Report Unveils Trends Among First-Time Homebuyers

First-Time Homebuyers

A survey conducted by TD Bank has found that a majority of Millennial homebuyers plan to purchase a home within the next two years.

By Drew Knight

The market for first-time homebuyers is ever changing, as are the wants and needs in the homes they’re shopping for.

And the same goes for the economy. As the economy shifts, the buying process shifts as well, affecting the homes first-time homebuyers can afford and the locations where they can buy them.

TD Bank, a banking service based on the East Coast, recently hosted a study evaluating more than 1,000 Americans looking to purchase a first home within the next five years, what kind of homes they’re shopping for and the factors affecting their decisions to buy.

The findings? Millennials are a bit more conservative with their finances than some might believe, as nearly two-thirds of those surveyed said they are still saving up to purchase their home. The survey also found that 63 percent of Millennials are considering a purchase within the next two years.

Here are a few more highlights:

Millennials Know Their Priorities

The key preferences survey participants mentioned include:

Move-in-ready homes: 75 percent of those looking to purchase their first home are interested in move-in ready homes.

Suburban life: 43 percent are looking to purchase their first home in a suburban area, while only 20 percent are seeking out big city or metro areas.

Childcare: 57 percent of Millennial homebuyers indicated a close proximity to childcare was important.

Backyard or pool: 60 percent of respondents are most interested in their first home having a backyard or pool.

Going green: 48 percent are looking for smart home and energy-efficient technologies.

Mortgage Rates are Heavily Influential

Among all of those surveyed, 77 percent cited mortgage rates as the most important factor when purchasing a home.

The survey also found that 17 percent of first-time buyers have yet to set aside money for unexpected home costs, which sometimes appear during the mortgage process.

“The costs of running a household can be a shock to new homeowners,” says Scott Haymore, head of pricing and secondary markets at TD Bank. “Monthly expenses for utilities, homeowner’s association fees and cable and Internet can add up quickly. Factoring these in at the beginning of the mortgage process can help borrowers assess their overall budget and determine a realistic monthly mortgage payment.”

The Down Payment is a Major Hurdle

The down payment might even be more influential.

In fact, 74 percent of those surveyed listed the down payment as the most significant obstacle in achieving homeownership. At the same time, 65 percent of all consumers indicated that saving for a down payment is delaying their decision to buy a new home.

The survey found that more Americans (about 33 percent) are putting less than 20 percent down on a home and 37 percent of first-time buyers plan to take advantage of mortgage affordability programs.

“For many consumers, a 20 percent down payment is a major barrier to homeownership,” Haymore says. “It’s often difficult to save this much cash, especially for young adults saddled with substantial student loan debt. First-time buyers are shopping for low-down-payment mortgage programs, which allow buyers to put as little as 3 percent down.”

Additional highlights from TD Bank’s second annual First-Time Homebuyer Pulse are available at


Drew Knight is a digital content associate for New Home Source.

Posted in Buying a New Home | 2 Comments

Gadget of the Month: FLARE Smart Security System

FLARE Security System

BuddyGuard’s FLARE smart security system uses high-tech sensors to distinguish the homeowner from invaders.

By Amy Olivarez

No matter what neighborhood you live in, your family’s safety is a priority. With the current growth of smart home technology, why not apply it to keeping your home — and family — safe?

If you have a security system or know someone who does, then you must be all too familiar with the rush to disarm the system as soon as you get inside your home. This new smart home security system, FLARE, takes away that daily dramatic step, but gives peace of mind that your home is safe and sound.

A Smarter Security System

The FLARE smart security system by BuddyGuard is built with a 1080p HD camera and microphone, enabling it with face and voice recognition technology, which allows the system to immediately recognize the homeowners, as well as know when to react to intruders.

When an intruder is detected, FLARE responds with a siren and noises to sound as if someone is home. The system will alert the homeowners of any suspicious activity in the house, like if someone tampers with the device. If the owners don’t respond, an alert is sent to an emergency contact; if they don’t respond, then local authorities are notified. This three-phase alert system prevents any embarrassing false alarms with authorities, as well as ensures an alert to emergency contacts in the case of an intrusion.

The 4.3-inch, disk-shaped device is meant to be placed near the main entrance of the home. With its high-tech camera, it records and saves images of entrances on an online database.

Flare is currently available in Europe, but will be released worldwide in November. The security system is estimated to cost around $349.

If you’re looking for a way to make your home safer, FLARE is an easy investment to do just that.

Amy Olivarez is a digital content intern for New Home Source.

Posted in Buying a New Home, Gadget of the Month, Home Entertainment & Automation | Tagged | 1 Comment

The Latest Outdoor Living Trends: Functional and Efficient

outdoor living trends

The Entertainer model at Maracay Homes’ Victory at Verrado, an active-adult community in Buckeye, Ariz. This floor plan features a breezeway connected by stackable glass doors to create a true indoor/outdoor living arrangement.

By Amy Olivarez

After a long day, do you love to lounge around your patio or backyard? The latest outdoor living trends do just that, with a focus on functionality and efficiency.

According to Elise Goodell, marketing manager for Maracay Homes, current outdoor living trends include designing harmony in indoor/outdoor living spaces, utilizing natural landscaping and functional pool features.

“We will continue to see an upward trend in functional outdoor spaces, from larger open areas with plenty of comfortable seating to grand kitchen areas featuring elaborate cooking islands, sinks, refrigerators and even brick ovens,” says Goodell.

Harmony Inside and Out

Since more homes are being designed to bring harmony to the interior and exterior of a home, homebuyers are using their outdoor spaces more than ever before.

“Buyers want the outdoor space to be an extension of their home, offering the same privacy, comfort and functionality of the home’s interior,” says Goodell. “For starters, they want welcoming front porches and large backyards with covered patios for relaxing with friends and family. But they also want the amenities to go along with the space, including cozy furniture, high-end appliances, fire bowls and plenty of light.”

Goodell says that Maracay Homes has also seen a trend in side, interior patios and courtyards. These spaces offer privacy, as well as a space for the family to enjoy the outdoors.

Native Landscaping

Along with integrating harmony between the interior and exterior spaces, utilizing natural plant life in landscaping is also a major trend in outdoor spaces.

Using plants native to the land complements the charm of the natural environment, while at the same time preserving natural resources.

“We’re seeing a decline in traditional lawns and a rise in drought-tolerant and native plant arrangements, not only for sustainable reasons but also for the low-maintenance aspect,” says Goodell. “These days, more and more people are interested in protecting the environment. And families that are busy with both parents working often don’t have time to take care of a lawn.”

Functional Pool Features

Another outdoor trend is swimming pools, but with more functionality in the design of the pool and its accompanying features.

“Raised pool decks have become popular for buyers looking to add seating,” says Goodell. “Swim-up bars that connect to an outdoor kitchen/bar area, tile decks and glass tile decorative walls, fountains and layered pool sections with horizon overflows and knife edges also are popular choices.”

If you often escape to nature when life gets too hectic, dive in to your very own outdoor space.

Amy Olivarez is a digital content intern for New Home Source.

Posted in Home Decor/Furniture, Landscaping, New Home Design | Tagged | Comments Off on The Latest Outdoor Living Trends: Functional and Efficient

Texas 4000 Riders Bike to Help Fight Cancer

Texas 4000 Riders Bike More Than 4,000 Miles to Help Fight Cancer

Rows of bikes fill the Builder Homesite Inc. facilities on Friday, June 3, as Texas 4000 riders prepare for the 70-day ride from Austin to Anchorage, Alaska, to help raise awareness and money for cancer research.

By Amy Olivarez

Each year, they gather in the heat of the summer, bicycling more than 4,000 miles through parts of the Mojave Desert, the Rocky Mountains and the Ozarks.

They make this harrowing journey to spread awareness and hope and to raise contributions for cancer research. They are the Texas 4000 riders.

This summer, the Texas 4000 cyclists — all students from the University of Texas at Austin (UT) — go on the 70-day journey for the 12th year from Austin, Texas, to Anchorage, Alaska. This year, their goal is to raise $825,000. As of day 48, when they stopped in Longview, Wash., they have raised $557,007.

The Texas 4000 ride is not only important to the Austin community and the nation, but also to Builder Homesite Inc. (BHI). Employees of BHI, New Home Source’s parent company, have been involved with the organization for several years. That led to the company becoming a sponsor of the annual ride.

Texas 4000 2016

According to, the organization was started by University of Texas engineering students, Chris and Mandy Condit, in 2004. Chris is a cancer survivor himself, diagnosed at age 11 with Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Texas 4000 is Chris’s way of continuing the fight against cancer and helping others. The non-profit organization has become the longest annual charity bike in the world, raising more than $7 million in contributions for cancer research.

Every year, a select group of UT students are chosen to participate in the Texas 4000 ride. The chosen riders often have one thing in common: not cycling experience, but a passion to fight cancer. This passion often comes from family or friends being affected by the illness, or sometimes through surviving cancer themselves.

BHI and Texas 4000

Over the past several years, BHI has become more involved with Texas 400 because it complemented two of the company’s core values: philanthropy and wellness.

BHI Senior Vice President Melissa Morman has been involved with the organization for a few years and ultimately joined the Texas 4000 board of directors. Morman says BHI’s involvement with the group is a great way to expose employees to the world of philanthropy and the importance of giving back.

“Texas 4000 especially resonates with us because it is a great cause; as everyone is affected by cancer either personally, through a family member or a friend,” says Morman. “So we love that not only does Texas 4000 raise money and awareness around cancer prevention and research, they also turn out around 80 young people each year who are very philanthropic and prepared to take on anything in life. The ripple effect of developing these young people each year is very exciting.”

Every year, Morman organizes a “send-off” party for the riders, their family members and local community supporters. For the last three years, the party included a sleepover in BHI’s headquarters, a former health club and gym. The company provided food, drinks, music and entertainment from the University of Texas alumni band.

Get Involved

There are several ways for cyclists and non-cyclists alike to become involved with the Texas 4000:

  1. Support a rider. Each rider needs to raise a minimum dollar amount before embarking on the ride, though it’s not too late to donate to an individual rider:
  2. Join the Atlas send-off bike ride. Beginners, their families and friends can participate in riding various distances. If you were unable to attend this year’s ride, learn how to get involved:
  3. Volunteer through BHI. Work at the BHI Texas 4000 events or volunteer directly with Texas 4000. Leave a comment below if you’d like to help with next year’s event.
  4. Attend the annual gala fund raising event. Each August, a gala fundraising event is held to welcome the riders back home and celebrate their achievements. This year’s gala will be Aug. 27 at the JW Marriott in downtown Austin:

The passion, determination and hard work that the Atlas Riders demonstrate makes this notable cause one of a kind. That’s why Builder Homesite Inc. is proud to support the Texas 4000.


Amy Olivarez is a digital content intern for New Home Source.

Posted in Did You Know? | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Texas 4000 Riders Bike to Help Fight Cancer

Pokémon GO: Even Pocket Monsters Love New Homes

Pokemon Go Kingler

On our new-home community tour with Pokémon GO, we found this Kingler enjoying the views at Travisso in Leander, Texas.

By Drew Knight and Amy Olivarez

If you’ve taken a step outside recently, you might have noticed a new trend taking over. No, you won’t see real-life monsters running rampant in the streets, but you will notice crowds of people staring at their smartphones.

This is all thanks to a new game called Pokémon GO, a smartphone app that brings back the ever popular Pokémon from the kids’ TV show, card-trading game and video games that are still going strong after more than 20 years on the market.

The game’s premise is to get people moving, hitting the streets to virtually capture these Pokémon through their phone’s cameras and then use them for battles in “gyms,” which are located at locations like churches, parks and popular landmarks, along with Pokéstops where you can stock up on items like potions and Pokéballs to help you catch the pocket monsters.

So, what does all of this have to do with new homes?!

Well, we decided to go on a Pokémon hunt of our own in the nearby neighborhood of Travisso, a new-home community located just outside of Austin in Leander, Texas. Our discovery? These pocket monsters like new homes just as much as we do!

While we toured the beautiful model homes there, featuring builders like Toll Brothers, Taylor Morrison, Grand Haven Homes and Highland Homes, we whipped out our Pokémon GO app to see if we could find any Pokémon nearby. Here’s what we found:

Pokemon GO Zubat

Maltese Plan by Toll Brothers

We found this poison/flying type Pokémon called Zubat flying around this beautiful home by Toll Brothers. Despite our attempts to catch him with our Pokéballs, he just didn’t want to leave. But can you blame him?

This striking two-story home had plenty of space for Zubat to flex his wings with four bedrooms, four-and-a-half baths, a three-car garage and a whopping 4,225 sq. ft. Inside, we found an open kitchen with ample counter space, a two-story great room with a fireplace, a beautiful study and a roomy master bathroom complete with a Roman tub.

Because we admired his stubborn spirit, we decided to leave Zubat alone in peace in the game room.

Pokemon GO Paras

Florian Plan by Taylor Morrison

We found Paras, the bug/grass type, hanging out at the Florian Plan model. After taking a tour, we can see why.

With three bedrooms, three baths, a two-car garage and 1,933 sq. ft., the Florian Plan included a gourmet kitchen and plenty of flexibility for outdoor living, which is perfect for Paras, as she works to tend the mushrooms that grow on her back, which, in the Pokémon universe, are known to have great healing powers.

This single-story home also has the option to extend the patio to wrap around the home, making it an ideal place for Paras to entertain her fellow grass types and enjoy the Texas sun.

Pokemon Go Weedle

Merida Plan by Toll Brothers

We didn’t find this Weedle until we ventured upstairs at the Merida Plan model and after learning about the acute sense of smell Weedles are known for, it was no shock to find him next to the wall of wine.

Perhaps an aspiring sommelier, we found this poison/bug type Pokémon bugging out over this dynamic second-floor game room/wine room. Weedle was also in awe of the home’s foyer, which greets guests with two elegant circular staircases. With four bedrooms, four-and-a-half bathrooms, a three-car garage and 4,816 sq. ft., it’s clear this bug has great taste.

Bon appétit, Weedle, bon appétit.


Drew Knight is a digital content associate and Amy Olivarez is a digital content intern for New Home Source.

Posted in Buying a New Home | Comments Off on Pokémon GO: Even Pocket Monsters Love New Homes

Dwell On Design 2016: The New Home Source Highlights

Dwell On Design

New Home Source highlights key exhibitors at the 2016 Dwell On Design conference in Los Angeles, Calif.

By Drew Knight

It has more than 300 of the world’s leading brand exhibitors, more than 2,000 modern furnishings on display and dozens of onstage presenters throughout three days at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

We’re talking about Dwell On Design, people, the largest design event in the nation. And this year, New Home Source was there to bring you the latest in design.

As we got a behind-the-scenes look of the convention, interviewed all of the presenters below (videos are coming soon, so stay tuned to and got a first-hand look at some of the new designs and products unveiled at the event, here are a few of the top things that stood out to us:

LivingHomes and Plant Prefab

One of the highlights of the Dwell On Design event were the full-scale prefab homes constructed inside the convention center. As exhibitors don’t have much time to prepare their displays, the not-so-easy feat of constructing a home had to be completed in only days, adding a sense of wonder and amazement to the show floor.

One of the most buzzed about prefab homes was the LivingHomes and Plant Prefab CK4.2, which debuted for the first time at Dwell On Design. The CK4.2 is a low-cost, two-story prefabricated home and is the first project built by LivingHomes’ spin-off company, Plant Prefab, the nation’s first prefab company focused on sustainable construction. It boasts 1,700 sq. ft. with three bedrooms and two-and-a-half bathrooms. Dwell attendees were able to tour its spacious master suite, reconfigurable second bedrooms, kitchen, bathrooms and more.

“The CK4.2 is our first lower-cost two-story LivingHome,” said LivingHome founder Steve Glenn in a press release. “It’s designed for narrow lots in cities and it gives people a much faster and more cost-effective solution versus site-built homes.”

Monogram Modern Home

Another popular attraction at the convention center was the Monogram Modern Home, a custom prefab outfitted with Monogram’s most innovative appliances, built by Method Homes, presented by Dwell.

Currently on a cross-country tour, the Monogram Modern Home is set in a completely custom 1,100-square-foot Method Homes prefab.

Monogram Industrial Design Director, Lou Lenzi, was on hand to walk us through the exhibit and some of its great appliances.

On the Monogram Modern Home, Lenzi says, “We get out a lot of the design studio — conducting over 100 consumer studies each year — gathering insights that translate into real-world innovations like the bottle wash feature in the Monogram dishwasher, the ergonomic extension racks found in our Monogram wall oven or the beautifully lit interior of the new Monogram French Door Refrigerator featuring LED lighting.”

Signature Kitchen Suite

Plant Prefab wasn’t the only brand unveiled at Dwell On Design – a new luxury appliance label also made its debut. Dubbed Signature Kitchen Suite, the brand showcased its line of refrigerators, ranges, cooktops, ovens and dishwasher to convention attendees with demonstrations and a free kitchen giveaway.

New Home Source got an interview with Zach Elkin, general manager with Signature Kitchen Suite, and a hands-on demonstration of these consumer-friendly appliances designed to inspire creativity in the kitchen to match the extraordinary nature of those who use it.

“Signature Kitchen Suite marries luxury and elegant design with advanced technology and superior customer service, giving consumers the opportunity to transform their kitchen and make their mark in ways never before imaginable,” said Elkin in a news release. “The new Signature Kitchen Suite embodies the style and personality that American families bring to the kitchen, delivered in an innovative, aesthetically pleasing package that will elevate the décor of any high-end kitchen.”

Jamie Durie’s Dwell Outdoor

The ever-popular Dwell Outdoor exhibit was this year curated by award-winning international designer and TV host Jamie Durie.

This 30,000-square-foot showcase featured contemporary outdoor furnishings designed by Durie himself, as well as a beer garden and the prefab buildings mentioned above. Durie’s design collections ranged from Danish-inspired teak furniture, vertical gardens, transterior textures and more, alluding to his unique philosophy of taking the outdoors in and the indoors out.

Durie took the time out of his busy schedule during the event to walk us through his designs, sharing the reasoning and inspiration behind it all, including his aptly named “Love Dome.” Stay tuned to for our exclusive interview with him and the others mentioned above.

Drew Knight is a digital content associate for New Home Source.

Posted in Buying a New Home | 3 Comments

U.S. Census Data Shows New Homes are Getting Bigger

new homes getting bigger

Churchill Classics’ Cascade Model illustrates an open floor plan in Poolesville, Md. U.S. census data shows that new homes are getting bigger, entering the market with more square footage now than ever before.

By Drew Knight

If you’ve been active in your new home hunt, you’ve probably noticed one similar trend about the homes and communities you’ve been checking out: homes are getting bigger.

Well, you’re not just seeing things. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the size of single-family homes has been rising for decades. In fact, the median size of a single-family home completed in in the United States in 2015 was 2,467 sq. ft., up 14 sq. ft. from the previous year and up 240 sq. ft from 2005.

So what’s behind this steady increase in home sizes? It all comes down to the need to stretch out.

“Builders are building bigger because buyers want more space for their money,” says Eric Tovar, owner and president of Churchill Classics, a homebuilder based in Rockville, Md., noting trends like commercial-style gourmet kitchens, master bathroom suites with oversized showers, screened-in porches that extend the family room for outdoor living, oversized garages and open floor plans.

While desirable trends like these certainly add square footage to a floor plan, there are plenty of other factors that might help explain this year-to-year growth.

Participants in the New Home Source Insights Panel, a panel of new-home shoppers, say they want a larger home. Here’s what they’re looking for:

  • 31 percent of respondents say they want an open floor plan
  • 29 percent say they are upsizing because of an increase in family size
  • 16 percent cite an increase in income as their reason for upsizing

One panelist specifically mentioned family as his reason for moving:

“I’ve lived in my home for about 14 years and it suits me fine, but I want a larger home to have a bit more enjoyment for my entire family,” says home shopper Ronald Gawronski of Miami, Fla.

Another listed a desire for an efficient open floor plan, despite living in an open concept previously. “The longest I’ve ever lived in one home was in a small two-bedroom home with an open floor plan,” says Joseph Hester, an active shopper in Charlotte, N.C. “So, I guess the bottom line is that an open floor plan is nice, but it works better in a larger home.”

While the everyday shopper may be dreaming about homes with open concepts, room for family growth and trendy and spacious rooms, how might this affect the first-time homebuyer who may be searching for something entirely different? According to The Bank of America Homebuyer’s Insights Report, many have similar wants and needs as current and previous homeowners.

The report found that 75 percent of first-time buyers would prefer to bypass the starter home and buy a home that will meet their needs in the future, even if that means waiting to save more. More interesting still, 35 percent said they actually plan to retire in this first home.

Yet there are still plenty of option for those who choose not to bypass their starter home. Homebuilders like D.R. Horton, TRI Pointe Homes and Meritage Homes are increasingly switching focus to the younger generations, building starter homes that cater to Millennials.

No matter which stage in the in home-shopping process you may be in, we’d love to hear from you.

Are you seeking a larger home? Why? If not, why are you seeking smaller?

Let us know in the comments below, or consider joining the New Home Source Insights Panel to earn rewards just for giving us your opinion.

Happy home hunting!

Drew Knight is a digital content associate for New Home Source.

Posted in Buying a New Home, Did You Know? | 2 Comments