By: Julie Morris
Over the past couple of decades, one of the biggest areas of growth in the home buying sector is among single women. Not only are more than 20% of all home buyers single women, but since the mid-90s more than one-third of the growth in real estate ownership is among single women. If you’re a single woman looking to purchase a home, here are some essential tips you should know.
Shop around for financing
According to a recent study, women are more likely than men to receive a subprime mortgage. The takeaway was that women, faced with stereotypes about not really understanding the whole home buying process, simply aren’t offered some of the better loan options that lenders have. It’s an unfortunate finding, but one that many women who have faced discrimination would not have a hard time believing.
That’s why it’s vital that you shop around for your financing. Review as many options as you can before making a decision. Don’t just accept the first offer that comes your way.
Know what you can afford and beware of “hidden” costs
You may get pre-approved for a home loan that will leave you struggling to make the payments month-to-month. Just because you can afford something, it doesn’t mean you should. Don’t push your limits. A good rule of thumb for determining how much you should spend on a house is to take your annual income and multiply it by three. That’s your low end. Now multiply it by four. That’s your high end. To get a more exact estimate, use an online home affordability calculator, such as this one.
Think about your monthly income, post-tax. You should probably limit yourself to about one-quarter of that when you think about the monthly mortgage payment you can reasonably afford. Why only one-quarter? Well, for starters, because you may have other fixed debt payments already (credit card debt, student loans, etc.) Not only that, but owning a home is way more expensive than just the mortgage payment. “Hidden” costs that can trip up home buyers include homeowners insurance costs, taxes, and repair costs.
When you finally move, consider hiring some help
So you’ve found a house that’s priced within your means, secured solid financing (that you’ve carefully picked from many different offers), and now you’re ready to move out. Should you try to do it all yourself?
You should certainly do the packing yourself. Not only will this give you the opportunity to organize and possibly do some downsizing as you go, but it will save you money in the long run. When it comes to the actual move, however, there are many advantages to hiring moving help. The most obvious advantage is that it saves you the trouble of lifting and finding transport for your bulky, awkward, and heavy items. Not only that, but movers can usually get a job done in a fraction of the time it would take you.
There are some other benefits, too. If you are newly single and moving out of a house or apartment you shared with your partner, movers can put a buffer between you and your ex. It’s nice to be able to hire movers to do a job, and make a clean break from your old life so you can immediately begin to start fresh with you new life, in a new house.
As a single woman, there are many benefits of buying your own home. For one, it’s a great way to make a fresh start. It’s also smart to begin to build equity in something, as opposed to renting. As a woman, however, it’s important to know that you may be treated differently during the loan shopping and even home buying process. If you know this going in, you can better spot those who may underestimate you.
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