Grandma Moses didn't start painting until she was 80. Julia Child didn't learn to cook until she was almost 40. Ricardo Montalban had his dream house built at the age of 68 when he was finally financially able to do so.
It's never too late for a 'first,' and you're never too old (or too young) to fulfill your dream of owning a home, as long as - like Ricardo Montalban - you are financially able to do so.
Historically, first-time home buyers have fallen into a few predictable categories*:
· Young - more than half of first-time buyers were between 25 and 34 years of age
· Usually married
· Rented prior to purchase of a home
· They have a desire to own their home
*Data pulled from the National Association of Realtors, Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers 2009
But these are historically different times. For some, the fallout of the banking crisis has put the dream of buying a home on the backburner. Many people who expected to own a home five years ago are still waiting, and during the waiting process, people change - and so do first-time buyer expectations and priorities.
The first-time home buyer of 2012 and beyond might be older, and wiser having seen how buying more than one can afford can lead to foreclosure and all kinds of financial messiness. Many would-be first-time buyers have had to move back home to save money rather than rent. But a few extra years of savings makes them a stronger and more attractive buyer.
First-time home buyers of the future are also more likely to be women - single female buyers account for nearly twice as large a share as single male buyers and account for 23% of first-time buyers.
First-time buyers are also less deluded than their predecessors. According to Realtor Magazine, they may have big wish lists, but they're also more willing to compromise (just don't expect them to take on a fixer-upper).
Many first-time homeowners of the bubble-era had unrealistic dreams that were better suited to Fantasy Island. The new face of the first-time home buyer is one that fits the profile of a stronger, financially responsible demographic that is more educated about the realities of homeownership.