Oct 26 2017

By Jim Vogel

 
Real estate trends are always changing. Who's buying, what's selling, geography, pricing ... it's all seemingly constantly in flux. According to a recent study by the
National Association of Realtors, the most recent data outlines some surprising trends. One of those is that single females are buying more homes than ever.
 
The reason for this trend in homebuyer relationship status is not entirely clear. It could be partially due to the fact that more women are raising children on their own. This would also explain why the number of married couples buying properties together is decreasing. Rapidly rising rent and the possibility of increasing interest rates are a couple of potential factors. Steady job growth and less stringent credit requirements are a couple more.
 
Still, there are challenges for any single person who wants to purchase a home. It's more difficult to get a home loan on one income with one credit score, for example. Without that second income, you're also more at risk of defaulting if you happen to lose your job. That's why single people should approach the process a little differently.
 
Phone a Friend
One of the advantages to buying a home as part of a couple is that you can walk through the process together. From researching neighborhoods and viewing homes to discussing finances and reviewing contracts. Hopefully you have a reputable, experienced real estate agent you feel comfortable with, but that isn't quite the same.
 
Throughout the process, single homebuyers should consult with friends or family members they trust. These people can visit homes with you, help you negotiate, or just serve as a sounding board for your concerns. They can also celebrate with you when you finally find the perfect home of your own.
 
Budget Wisely
Good news! It is easier now than ever for a single person to get a home loan. If you have a good job and a great credit score, your likelihood of being approved is high. In fact, the bank may offer to let you borrow even more money than you thought. While it may be tempting to utilize all your borrowing power, you should spend some time figuring out how much house you can actually afford.

One way to do it is to pick a monthly mortgage payment you're comfortable with, and use that to determine a reasonable house value. Be sure to factor in how much you spend on other bills and utilities, as well as entertainment. Then leave yourself some room for unexpected expenses, like home repairs, illness, or job loss. The more savings you have, the better off you are. The last thing you want is to be house poor
 
Be Confident
Single women still face issues like the wage gap, lesser retirement benefits, and, in some cases, discrimination. There is  some evidence that women even pay more for loans than men with the same qualifications. Even the accidentally-demeaning question, "Where's your husband?" can make a woman feel ill at ease.
 
But women shouldn't let these circumstances keep them from achieving their personal and financial goals. The truth is, regardless of your relationship status or gender, the market treats everyone the same. With the right research, good planning, and sound decision-making, you can be sure your investment will return at the same rate as anyone else's.
 
So, whether you're a young professional looking for a sound financial investment, a single mother who wants to raise her two kids in a house with a yard, homeownership welcomes you. As with anything worth doing in life, the challenges of finding, buying, and maintaining a home abound ... but so do the rewards.