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First-Time Buyers Keeping it Small

By Mike Wheatley | January 30, 2012
  • As first-time buyers begin their hunt for a home, a couple of priorities seem to dominate their thoughts more than anything else – keeping things small and affordable.

    first time buyers
    First-time buyers willing to compromise more than most © WavebreakMediaMicro - Fotolia.com

    Even though they may have big ideas about what they want from their first home, the biggest driving factor for first-time buyers is finding a property that comes with an affordable monthly mortgage repayment, reports Fox Business.

    Jessica Lautz, manager of Member and Consumer Research at the NAR, told Fox Business that single home buyers put affordability first and foremost when it comes to choosing a home, followed by convenience with regards to living close to friends and family, as well as leisure and entertainment facilities.

    The report also revealed that the median age for first-time buyers in the US is 31, and of these, only 26% are married with kids.

    Other factors on first-time buyer’s wish lists include energy efficiency, as well as simple, hassle-free technology in the home, according to the The National Association of Realtors (NAR) 2011 "Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers" study.

    Even so, while first-time buyers may like the idea of having solar panels on the roof, they are unlikely to want to shell out an extra $20,000 on them, says the National Association of Home Builder’s Stephen Melman.

    First-time buyers are also willing to forsake living space to get the affordable mortgage they desire – the average size of a first-time buyer’s home measures just 1,570 square feet.

    According to Melman, the three top priorities for home buyers these days are a “great living room instead of a formal one, a laundry room and a walk-in closet in the master bedroom.”

    Melman says that while most first-time buyers want the same things, they are more willing to compromise, with a “smaller laundry room and a smaller walk-in closet.”

    Still, there is one thing that first-time buyers refuse to compromise on – buying a property that needs lots of renovation work.

    “Buyers without the experience of doing home maintenance tend to be afraid of carrying out renovations,” explains Melman.

    “Therefore, sellers need to be sure that they fix everything if they want to appeal to first-time buyers.”

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