People buy and sell homes for a variety of reasons. Understanding their motivation and their experiences is the goal of the annual Profile of Buyers and Sellers survey conducted by the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

For 2013’s report, NAR polled more than 148,000 people from across the country who purchased a home between July 2012 and July 2013. A total of 8,767 responses were received, providing detailed insight into one of the largest financial transactions most people ever will make. Here’s a glimpse into a few of the survey highlights.

Multiple generations under one roof: 14 percent of buyers purchased a multi-generational home. Children over the age of 18 moving back into the house, cost savings, and health and caretaking of aging parents were cited among the reasons.

Buyers range from Gen Y to Baby Boomers:  42 was the age of the typical home buyer, while the typical first-time buyer was 31 and the typical repeat buyer was 52.

Median income is robust: The median income of all buyers surveyed was $83,300. The number was slightly lower among  first-time buyers ($64,400) and slightly higher ($96,000) among repeat buyers.

Married couples dominated the market: 66 percent of recent home buyers were married – the highest share since 2001.

Single-family, detatched homes rule: 80 percent of the buyers who responded to the survey favored this type of residence.

The Internet is your friend:  For 42 percent of home buyers, the first step in the home buying process was looking online for properties. The use of the Internet in the home search rose slightly to 92 percent this year.

Patience pays off: The typical home buyer searched for 12 weeks and viewed 10 homes before landing on the perfect one.

The price is right: Recent sellers typically sold their homes for 97 percent of the listing price, and 47 percent reported they reduced their asking price at least once.

Changes in family situations, jobs and positions in life are among the reasons why people buy a home. Figuring out what makes buyers and sellers tick is the key to understanding, ultimately, who they are.

(Editor’s Note: Andy Warren is President of Maracay Homes, the Arizona subsidiary of the Weyerhaeuser Real Estate Company. He serves on the Board of Directors for the Home Builders Association of Central Arizona and Greater Phoenix Leadership; as well as the Board of Directors and as an Executive Committee member with the Greater Phoenix Economic Council. He is also an active member of the Urban Land Institute.)

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