Tag Archives: home owners

Study: Homebuyers Want Green (and they can now define the term)

House made of leaves with light bulb in front

In a Jimmy Kimmel Live segment, a faux reporter went out to the enlightened streets of Los Angeles to research the views on eating gluten. Not surprisingly, most people interviewed rejected gluten in their diets for health reasons. The problem is that almost half had no idea what gluten even was!

That’s the power of trends.

Is going Green another one of those trends with a nebulous interpretation? Another one of those goody-goodness movements that most cannot define?

There is good news on one front. When it comes to homebuyers and what they consider Green, the definition is getting clearer—as reported in a piece by the National Association of Home Builders. It is based on a recent study by the NAHB’s publishing arm, BuilderBooks: What Green Means to Home Buyers: Perceptions and Preferences. The research focused on consumer preferences primarily on Green features in the home and the surrounding community.

Beyond understanding how homebuyers regard the term “Green,” NAHB Chairman Tom Woods explained:

This new study is an incredibly useful tool to help builders and remodelers determine not only consumer attitudes towards green homes, but also which green features consumers care most about. We have seen incredible growth in green and sustainable building over the years, and the results of this survey only further solidify the continued consumer interest in green building, and which attributes matter most these buyers.

According to homebuyers in the study, these words constitute Green homes:

 32%: Efficient, Energy Efficient, Water Efficient, High Efficiency
15%: Eco-friendly, Environmentally-friendly, Environmentally-responsible, Environmentally-safe, Environmentally-conscious
8%: Solar, Solar Power, Solar Energy, Solar Panels
4%: Lower Costs, Lower Utility Bills, Saves Money

Furthermore, when considering purchasing a home, energy efficiency (88%) was a main influencing factor, only behind being located in a safe community (90%).

These findings are not that surprising, and are key for market researchers attempting to understand homebuyers and homeowner trends. After all, our research reveals that environmentally-conscious purchasing is growing. This includes the booming solar industry. The U.S. has even surpassed Germany as the world’s leading producer of solar power.

If you’re curious about who is leading the clean pack, these states and their solar usage might not surprise you:

1. California – 2621 megawatts/year
2. Arizona – 421 megawatts/year
3. North Carolina – 335 megawatts/year
4. Massachusetts – 223 megawatts/year

These four states are but part of apparent and nationwide trend, as demonstrated in these charts:

solar industry graphs

In our study, Why Consumers Buy Green, qSample found that 64% of consumers are concerned with the environment, while 76% consider the environment when making shopping decisions (you can download it at the end of this article). The reasons, when qualifying the data, are based on the Generalized Exchange Model. It hypothesizes that four variables play a role in determining attitudes or propensity to perform behaviors:

Feeling of social responsibility
Feelings of social equity
Perceived effectiveness of the behavior (performance)
Benefits to the community

Simply put: Buying Green feels good because it makes others feel good (and it looks good as we partake in that goody-goodness!).

Furthermore, going Green with homes is becoming a nationwide inclination, according to GreenHomeBuilder:

Affordable green homes: No longer is “green” synonymous with “elite.” As green features become more in demand and more commonplace, builders and designers are starting to incorporate them even into moderately priced homes. Expect this trend to continue in 2015 and beyond. Look out especially for growth in the number of modular, pre-designed green and energy efficient homes, as well as green energy retrofits of existing homes.

With homebuyers (as well as homeowners), the NAHB report states that a safe and Green community is important when it comes to living standards. Considering the national trend, the study’s percentages numbers will likely continue to grow. It certainly has blossomed (pardon the pun) when it comes to baby boomers, as presented in our infographic based on primary research:

infographic on why consumers buy green

 

All this data will certainly affect qSample’s future management and vetting of our more than 100k general contractor and homeowner panels—as well as future case studies and white papers.

If we want to find out about gluten, though, we’ll have to go somewhere else…

 

what makes consumers buy green products graphic

 

Download this infographic.

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Top 5 Home Improvement Projects for the Summer

Summer is an excellent time to start looking at areas of your home that might need some remodeling. With cold winters and wet springs, a house can endure a lot of seasonal stressors.

Wind, snow, ice and rain all take their toll, which makes summer a great time to assess what damage has been done. Though hot and humid, there tends to be less adverse weather in the summer months. This removes certain complications that could come with winter construction projects, such as dealing with ice and materials that expand due to shifts in temperature and sunlight exposure. While there could be any number of structural issues that require attention around the house, here are five renovation ideas to consider this summer:

Home Improvement Projects Infographic

1. Clean, Repair or Replace the Gutters
A simple yet important task to consider this summer is examining the condition of gutters. After a year of seasonal changes, summer is an optimal time to schedule an inspection.

Strange leaks, water splashing out during rainstorms and standing water are all signs the gutters are going to need repair or even replacement. You should also consider the possibility of installing self-cleaning gutters to help sustain their longevity throughout the years.

2. Install New Siding
Although the freezing rain and wind have passed, their effects can still resonate in your home’s siding. The first step is deciding whether or not the current siding materials are helping the homeowner conserve energy. Next, schedule a professional inspection of the siding to identify any current or potential problems.

If the material covering the house is vinyl, it’s very likely a large portion of the siding will have to be replaced if there’s been any damage from previous months. This is because vinyl cannot be repaired.

If you need to replace your vinyl siding, consider experimenting with modern alternatives. For example, fiber cement siding is stronger than vinyl and is more prepared withstand the stresses of winter.

3. Repair and Seal Decks and Porches
Summer is a great time to enjoy sitting on the porch or deck, but before you get too comfortable, make sure these outdoor areas survived the winter. During colder months, water can seep into the cracks of concrete and freeze, pushing the material out and causing cracks. Frigid temperatures are also tough on wood decks, and in areas that experience snow, it’s sometimes hard to keep the wood healthy and in optimal condition.

Repairing these areas and sealing cracks can help ensure they last through another winter. If you hire the right contractor to handle the job, your deck could possibly be just about as strong and visually attractive as when it was new.

4. Install Energy-Efficient Windows
During the past several years, there’s developed a growing interest in ways to keep temperatures low without the need for constant air conditioning. This helps the environment and saves money at the same time.

Fiberglass and vinyl offer great energy-efficiency compared to wood, and they don’t require as much upkeep. Looking into how different types of glass may be able to improve the functionality of existing windows is also a great idea.

5. Metal Roofing
If it fits the budget, installing a metal roof is one of the smartest decisions a homeowner can make. It can easily increase the property’s value and reduce power cost. Metal roofs also last longer than asphalt shingles—and with less maintenance. The color and texture is entirely customizable, making metal a versatile roofing material.

Metal roofs are particularly effective at keeping the home interior cool during warmer months. They reflect sunlight away from the house, an advantage that can be enhanced by special coatings and finishes. Quality metal roofs also withstand snow, rain and even hail much better than traditional asphalt shingles, making them a practical choice to prepare a home for adverse weather.

Summer is not only a great time to enjoy the outdoors, but it’s also an opportunity to improve the condition of a building and even make it more energy efficient. By taking the time to inspect the different areas of your home, and taking action to make repairs or replacements as necessary, you can help maintain your property’s value, as well as its structural integrity, no matter what Mother Nature throws at it.

About the Author
Paul Kazlov is a “green” home remodeling enthusiast and an industry pioneer for innovation in home renovation. Paul is a guest blogger for qSample and also writes for the Global Home ImprovementHe strives to educate people about “green” products such as metal roofing and solar.

Who Are Today’s First-Time Homebuyers?

First-time homebuyers make up about 40 percent of the current market; in 2010 this number was as high as 50 percent.

On average, the median age for a first-time homebuyer in the U.S. has ranged between 30 and 32 over the last 30 years, according to statistics from the National Realty Association. As more millennials (those between the ages of 18 and 34) are reaching this age, housing experts have noted that many of them are postponing their entrance into the housing market.

Millennials are choosing to rent, or live at home with their parents longer than the generation before them. The slow pace of economic recovery along with tightened credit and the staggering amount of outstanding student debt – approaching $1 trillion – is packing a punch on the millennial generation.

With tightened credit, many defaulting young borrowers are no longer able to qualify for loans, especially mortgages. In 2005, nearly nine percent of 25- to 30-year-olds with student debt were granted a mortgage. But last year, that percentage dropped to slightly above four percent, according to a FRBNY report.

According to a recent real estate study by Truilia, more than 50 percent of millennials are asking their parents and/or grandparents for help with meeting guidelines for a mortgage loan. Approximately 37 percent said they would get a second job to afford a home and 22 percent would consider a government-sponsored program.

Historically, government programs like loans back by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) have been popular with homebuyers who did not have the typical 20 percent down payment. However, news of rising fees has made some young borrowers leery about going this route. Many factors could be at play for this recent trend: result of a shortage of homes for sale inventory, home prices rising, slower levels of overall real estate value appreciation (thus not supporting the higher prices), rising interest rates, high levels of student loan debt, and (perhaps the biggest factor) historically lower overall employment for 25-34 year olds.

When the millennials are ready to purchase a home, many are surpassing the typical “starter home” and are settling on homes that are priced above average than what the average first-time buyers before them were purchasing.

First time home owners

The typical first-time homebuyers today aren’t what they were 40 years ago. They are no longer newly married couples moving out to the suburbs to raise a family.  Today, single women make up a large percentage of first-time buyers, as do gay couples and the always-connected mobile professional.  The new generation of first-time homeowners is incredibly tech savvy and often they want their home to reflect this.

Millennials want smart homes instead of luxury homes. New generation home buyers would like their homes equipped with the technological capabilities they have grown accustomed to. Some even go so far as to install home automation systems. With one tap on a touch screen, the owner of that home could remotely lock/unlock doors to let in their kids from school, automatically turn on the A/C or heat before they leave work, or monitor the family dog via webcam smaller. They are choosing function over curb appeal.

Today’s first time homebuyers are also choosing to go green inside their homes. Studies show millennials are willing to spend a little more money on eco-friendly appliances and high-energy efficient heating and cooling systems than previous first-time buyers. They want a home with a smaller carbon footprint and they are willing to take the necessary steps to be able to achieve this.

 

qSample offers many great panels for data collection and analysis. In addition to the Homeowner Panel, qSample cultivates other high-quality specialty panels. Those panels include: Mobile Users, Gamers, Voters, Contractors, Students, Baby Boomers, Veterinarians, and Pet Owners.