Understanding First-time Homebuyers


As of 2021, the median age of first-time homebuyers is currently 33 years old, which is much higher than in previous generations. Millennials comprise 38% of the housing market, and the majority of them are purchasing their first home. So to attract more qualified leads, real estate professionals should understand the desires of a modern first-time homebuyer.

Most modern homebuyers are between the ages of 21 and 41, and many have different approaches to homeownership than in generations prior. For instance, they consider factors like the rising costs of housing, even if they aren’t starting a family. The new generation of first-time homebuyers also expect to see potential properties online before they step foot inside, but they’re more open to purchasing a fixer-upper than any generation before.

There are already resources available for real estate agents to attract more qualified leads. Save time and close more sales by learning what potential buyers are looking for before showing them properties. Here are the critical things real estate agents must know when selling to first-time homebuyers.


Motivations of First-Time Homebuyers

Of course, every potential buyer has their own motivations for purchasing their first home. Still, there are a few distinct commonalities for first-time buyers in 2021. A survey of millennials from December 2020 to February 2021 showed that the top motivations for first-time buyers include:


  • Stability and personalization. After years of renting and being subject to a landlord, first-time home buyers want a place that they can call their own. They desire the ability to add personal touches to their living space and do as they please, with little concern for nosy neighbors. Owning a home allows buyers to have a sense of stability because they know their home will serve them for years to come, rather than needing to move or endure rising rent prices each year.


  • Appreciation and rising home values. A home is a critical tool for building financial freedom and allows first-time homebuyers to finally have an asset that will rise in value over the years. Since we expect the cost of homeownership to increase exponentially, people who can afford to purchase a home would prefer to do so sooner than later.


  • A lifestyle change. Even though Americans are marrying and having children later in life, they’re still taking part in these traditional milestones eventually. As a result, many first-time homebuyers seek to accommodate a growing family with a home’s added space. Even first-time buyers who forgo marriage and starting a family prefer a home rather than an apartment since many work remotely. Lifestyle changes increase their desire for amenities like a backyard, space for a home office, and more bedrooms.


They Want to See the Home Online First

When the pandemic began, it forced every industry to adapt to a digital manner of conducting business. It’s only natural that society’s digitization affects how homebuyers search for houses. In 2021, 44% of millennial homebuyers stated that they would gladly purchase a home based on the online photos alone. 

Real estate agents can accommodate this need for first-time homebuyers by investing in professional real estate photography and including detailed online listings. In addition, companies like Zillow and Redfin have observed a substantial increase in requests for 3D home tours, so real estate agents should include this in their listings wherever possible.

Social media isn’t exempt from the real estate industry either. It’s becoming commonplace for first-time homebuyers to find their homes on Instagram, Facebook, and even TikTok. Real estate agents should keep their social media profiles up-to-date and consistently post quality content to attract first-time home buyers.


Long-term Homeownership is Important

Although the media often paints millennials as flaky and non-committal, the reality is that they are interested in homeownership for the long haul. Keep this in mind when selling to first-time homebuyers and show them properties in a location that accommodates their need for a short commute and a good school district.

Part of long-term homeownership for first-time buyers entails selecting a home in a location that encourages a strong sense of community. As more companies become remote, potential buyers want properties near cafes and communal workspaces to maintain a sense of human connection while attending to business. The social nature is a big selling point for first-time buyers, so emphasize homes with covetable locations. Give them an overview of local amenities like green spaces, dining options, and social events.


First-Time Homebuyers Prioritize Sustainable Living

The effects of climate change are at the forefront of many millennial minds and lifestyles, with 83% of millennials stating that they desire sustainable homes. As a result, first-time homebuyers are interested in purchasing homes with energy-efficient capabilities, and they’re willing to pay more for it.

To appeal to first-time buyers, diversify your housing portfolio with homes that feature eco-friendly materials and features. Highlight LED lighting for its energy-saving capabilities and lower electric bill, or point out the importance of water-saving features like efficient showerheads and toilets.

If your clients are interested in an older home, let them know that they can transform it with new, more sustainable features. For example, red clay tiles and recycled shingles for the roof reduce the power needed for heating and air conditioning.


They Don’t Mind a Fixer-Upper

Many first-time homebuyers dream of finding a house in the perfect location and making it their own, so real estate agents shouldn’t shy away from showing qualified leads a fixer-upper. 67% of millennials are willing to place an offer on a home in need of partial or complete renovations as means to make their dream a reality. So real estate agents shouldn’t be afraid of showing potential buyers a home that could use a little elbow grease.

Millennials have lived through the recession of 2008 and the unexpected financial effects of a global pandemic. Combine this with the pressure of student loan debt, and it’s easy to see why first-time homebuyers are interested in savings extra cash on their house. However, it’s vital that real estate agents are honest with their clients about the potential costs of repairs, especially when selling to first-time buyers. The fantasy buyers envision for their fixer-upper home can quickly become a nightmare if the costs of repairs are more than the amount they saved on the down payment.


Call Motivated Sellers

With the right knowledge, selling to a first-time homebuyer isn’t as difficult as it might seem. But we can make it even easier!

If you’re a real estate agent looking to attract more first-time homebuyers, Call Motivated Sellers is at your service. Our extensive real estate experience and connections in the industry can help you close more leads than ever before.

Are you interested in working with us or learning more about the services we offer? Contact our team today, and let’s talk!


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