Simplifying the homebuying process
For many households in Boston, the dream of buying their first home seems out of reach. With housing prices rising and competition fierce, we saw a growing need to support potential homeowners.
In spring 2016, we completed user research with potential first-time home buyers and those who recently bought a home. From this input, we created a new homebuying framework. Based on feedback from more than 500 residents, we tested and improved this framework.
BOSTON, MA 02108-2501
Why we did this
We believe input from residents is essential to keep our work grounded. We want to understand the pain points and perspectives of real people. This helps keep our work relevant and useful.
Our hypothesis? The homebuying process is confusing and each person takes their own unique path. A great framework would keep unique perspectives in mind. There would also be flexible entry points to jump in and understand the process.
The framework we created has three entry points based on users:
- those who are curious
- those who are planning, and
- those who are buying their first home.
For each interest level there are four key areas:
- the home
- the money
- the team, and
- the process.
This framework simplified a very complex process. We provided relevant information that depended on where a person was in their personal homebuying journey. The Boston Home Center is now using this framework to connect residents with the right resources. They’re also using the framework to meet their diverse needs and interests.
Results and lessons learned
The original intent of our user research was to gather input for a digital platform. What we learned along the way created space for a new framework. We’ve helped shift the structure of how we support first-time homebuyers at the City.
We expected to come out of our user research with a journey map of the homebuying process. We realized that each homebuyer has unique interests, needs, and a personality all their own. Creating a one size fits all product just won’t work.