In January, NAR released its Aspiring Home Buyers Profile, offering a wealth of great insight into the consumer preferences of those who do not own a home. Like NAR’s just-released 2019 Profile of Real Estate Firms, real estate professionals can take a lot of helpful information from the Aspiring Home Buyers Profile.

The entire profile is worth a full review for anyone looking to better understand today’s prospective home buyers, but we’ve put together what we think are the three most significant findings along with our perspective on how they can inform your strategy for engaging with them.

1. As many of 84 percent of non-owners hope to one day own a home.

Good news: Homeownership remains a goal for the vast majority of current non-owners! According to NAR’s profile, the average percent of non-owners across all four quarters in 2018 who said that they would like to eventually become a homeowner was 80 percent, reaching a peak of 84 percent in Q4.

This finding should alleviate (most) of the pervasive fear that homeownership has fallen out of vogue – especially for millennials – since the population of non-owners represents a significant source of potential clients. To reach this group, start considering alternative lead generation techniques, like refining your social media strategy or bolstering your online presence with a great website.

2. Nine in 10 existing homeowners believe that owning a home is a part of their American Dream.

Current homeowners overwhelmingly agree: homeownership is a big part of how they conceptualize the American Dream. This should come as no surprise – the advantages of homeownership are many. Non-owners are also more likely to say that homeownership is a part of their American Dream than not, with 75 percent of respondents reporting that they too hold owning a home to be an important aspiration.

Given the significant amount of business that comes to agents as a result of working with existing homeowners (according to NAR’s aforementioned 2019 Profile of Real Estate Firms, 30 percent of firms’ customer inquiries are from past client referrals, while a quarter came from repeat business from past clients themselves), agents’ use of testimonials from former clients can be an excellent way to appeal to non-owners’ shared belief that homeownership is a worthwhile goal. Testimonials can also be used to explain the home buying process, helping to make it more personal and less intimidating.

3. Throughout 2018, the average percent of non-owners who thought that it was a good time to buy a home was less than 50 percent.

Now, for a less-than-cheerful finding: Only in Q1 2018 did more than half of non-owners say that it was a good time to buy a home (51 percent). During the remaining three quarters of 2018, fewer than 50 percent of non-owner respondents said that it was the right time to pursue homeownership.

Fortunately for reticent non-owners, recent market statistics – including data from the ShowingTime Showing Index and the Wall Street Journal  –  indicate we may officially be in a buyer’s market. With more inventory and the potential price drops that ensue, now may be the perfect time to attract non-owners.


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