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Real estate is on its third revolution, from the digital revolution of the early 2000s to the information revolution kicked off by Trulia and Zillow to today's transaction revolution.

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1 in 5 homeowners plan to sell within a year

In this fiery hot real estate market, buyers abound while inventory is nearly nonexistent in many markets. But Americans might be back on the move soon: One in five homeowners say they plan to sell their current home within the next year. 

Low interest rates and pent up demand appear to be fueling an increase in the number of homeowners who say they’ll list their homes in the next 12 months, with one in five respondents to a February Coldwell Banker Real Estate survey saying they’re planning to sell. Of those planning to sell, most said they’ll wait at least six months. 

Why Wait?

Survey respondents—those who plan to sell within 12 months, as well as those who do not—expressed concerns about listing their current home. The top concern among all respondents was needing to find and purchase a new home before selling (35%), which speaks to the overall lack of inventory

Respondents were asked, “If you were to sell your home today, which of the following concerns would you have about listing your home for sale?” They were allowed to select as many answers as applied. In addition to the concern about purchasing a new home before selling their current home, survey respondents identified the following as concerns:

  • Having to buy a home before I sell mine (35%)
  • The U.S. economy tanking and not being able to sell/purchase a home as planned (35%)
  • Coming into contact with COVID-19 (26%)
  • The home selling process being intimidating (24%)
  • Not knowing what my home is worth (19%)
  • Not knowing where to start (17%)
  • Job stability/can’t afford it (13%)
  • Other/none (21%)

Where to and Why?

The report found that 43% homeowners who plan to sell in the next 12 months are also planning to relocate to a different state or city, while 31% planned to move within the same town or city where they currently live.

Sellers are looking to go big and go home, with 39% of homeowners who want to move in the next year saying they need more space. Profit margins and a new ability to work remotely were also at the top of the list. Respondents were asked which of the following would motivate them to list their home for sale, and were allowed to select as many as applied:

  • Desire/need to upsize (39%)
  • Realizing the amount I can sell my home for is more than I thought (31%)
  • Ability to work remotely for my current employer (30%)
  • Needing to relocate for a new job (29%)
  • Desire/need to downsize (26%)
  • Desire to move to a different school district (26%)
  • Desire to experience a new town/city/state (26%)
  • Being able to live closer to loved ones (25%)
  • Nothing (2%)

Younger Sellers Intimidated 

Homeowners between the ages of 35 and 44 were more likely to be concerned about the selling process being intimidating than were older homeowners. Responding homeowners between 18 and 44 were also more likely than older respondents to say that not knowing where to start in the process and not what their home was worth were concerns.

This age demographic includes Millennials, which are the real estate industry’s largest customer demographic, accounting for about 40% of homebuyers. Experts say younger buyers are more open to conducting business online, and they’re more likely to take an active role in the real estate transaction process. They find agents, apply for financing and shop for homes largely online. 

Relating to the younger, 18- to 45-year-old demographic by building a detailed online profile, especially a social media presence, is one way to connect to younger home sellers (and buyers), and possibly pick up a chunk of the potential sellers who plan to sell their homes in the next 12 months.

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