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Field Guide to Working With Single Home Buyers

(Updated December 2013)

The real estate market in the United States is comprised of a great diversity of buyers, each with unique needs and concerns. Understanding how to best serve these unique needs will assist you establishing an outstanding service and reputation for your real estate business. Single home buyers represent a sizeable portion of home buyers in the current residential real estate market, and are an audience worth knowing and understanding. This Updated Field Guide will help you to learn about the needs, concerns, and buying behaviors of single home buyers. (K. Stockert, Information & Web Content Specialist)


Featured Information Area

According to the 2013 NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers:

• First time buyers are more likely to be single females
• Single female buyers made up 16% of 2012 home buyers
• Single male buyers made up 9% of 2012 home buyers


Single Home Buyer Statistics

As noted from bullet points above, single home buyers comprised 30% of home purchases in 2012. Single female buyers averaged 48 in age (35 for first-time buyers and 55 for repeat buyers), and single male buyers averaged 46 in age (29 for first-time buyers and 55 for repeat buyers) (Ex. 1-13).

For more statistics on single home buyers, including reasons for purchasing a home, average income, desired type of home and neighborhood, see the National Association of REALTORS® 2012 NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers.

Single Women Outpace Unmarried Men in Homeownership! (MadameNoire, Dec. 4, 2013).

Single and First-time Buyers Stifled by Lending Standards, (Ocean City Today, Nov. 15, 2013).

NAR: Tight Credit Barring Singles, First-Times from Homeownership, (MoneyNews, Nov. 5, 2013).

Single Women Take Up Large Share of Home Buyers, Study Says, (Southern Daily Press, Sept. 4, 2013).

Profile Types of Home Buyers, (NAR Research, Nov. 2013).

Single Women Buy More Homes than Single Men, (Originator Times, Aug. 20, 2013).

Five Reasons Single Women are Buying Homes at Twice the Rate of Single Men, (Dame Magazine, June 2013).

10 Best Cities for the Young, Broke and Single, (REALTOR® Magazine, June 2013).

Lending Standards, Rising Rents Box in Single Buyers, (UPI.com, Feb. 19, 2013).

NAR Survey of Home Buyers and Sellers Shows Dual Income Couples Fueling Market, (NAR News Release, Nov. 10, 2012).

NAR: Fewer Single Buyers Make Up the Housing Market, (Realty Biz News, Nov. 19, 2012).

Profile of Single Male Home Buyers, (NAR Economists' Outlook, Apr. 1, 2011).

Profile of Single Female Buyers, (NAR Economists' Outlook, Mar. 28, 2011).


Single Home Buyer Tastes

Those grouped in the category of "single home buyers" exhibit a great diversity of tastes and requirements. Understanding some key home requirements for the varied needs within this group will assist you in matching your single home buyer clients with their ideal property.

Home Owners More Attractive than Renters, Singles Say, (REALTOR® Magazine, Feb. 14, 2012).

7 Best Cities for Wealthy Singles, (REALTOR® Magazine, Aug. 27, 2012).

Broke and Single: Why it Pays to Be Married*, (The Fiscal Times, Sept. 13, 2012).

*Editor’s Note: the title is slightly misleading: this article includes some great facts about singles and their buying behaviors.

Neighborhood Choice, (Economists’ Outlook, Dec. 4, 2012).

According to Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Statistics State of the Nation’s Housing report, published in 2012, “Homeownership rates for non-family households, which include a substantial share of single persons, have also change relatively little [from the mid-2000s], (p. 18).” To view the full report, click here.


Marketing to Single Buyers

Marketing experts will tell you there are some rule-of-thumb Dos and Don'ts when marketing to singles. The articles below offer some ideas to help you walk the walk and talk the talk of single buyers.

As Single Becomes New Norm, How to Market Without Stigma, (Advertising Age, Oct 11, 2010). Q

'Urban' Trope Misses a Large Swath of Black Consumers, (Advertising Age, Oct 11, 2010). Q

Segmenting Singles, (Best's Review, June 2010). Q

The Power of One, (Adweek, Apr. 19, 2010). Q


Research on Your Own

To search for the most recent articles on single home buyers, login to NAR's ProQuest account and enter subject terms such as:

Information Savvy!

Many websites, such as Wikipedia, can be great resources to quickly get oriented on a subject before conducting more in depth research. However, anyone in the world can create and maintain a website or write a seemingly legitimate article and may, intentionally or unintentionally, publish false or "misinformation." When reviewing information on the Internet, you should always consider the ABC's:

  • Accuracy. Is the information accurate? Can you confirm the same information using other resources published by a different author or organization?
  • Author. Who composed the information? Can you easily identify the author and contact the author or website publisher?
  • Bias. What bias might the author or author organization have?
  • Credibility. What is the author’s or author organization’s credentials for publishing the information? What expertise, experience, or education does the author have in this area that makes him or her qualified to write on the subject matter?
  • Currency. When was the web page last updated? Is it possible the information might have changed since this web page was last published?
  • Critical eye. Remember to always use your discretion and critical eye to determine whether information you find on the web (or even in books and news sources!) is trustworthy. Putting websites to the ABC test will get you started in developing a strong critical eye.

eBooks & Other Resources

eBooks.realtor.org

The following eBooks and digital audiobooks are available to NAR members:

Kiplinger’s Money Smart Women (OverDrive Audiobook)

Buying a Home When You're Single (Adobe eReader)

Financing Your Condo, Co-Op, or Townhouse (Adobe eReader)

Home Buyer's Checklist: Everything You Need to Know—But Forget to Ask—Before You Buy a Home (Adobe eReader)

Field Guides & More

These field guides and other resources in the Virtual Library may also be of interest:

Field Guide to Buying vs. Renting

Field Guide to Due Diligence for Home Buyers

Field Guide to Women Homebuyers

Field Guide to Working with 1st-Time Homebuyers

InfoCentral Blog


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The inclusion of links on this field guide does not imply endorsement by the National Association of REALTORS®. NAR makes no representations about whether the content of any external sites which may be linked in this field guide complies with state or federal laws or regulations or with applicable NAR policies. These links are provided for your convenience only and you rely on them at your own risk.