The Single Woman’s Guide To Home Ownership
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Today, nearly 20 percent of U.S. homebuyers are single women. But buying a home on your own is different than buying a home with your partner. Here’s what you need to know to make a safe and sound investment.
Assess Your Finances
First, you must take stock of your finances. Calculate your income, monthly expenses, savings, and any other investments you may have. This will give you a rough idea of how much you can spend on your mortgage. You can use this mortgage calculator to get an idea of what you can afford.
You’ll also need to find your individual credit score. According to this post from My Mortgage Insider, most mortgage lenders require a minimum credit score of 620. If you do not have a good enough score yet, you might want to wait and work on fixing your credit. Check out six steps to repair your credit from The Balance.
In the meantime, work on the following:
Saving up for your down payment.
Reducing your outstanding debt, like credit cards and loans.
MarketWatch advises considering a guarantor or co-purchaser to go in on your mortgage. Single homeowners – male or female – often need assistance in today’s markets.
Mutually Owned Property After A Break-Up
For those of you who own property with a former partner, there are some steps you can take to help your situation. According to Time.com, your best bet will likely be to sell the home. If you have a joint ownership mortgage agreement, you may have some terms worked out already, particularly if one of you wants to keep the house. For example, your ex may be able to buy you out.
However, it can get more complicated without joint ownership especially if there is a dispute about what percentage of the property each of you owns. Read this advice from NOLO.com on what to do in a more complicated situation.
Before You Invest
Before seeking a lender, you should be cautious about how much of a mortgage you take out. As a single income earner, you have less security than with a partner. Bankrate advises you acquire a mortgage for far less than the maximum you get approved for to make sure you can cover other important necessities, such as property taxes, homeowner insurance, HOA fees, etc. On top of that, you’ll want to make sure that you have money for emergencies and for your own future.
Your next move is work on getting your mortgage pre-approval according to this post from Quicken Loans. In this process, lenders let you know that you qualify for a mortgage. This is a critical step so you know exactly what sort of budget you have. After that, start researching the average listing price of homes in the area you want to live. For example, homes in Sevierville, Tennessee, have an average price of $228,000.
For some real-life examples of single women and their experiences with mortgages and costs, read this article from The Balance.
Your New Home
Once you’ve finalized your purchase, a little extra planning can help ensure that moving day goes smoothly. Here are some tips:
Pack necessities last and be sure to load those items in your car, if possible. This includes items such as a change of clothing, daily personal care items, medication and some dishware and utensils.
If you’ve contracted movers, be sure to re-read the contract when they show up to make sure nothing has changed without your approval.
Whether you enlist friends or a moving company to help, provide food and water to show your appreciation.
When unpacking, ensure that nothing has broken along the way. If so, contact your moving company immediately.
Set up bedrooms first so that everyone has a comfortable place to sleep when the day is over.
If you are buying your first house as a single woman, plan properly and invest wisely so you can enjoy your home years to come.