Just over half of Americans — 52% — say they are likely to buy a home in the next five years, according to the 2015 BMO Harris Bank Homebuyers Report.

In addition, Americans surveyed are willing to pay an average of $296,000 for a home and will average a 21% down payment.

“Getting preapproved helps buyers understand their budget as they start their home search. That means estimating monthly mortgage payments and how much you can borrow,” said Alex Dousmanis-Curtis, Group Head, U.S. Retail and Business Banking, BMO Harris Bank.

The report, conducted by Pollara, also found that:

  • Among likely buyers, 78% plan to get preapproved before seriously searching for a home.
  • Three quarters of current homeowners set a budget before looking for a home. Sixteen% ended up spending less while 13% went over their budget.
  • The majority (74%) of those looking to buy a new home will consult a real estate agent, while 59% said they will visit online real estate websites and 37% will seek recommendations from friends and family.

According to the report, 63% of American homeowners spent under six months looking for a new home before they made a purchase. In addition, 8% bought their home without participating in an active real estate search – or even any plan to buy at all – because a specific property caught their attention.   

The report also found that many likely homebuyers are interested in a real estate mobile app that would help in their home search. Over three quarters (78%) of homebuyers said the biggest draw for a mobile app would be the ability to look at house listings in their specific desired area and the ability to obtain information about these neighborhoods (77%).