First-time home buyers are primarily concerned with affordability when choosing a new home, but their expectations may be too high relative to their current financial buying power, according to a recent Coldwell Banker survey conducted among its brokers. While nearly half of the Coldwell Banker broker respondents reported that affordability was the No. 1 concern for this group, 81 percent said today’s first-time home buyers consider move-in conditions to be very important when searching for homes. In contrast, only 7 percent are looking to purchase "fixer-upper" homes that they could buy at a lower price and renovate themselves.

According to 29 percent of brokers surveyed, first-time buyers were more concerned with down payments 10 years ago than anything else, while only 17 percent said this is the biggest concern in today’s market. Meanwhile, survey respondents said that only 4 percent of first-timers were worried about their credit scores in 1998, while 14 percent said it is more of a concern today.

Additional key findings from the survey include:

  • 71 percent of brokers noted that first-time home buyers are looking for larger homes than they were 10 years ago.
  • According to 41 percent of the respondents, proximity to job is the No. 1 attribute first-time buyers are looking for in a home.
  • 35 percent of the survey respondents said "investment" is the No. 1 reason first-timers are making their purchase.
  • 46 percent of the survey respondents reported that first-time buyers look at five to 10 homes, on average, before making a purchase.

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