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A Single Woman's Guide to Home Buying

As many people are coming to recognize, now is an excellent time to buy a home and take advantage of the lower home prices and interest rates; provided you have the credit history to be approved for a mortgage loan. Many single women are now doing precisely that. On a national level, 21% of all home purchases are made by single women, compared to just 10% of home purchases that are made by single men. Buying a home as a single woman is somewhat different than making a purchase as a couple or as a single male buyer. Below are some tips that can help to guide you through the process if you are planning to buying a home as a single woman in the near future.

First, keep in mind that the mortgage payment is only part of the expenses you will be responsible for when you purchase a home. It can be very easy to be lured into the idea of purchasing a home, believing you will pay less per month than you would by renting. While this can be true in many instances, you still need to be prepared for other expenses. For instance, suppose you purchase a $150,000 home, make a 10% down payment and have a 5.3% interest rate on your mortgage loan. That would put your payments around $750 per month. This is not the total picture; however. That payment only covers the principal and interest and does not take into account any other home related expenses such as homeowners insurance, property taxes and private mortgage insurance. It also does not include the cost of home maintenance (Find out the details home buying cost here). Before purchasing a home, make absolutely sure that you will be able to handle all of the costs associated with owning the home along with any other debts you may have such as car loans and credit card payments so that you do not inadvertently find yourself with a monthly debt load you cannot handle. This is actually one of the most common mistakes that many single women tend to make when they purchase a home; overextending themselves financially. Consider all of the costs upfront and make a budget for yourself in order to avoid this common problem.

Second, make sure that you obtain all of the information and options available when shopping around for a mortgage. In some instances, there can be a tendency for loan officers not to lay out all of the available options because there is a perceived stereotype about single women that they simply do not understand the intricacies of financing. Take the initiative to check around with several mortgage lenders and avoid selecting a lender simply based on the recommendation of a friend or a family member. This will help you to obtain the best mortgage along with the lowest interest rate and associated fees.

Do not be afraid to ask for concessions from the sellers. Today it is possible for many buyers to obtain concessions from sellers repair problems that may turn up in an inspection as well as other matters. This can help to reduce the short-term maintenance on the home and save you money in the long run. You might also consider asking for a one-year warranty that will cover repairs on major systems and appliances within the home. An increasing number of sellers are now willing to cover the cost of such warranties.

When shopping around for a home, be sure to think in terms of the future as well as the present. What are your plans for the future and how will the home you are considering play into those plans? Are you considering relocating in the next three to five years? Do you see yourself continuing to live in the home for several years into the future? What about family plans? While it can be difficult to predict the future, it is a good idea to consider how well the home you are considering will still fit your needs not only today but a few years down the road as well.

Purchasing a home as a single woman can be an excellent investment that can serve you well into the future regardless of whether you continue to live in it on your own, start a family or possibly sell it at some point. The key is to make sure that you exercise all of your options, do your research and stand up for yourself throughout the negotiation process.



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