  • 57% don’t want to go through the process of applying for a mortgage
  • 50% say they can comfortably afford to make an all-cash home purchase
  • 22% believe it will give them an edge when competing with other buyers for available homes in their chosen area

Read the full report for additional results and more information.