What you should do is buy the home you like. There are many factors to consider when buying a home...the home itself, the price, the neighborhood. Different things interrelate and can make up for deficiencies in other factors. All these things taken together help you determine which one you prefer. You might be willing to pay a higher price because you really like the home or the neighborhood. Or you might prefer to purchase a certain home that needs work or repairs because the price is low. Now, the thing about short sales, they can be a great deal for certain buyers if you like the home but you need to understand that a short sale purchase can be different than a regular purchase. The biggest factor for first time purchasers to consider is that many short sales can take a long time to close because the bank (or banks) need to approve the lower price. Sometimes this happens quickly, sometimes it can take months. This is where having a good real estate agent can make a difference. They can speed the process in many cases, but a purchaser of a short sale (unless the bank has already preapproved the price reduction) should be prepared to be patient. Short sales can have repair issues, but then again so can regular purchases. The main difference here is that many short sales are sold AS IS. All this means is that if this is the case, factor your repair costs into your purchase price and do a thorough home inspection with a professional before releasing your contingencies.
To sum up, a short sale brings some additional complications to the process but has potential benefits also. The home still needs to be evaluated on its own, and you need to factor these potential complications and benefits into your decision of whether to buy or not. Purchasing a short sale has less to do with whether you are a first time home buyer or not and more to do with your individual needs and preferences. Above all though, especially in a short sale, you should find an experienced Realtor you trust to assist you, and preferably they should have extensive short sale experience.