The 2020 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers revealed that single females made up 19% of home buyers last year. 19% of that 19% were first-time home buyers. These statistics show how more and more women are buying homes, even taking into account the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on employment in the previous year.
More and more women are holding significant financial positions in their households. Still, while there has been progress, it remains true that a gender gap exists even in the home buying market.
It has been a long road to change, but women continue to buy homes despite the challenges. As you prepare to purchase your own, there are important considerations to keep in mind to ensure you get the most of your new investment.
Getting Finances in Order
First, see where you stand financially so that you will have an idea of what kind of home you can afford to purchase.
Explore the different kinds of loans
You will be relying solely on your income to finance your home, so you need to look through payment options available to you to find one that is best for your financial capacity.
As a first-time homebuyer, you may qualify for a Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan that offers down payments at 3.5% of the purchase price of your home. It also qualifies individuals with lower credit scores, preferably with a 620 minimum. While this is one option, look at the other kinds of mortgages, too, to see where your financial status fits best.
The National Council of State Housing Agencies has a database of organizations in your state that can provide assistance to you throughout the process. They can offer advice, clarifications, and financial assistance for housing concerns should you need them.
Set your budget and stick to it
When you settle for a mortgage, that is an expense on top of your regular monthly expenses. As a solo homebuyer, your plan needs to take into account your debts while still leaving room for your living expenses.
Ideally, you should spend only up to 28% of your monthly gross income on your mortgage debts. Your gross monthly income is the total money you earn before the deduction of taxes and other payments. To compute how much that will be for you approximately, just multiply the amount of your income by 0.28.
Having a budget greatly helps you in the house-hunting process because it keeps your expectations in check. You learn to only look at houses that are within your price range.
There are several other matters to look into when planning the purchase of your first home. These are just as important as managing your finances beforehand.
Research the location
Since you will be on your own, do prior research about the area you are planning to move into. If you already have a neighborhood in mind, find out if there are nearby facilities such as parks, grocery stores, laundromats, and restaurants.
You should also know if there are nearby hospitals and police stations. For your safety, also take time to know about the crime rate of different locations.
Check out websites such as Street Advisor to see what people have said about specific areas in different states. This gives you testimonials from people who live there or have visited the place, aside from a quick summary of a location’s pros and cons.
Define your negotiables and nonnegotiables
Besides your budget, knowing what features of a home and what kind of neighborhood you want to live in helps you decide which house to buy. List down what you like and then see which of what you have written down are negotiables and nonnegotiables.
For example, if you have family members who regularly come over and stay with you, then you will need a spare room. If you have a child, you may need a nursery. You may also have physical conditions that will make it easier for you to live in certain kinds of houses, such as those with no stairs.
However, be reasonable with what you note as your needs. Check your nonnegotiables against your budget and see if some compromise is needed to find a home that is satisfactory and still within your budget.
Purchasing your first home is a great investment as you make these big decisions in your financially independent life. When you start looking for homes, never skimp on research so you can find a practical, suitable home for yourself.