Women were better at paying their monthly mortgage dues compared to men, reported the National Association of Realtors in September. An infographic by MGIC Connects in June revealed that single women came second to married couples as being the largest homebuying group. These statistics say one thing: single ladies can own a home and can keep that home. And to help other single ladies out there prepare themselves better for homeownership, here are few words of advice.
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Single-Women Homebuyers by the Numbers
Based on the MGIC Connects infographic, single women comprised 18% of the total homebuyers compared to single men’s share of 11%. These single-women first-time homebuyers have a median age of 32 and a median income of $49,000.
In 2015, single women took up 15% in the overall home purchases share per the NAR’s Home Buyer and Seller General Trends study on March 9, 2016. The highest percentage of single female homebuyers was in the 51-60 age group.
There may be a single or a myriad of reasons why single women choose to buy a home, mainly:
- A strong desire to own a home
- A need for a smaller home or a bigger space
- A perceived need to relocate closer to friends, school, or family.
Top 3 Questions on Homebuying
And given those top 3 reasons, ask yourself these 3 main questions before you buy a home:
- Will I be able to afford mortgage and all by myself?
- Will I be safe living in that home?
- Will the house fit my lifestyle and accommodate future plans?
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Approach homeownership as realistically as possible. When you take out a mortgage to finance the purchase of your home, you will solely be responsible for paying the mortgage debt and keeping the home — monthly mortgage payments, homeowner’s insurance costs, and property taxes. This also means being on top of everything even when you experience job loss, a reduction in income, or a major health issue. It’s fair warning to keep these pointers in mind:
- Take note of your budget and options. Work within your monthly budget and income.
- Factor in hidden costs. Be prepared to foot the bill for any repair and improvement in the house, an increase in association dues, or any future upkeep-related costs.
- Enlist the help of a mortgage broker. In its capacity as an intermediary, your mortgage broker will help you find a lender, working with you to help you qualify for a loan. »We help you get matched with a lender.»
- Get help from loved ones and organizations. You can borrow from friends to fund a portion of your closing costs, they can also help in paying your down payment as gifts with housing agencies and nonprofit entities offering down payment assistance to mortgage borrowers.
Location or Shall We Say, Safety
Location is key to any endeavor and spells the convenience that some homebuyers look for when buying a place to call their own. And while everything looks perfect with the sun up, the neighborhood may be different when darkness sets in.
You can ask the local police for any crime stat, chat with random residents, or read up about the place/property. To keep yourself and property safe and secure, consider looking into these features of any prospective house, such as:
- Doors and locks
- Alarm system
Lifestyle and Life Changes
Your house represents what you want to do for the time being. You may want a home for entertaining guests, have friends sleep over, or a place all to yourself. Or your house has something to do with its proximity to your workplace, favorite restaurant, shops, or the gym.
And then life happens. You have to relocate to another place for work, you find a partner and the home is too small for your family, etc. In whichever case, always have a solid backup plan to allow you to move out of the house and still find yourself in a good position, a viable exit strategy.
- Look at the resale value of the home. It doesn’t have to be the most expensive in the lot but the house should be appealing enough to be resold to the next buyer. It must also be well-maintained and situated in a good neighborhood.
- Look out for any prepayment penalty. You might not be allowed to sell your home before a certain period expires so check with your mortgage documents or ask your lender.
Future events aside, think of your home as a long-term investment where you can live in until you retire. And given the attendant costs of buying and owning a home, you should be able to stay longer to enjoy gains from homeownership.
Congratulations on your new home or shall we say, future new home! Being a single woman or man for that matter isn’t a hurdle to buying a home and it should not be. Cheers to all the single women homebuyers. »Begin your journey to homeownership, start here.»
Justin McHood is America's Mortgage Commentator and has been providing expert mortgage analysis for over 10 years.