When it comes to space and upgrades, first-time home buyers are more willing to compromise than repeat buyers, according to the National Association of REALTORS®’ 2011 “Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers.”
While they have big wish lists too, first-time buyers seem to be most driven by finding a home that offers a reasonable monthly mortgage payment.
"Single home buyers tend to value affordability above all when they are choosing a home and a neighborhood," says Jessica Lautz, NAR’s manager of member and consumer survey research. "They also focus more on living some place convenient to friends and family, as well as entertainment and leisure activities."
The median age of first-time home buyers is 31, and about 26 percent are married with children.
First-time home buyers tend to rate energy efficiency high on their wish list, as well as simple, no-hassle technology use in their house, the study finds.
But "even if they like the idea of solar panels, first-time buyers are not likely to spend an extra $20,000 to have them," says Stephen Melman, director of economic services for economics and housing policy for the National Association of Home Builders.
First-time buyers also are willing to compromise on space: The median-size of a home purchased by a first-time buyer is 1,570 square feet.
Overall, "the top three things that buyers want are a great room instead of a formal living room, a walk-in closet in the master bedroom, and a laundry room," says Melman. "First-time buyers want the same thing, but they are more likely to be satisfied with a small laundry room without an attached mudroom and with a smaller master bedroom and a smaller walk-in closet."
But one thing first-time buyers aren’t as willing to compromise on: Buying a home that needs a lot of repairs.
"Buyers that don't have any experience with home maintenance tend to be afraid of renovations, so home sellers should be sure to fix everything they can and make minor home improvements in order to appeal to first-time buyers," Melman says.