Sunday, January 26, 2014
A Single Woman's Guide to Buying a Home
By Aviva Friedlander
Finish school, find a job, get married, buy a house. In that order. While this is often still the traditional pattern of life events for many women, more and more single women are buying their first house earlier in their lives.
Whether it's because rents are high, home prices are affordable in the desired area or simply because of an aversion to living with roommates, single women are becoming a stronger force in the real estate market. In fact, according to the Joint Center for Housing Studies, more than one in five homebuyers in the U.S. is a single woman.
If you're single and ready to make the big purchase, make sure you know what it takes to go it alone.
Make sure you speak with an accountant or financial advisor to figure out what you can afford. Consider the amount you will need for the mortgage payment itself, property taxes, insurance premiums, utility bills, as well as money for repairs and maintenance. The main reason that buying early in life is a smart choice is appreciation value. Your home gains in value over time and when you sell it, that extra money can go a long way toward a down payment on a new home, or other investments.
If real estate is foreign to you and even if it isn't, you would be best off working with a real estate agent to help you find that perfect place and to guide you down the road to homeownership. Consider finding a real estate agent close to your age, and even better, one who is single and successful just like you. A good Realtor should also be able to recommend a trustworthy financial advisor, lawyer, inspector and contractor to help you with the process.
Buying a smaller place, with two bedrooms or less, has a number of advantages for a single. The lower purchase price will likely net you a mortgage payment that is lower than rent in that same area. You will save on utilities, maintenance and cleaning costs. You will have fewer rooms to furnish and decorate. And, when the time comes, it may be easier to sell when you are ready to move on.
Considering alternative dwellings