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Tips to Take the Stress Out of First-Time Homebuying for Single Women
By: Jim McKinley – MoneywithJim.org
More single women are becoming first-time homebuyers every year. Currently, nearly 20 percent of U.S. homebuyers are single women. No matter your gender, purchasing a home on your own can be tricky because you have to rely on a single salary and make major decisions on your own. Though overwhelming at times, becoming a new homeowner will be an exciting and important milestone in your life.
Handling Mutually Owned Property
Managing a mutually owned properly after a divorce or breakup can be tricky, especially if both parties have different wishes for the home. The best thing to do is try to sell the home and split the profit. Be careful if your spouse wants to keep the home and make mortgage payments themselves. Your name will still be tied to the mortgage, which can make it difficult to get a second mortgage or even find a place to rent. You will also be held accountable for missed mortgage payments, which can negatively affect your credit score.
Determine Where Your Finances Are At
Before you start looking for houses, you have to assess your finances. You’ll have more housing options and receive a better mortgage rate if your finances are in good health. According to Discover.com, you’ll need to show lenders that you can make an adequate down payment on your home and that you can meet monthly payments. This means your credit score should be in good standing before you request a loan. You will also need to build up sufficient savings to make a down payment. Don’t forget about other one-time homebuying expenses such as closing costs, real estate agent fees, home inspections and moving costs.
Look for Cheaper Home Options
Home ownership can seem impossible if you’re short on funds. But according to MarketWatch, there are plenty of down payment assistance programs that can help you. Some loan companies allow down payments as low as 3 percent or even none at all.
Look into cheaper home options, such as foreclosed homes or fixer-uppers. Fixer-uppers in need of simple cosmetic touch-ups can save you money without requiring too much extra work. Foreclosed homes can be found by talking to banks, mortgage lenders or government agencies. You can also find them through online searches or by scanning your local newspaper. Just be aware that foreclosures involve a lot of waiting and paperwork as you work with the bank to complete the buying process.
Make Careful Considerations Before Investing in a New Home
Whether you plan on living in your home long-term or treating your property as an investment, look for a few key features before purchasing. You want your home to be in an area where shops, amenities, entertainment and other services are in close proximity. Nearby local schools will help you find interested renters and future homebuyers. Make sure there are nearby employment options as well. Importantly, find out what kind of future development projects are planned for the area and whether they will increase or decrease your property value.
Explore the Area
When you finally find your dream home, be sure to explore the neighborhood to make sure it’s safe. Walk around during the day and night so you can make sure you will always feel secure around your home. Consider what kinds of security features are available and talk to neighbors about their own experiences in the neighborhood. You may be more comfortable in an upper-unit condo or a home in a gated community.
Simplify Moving Day
Moving into a new home can be a daunting task when you’re alone, so don’t be afraid to enlist the help of your friends and family. It’s cheaper to rent a moving van than hire movers if you have a few people willing to help you out. Come up with a moving checklist so you can remember everything you have to do such as transferring your TV service and updating automatic bill payments with your new address.
Buying a new home as a single woman means you have to take on the full extent of responsibilities and decision-making. However, you also have the freedom to purchase any house you want without making compromises. Although it may mean a bit of extra work, buying a home alone is a rewarding learning experience and one that can even turn profitable in the right market.