David Steckel
Jul 13 · 4 min read

Are You a New Homeowner? Here’s What You Need To Know To Get Your Home Move-In Ready!

We took a deep-dive with Zillow into the projects new homeowners can expect to tackle and how much it can cost

With millennial first-time buyers taking advantage of record low mortgage rates and jumping into homeownership, many are likely unaware of the projects they may have to undertake to get their new home move-in ready. Our new research and survey data in partnership with Zillow found a typical for-sale home could need nearly $30,000 of work, which may come as a shock to the large majority (65 percent) of active home shoppers who are not seeking a fixer-upper.

To help first-time buyers feel prepared for the home-buying journey, we partnered with Zillow to compile a list of the most common projects its teams tackle after purchasing homes through Zillow Offers, a service that allows sellers to skip prep, open houses and showings by selling directly to the company. Then, using that list of common repairs, we calculated the national average costs to complete each project.

In addition to digging through our breadth of data, we also asked homebuyers to share the projects they were most excited about and least excited to tackle, along with their expectations on cost and for those projects.

How Much It Could Cost You

According to the new survey of 1,000 homebuyers, the average millennial expects to pay between $10,000 and $15,000 to make a home move-in ready, when in reality, the data shows new homeowners should actually expect to spend about $26,900 on these projects. Evaluating, repairing or replacing HVAC systems is the most expensive move-in project, costing $3,615 on average nationwide.

A More Diverse Homebuying Market

We discovered that millennials who self-identified as non-white* (30%) and Black (32%) are more likely than their white (19%) counterparts to be actively looking to buy their first home. In addition, diverse homebuyers are less likely to live in their first home, seeing the property as an investment opportunity. Of those actively looking to purchase a home, non-white and Black millennials were almost twice as likely to say their first home would be a vacation home or investment property compared to white respondents (25%, 26% and 13% respectively).

The Most Exciting Projects

Homebuyers say they’re most excited about improvement projects that allow them to express their personal style and make a home feel like their own. Millennial homebuyers are most excited to tackle interior painting ($385/room), followed closely by wallpaper installation ($530/room) and kitchen updates like remodels and renovations ($7,445).

The Least Exciting Projects

Homebuyers are least excited about making roofing repairs, which cost an average of $800 to evaluate and complete. This is followed by general plumbing repairs ($335), painting the entire home exterior ($2,415) and repairing damaged floors ($315-$1,245, depending on the type of floor). These projects tend to be more time consuming or require a deeper level of expertise to complete, which can make homeowners feel out of their comfort zone.

Methodology

  • First, mapped the Zillow list of projects against Thumbtack categories based on keywords
  • Filtered out projects that were too specific and that did not have a sufficient number of matching data points with Thumbtack
  • Cleansed the job values by removing outliers or amounts that were far too high compared to normal
  • Averaged the amounts per Zillow Category and Thumbtack’s top designated market area (DMA)
  • Top DMAs were chosen according to the availability of data points across all Zillow projects
  • All prices shown reflect the national average across the U.S. Prices may vary by city depending on supply and demand, price of materials, etc. For data on specific regions, please go to www.thumbtack.com/prices.

*Non-white respondents represent those who self-identified as Arab, Asian, Hispanic/Latinx, Multiracial or other

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David Steckel

Written by

Thumbtack Blog

Our local service marketplace intelligently matches customers to pros with the right expertise, availability and pricing. Customers find electricians, landscapers, DJs, anyone they need, and pros create sustainable businesses doing what they love. Visit: www.thumbtack.com.