Finding Your Dream Home or Home for Now — Either Way, It’s Okay

It’s October 2022. It’s no secret the world of homebuying and renting is askew. Between rising interest rates, inflation, and elevated home sales and rent, many have been forced to make tough decisions, including adjusting their expectations. 

That idealized vision of a white-picket-fenced home continues to appeal, but the Mayflower 2022 Finding Home Study, does show a shift in priorities when it comes to homeownership and spending. Of the 1,100 surveyed U.S. respondents — 550 of which moved to a new state in the last two years and 550 of which plan to move soon — revelations abound. 

Overall, past interstate movers tended to stay in similar urban or rural areas when they moved, though they largely upgraded from smaller living spaces like apartments (32%) to larger spaces (23%), such as a house. 

Meanwhile, future interstate movers say they plan to relocate from urban and suburban areas to more rural ones – 17% are moving from cities and 24% are moving to a more rural community. Also of note, 30% of them want to relocate to western states, while 50% favor southern locales. 

Their primary motivation for a move? Opportunities to explore new places, meet new people and enjoy a new beginning. 

That said, future movers are more likely to believe it will take two-plus years for the economic recession to end. Nonetheless, they admit to being more likely to consider a move (60%) and/or change their spending habits due to inflation, including moving to a state with higher pay (66%), cutting spending (60%), working a side hustle (42%) or relocating further away than originally expected (42%). 

That begs the question, will they find their dream home now or are they more likely to secure a “home for now?” Either way, it’s okay. 

Where Women Stand 

Women are more likely than men to value personal preferences when buying a home — as in finding their “forever” home (53%), pet friendliness (50%) or not having roommates (48%). They admit these factors have become more important to them than ever before. 

However, that’s not to suggest they’re impractical. Women also rate affordability (66%) as increasingly important and are more likely to cut back on discretionary spending (63%), get into a “side hustle” (39%) or move to a living space that’s less expensive (28%) than their male counterparts. 

What’s Top of Mind 

Cost of living (46%), affordable housing (40%) and inflation (33%) were the strongest influencers for moving in 2022, with respondents also weighing things like property taxes, food prices, income tax and sales tax in decision-making. 

Although cost of living tops that list, finding a “forever home” remains key for 48% of respondents. Still, for future movers, available affordable housing is much more important (56%) than something like not having roommates (13%).  

The Road Ahead 

Ultimately, movers are being strategic in their planning, looking for affordable, stable places to live as they weather the road ahead — far more so than was the case among past movers. That suggests a willingness to compromise — at least for now. For example, 47% of future movers consider not having roommates a personal preference, while 38% consider decision-making around costs of living, namely rent and mortgages, pragmatic.  

At the end of the day, pragmatism is an ongoing theme. Among those buying a home, 43% of respondents say even if the place they move into isn’t the “perfect home,” they can still make it their own. Sure, 37% saying finding their dream home is a life goal, but 22% admit to having lowered their expectations over the last two years, be it through alternative housing options (24%), a less-than-perfect living space (20%), a different location (18%) or waiting to own (20%) and start a family (19%). 

Others admit to needing financial help to buy a home (35%), whether it was from parents, a spouse or roommates.  

When It’s Your Home for Now 

Even if you’ve decided to “settle,” there’s so much you can do to make your house a home. Start with basic home maintenance — such as cleaning air conditioner condensers and ductwork — since the condition of your living space is key. From there, you can prioritize your list of upgrades, basing it on your preferences and the duration of your stay.  

For example, if you own property, you might consider refinishing the wood floors rather than replacing them — a doable DIY. Whether you own or rent, you can turn your bedroom into a peaceful sanctuary, where you can relax, rest easy and envision what you’d like to do with the rest of your home whenever the time is right. 

Even little things, like swapping old lightbulbs for smart bulbs allow you to switch up lighting colors, changing the mood of your living space. Just altering the setting to 3000 kelvins, for example, can lend a warm, cozy glow. Or, consider selecting a signature scent to fragrance your home. These days, several app-based and plug-in options exist and can set a welcoming — even luxurious — tone. 

Looking for another idea? How about sprucing things up with some houseplants, like these, or incorporating hygge principles into your abode? 

Most of all, remember there’s no right or wrong answer — only you can decide on the kind of move that is right for you. Unless money is no object, which is rarely the case, compromise almost always comes into play. It all comes down to determining what matters most at any given time and circumstance in life. 

Moving closes one door and opens another. Get some music going to start your next exciting chapter!

Want some more insight into how people are finding home? Check out our coverage here. 

Let's Get Moving

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