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Home-Buying Advice For Single Women

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Whether this is your first home, a post-divorce purchase, or a downsizing purchase after the passing of a spouse, you may be a little nervous about taking the plunge on a mortgage. If this is the case, take a look at some of these tips to get you headed in the right direction.

Single Women are Buying In

The headlines regarding women and money are often grim; women earn less in the workplace, experience harsher workplace penalties for experiencing motherhood, struggle with debt, and save far less for retirement. Despite this,single womenare far ahead of their male counterparts when it comes to home ownership. In fact, single women make up 17 percent of the home buyers in the U.S., while single men only capture 7 percent of this financial endeavor. Why the gap? First, the real estate market crash in 2008 created low interest rates, appealing to home buyers. However, single women are more likely than men to be a single parent, making the necessity for stable housing a top priority given their circumstances and desire to put down solid roots.

The biggest reason for the rise in homeownership among single women is their increasing numbers. According to research, one-in-five U.S. women 25 years and older are single and have never been married. Women are marrying later in life or opting out completely, thus embracing their independence as a lifestyle rather than a label. Buying a home is simply a way of life, and women are busy living.

Know What You Can Afford

The most important piece of advice for any homebuyer is to know what you can afford. If you’ve ever lived with a spouse or a roommate, you know that every extra body helps when it comes to paying the mortgage, rent, and utilities. Being on your own doesn’t mean you can’t become a homeowner, but you’ll need to make sure you don’t get in over your head. As you shop around for your perfect home, remember that the purchase price doesn’t encompass all the expenses you will encounter. There will be a mortgage, bills, maintenance, repairs, property taxes, and homeowner’s insurance. To determine what you can afford, start by reviewing your budget. If crunching numbers isn’t your thing, consider hiring a mortgage broker to help you navigate all the numbers and percentages, while making the most of your single income. One way to estimate of the monthly expenses of owning a new home is to use an online home cost calculator.

It’s good to be able to afford a house, but you need to make sure you are making a good investment. No one knows the future and your living situation may change. Make sure the home you purchase has resale value by considering features such as location, layout, curb appeal, crime stats, and school districts should the home have the potential to house a family.

Find the Right Match

When you are buying a home, don’t forget to think about your lifestyle. For example, you may want a large kitchen area for entertaining or a home within walking distance of restaurants and other meeting places. In addition, while age is just a number, it makes a difference when it comes to owning a home. While a single woman in her 30s can dart up and down the stairs to do laundry, clean, and tidy up the home with ease, senior women may have a little more difficulty. However, there are solutions such as home modifications and senior programs for those who choose to live independently. As you browse the housing market, keep your current and future needs in mind, especially if you plan to live in the home for years to come.

The right match will also have the appropriate safety features that are important for anyone living alone. Other than being in an area with low crime rates, your home should have solid doors with locks and well-lit entryways. A drive-in garage is a bonus, and an alarm system is a plus too. You can add some safety features on your own, but be wary of houses with unchangeable features.

Home ownership is an amazing endeavor, but don’t rush into it just to be able to claim the homeowner status. Take your time and make sure you are purchasing a home that meets your budget, as well as your current and future needs.

Article contribution by: Brittany Fisher

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