Millennial first-home buyers should expect to pay US$30,000 for repairs

With American millennial buyers taking advantage of record low mortgage rates and jumping into home ownership, there are plenty of unexpected projects to get their first home move-in ready.

According to the new Zillow and Thumbtack survey of 1000 home buyers, the average millennial expected to pay between US$10,000 and US$15,000 to make a home move-in ready.

In reality, the data shows new home owners should actually expect to spend about US$26,900 (about AUD$40,000) on these projects, according to Zillow home trends expert Amanda Pendleton.

Evaluating, repairing or replacing heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems is the most expensive move-in project, costing US$3,615 on average in America.

“This research suggests first-time home buyers typically underestimate the costs of the unsexy projects they may have to tackle before they even move in,” Ms Pendleton said.

“That shock may be increasingly common in a competitive market where buyers are dropping inspection contingencies as a strategy to win a bidding war.

“Make sure to factor in these unexpected costs when making an offer to make sure you can afford them, or nail down the tradeoffs you’re willing to make for a move-in ready home. That way, you can focus on the fun, personalised projects that make a new house feel like home.” 

Home buyers said they’re most excited about improvement projects that would allow them to express their personal style and make a home feel like their own.

Source: Zillow and Thumbtack

Prospective millennial home buyers were most excited to tackle interior painting (US$385/room), followed closely by wallpaper installation (US$530/room) and kitchen updates like remodels and renovations (US$7,445).

Surveyed home buyers were least excited about making roofing repairs, which cost an average of US$800 to evaluate and complete.

This is followed by general plumbing repairs (US$335), painting the entire home exterior (US$2,415) and repairing damaged floors (anywhere from US$315 to $1,245, depending on the floor).

These projects tend to be more time consuming or require a deeper level of expertise to complete, which can make home owners feel out of their comfort zone.

Source: Zillow and Thumbtack

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