With first-time homebuyers; do not assume their "wish list" as I have recently done! I have two sons in their mid-twenties and both of them have friends now shopping for a home. Since I have known many of them since they were in diapers, I take special precautions to make each of them feel like adults. I ask the same questions of them as I would with any home-buyer. I make certain not to second-guess them and not to talk to them as if they were 5-years-old. I may point out home characteristics that are obvious to me, but may not be to them. I do spend a little more time while driving to our next appointment to provide home-ownership education; not in a condescending manner, but in a parent/Real Estate Agent demeanor. Helpful, I hope.
I spend an inordinate amount of time preparing the house-hunting trips making sure to include driving through the neighborhoods I have chosen, showing near-by "hot spots" and WIFI cafes. Where I have recently run into problems is assuming that ALL first-time home-buyers want the same thing. WRONG!
This is how the most recent house-hunting day evolved: I decided that this young client, age 22, should want to purchase his first home in an area of Atlanta that lots of "trendy" young buyers migrate toward. That area is dominated by mid-century homes with little charm, run-down lots, pot-holed streets, parking pads instead of garages, and bathrooms the size of a broom closet. Some of these mid-century homes have even been updated with the latest and trendiest of products; bamboo, granite, stainless, salad bowl sink basins, travertine, and lights on wires! These areas do have lots of shops, bars and restaurants geared toward this age group, so what's not to like?
However, when a young first-time homebuyer tells me he or she can not stand the area or the homes they are seeing; I once again, assume they must be overwhelmed with the amazing choices. WRONG again!
Not every young person wants a loft, or a high-rise condo, or a run-down bungalow in a trendy part of town. Some, I have found, actually want to purchase a traditional home near or even in the same neighborhoods in which they were raised. I am now the one who is amazed! Generation "Y" may want the granite and travertine and hardwoods just like ALL the other home-buyers. They may actually want updated bathrooms over the pitted out rat-holes from their college habitats or previous apartments!
Another surprise when working with these first-timers; they want a yard! My sons do not even know how to start a lawn-mower and their friends want to buy a house with a backyard? Who knew? They even want a patio or deck with a grill to cook outside....what? When did they learn how to cook? Certainly not from playing video games during the past 10 years!!!! And that brings me to the last and final point; they do want to make sure that a VERY big screen TV can fit into their new home. That is one assumption I did not make!