Single Ladies! 9 Tips for Buying Your First Home
Gone are the days when marriage or having kids had to precede buying a home. Today, single women make up one of the largest segments of home buyers in the nation—and that trend is only going to continue as more millennials come of age.
Women are waiting to tie the knot and start their families until later in life, but that’s not stopping them from investing in their futures. They’ve got great credit, they’re earning solid incomes, and they’re making the biggest purchase of their lives all on their own.
Are you considering joining the movement and buying a home solo? Here are a few ways to make the buying-while-single process a little easier:
1. Build up your credit.
Your credit score and credit history will play a big role in the mortgage rates you’ll qualify for, so start working to boost both before you buy a home. Pay down your debts, keep your paid-off accounts open, and make sure to pay your bills on time, every time. All of this will help you maximize your score and the rates you’re able to get.
2. Figure out how much you can afford.
Calculate your monthly take-home pay, and figure out what you’ll be able to afford for a mortgage payment. Remember, you’ll also have PMI, property taxes, escrow, homeowner’s insurance, and utility costs to cover, so factor those in as well. Use a loan mortgage calculator to help point you in the right direction.
3. Prep your paperwork early.
You’re going to need documentation of your bank accounts, income, and monthly debts and expenses, so start gathering up all your paperwork early. Specifically, you’ll want to pull your most recent pay stubs, tax returns, W-2s, bank account, and 401K statements, and anything related to investments or assets. Having these organized early will make the closing process go faster and more efficiently once you find the home you like.
4. Shop around for the right lender and real estate agent.
Your mortgage lender and Realtor® will help walk you through every step of the home buying process, so do some thorough research before choosing either. Look at reviews, make sure they’re experienced with first-time buyers, and ask about fees and rates before making your decision. Ask friends and family members for recommendations if you’re not sure where to start.
5. Get pre-approved.
Once you’ve found the right lender, go ahead and get pre-approved. You’ll need to fill out a short application, and if you meet the lender’s requirements, they’ll give you the green light for a loan and tell you how much they’re willing to give you. Use this number to guide your home search.
6. Save up a decent down payment.
Unlike the old myth says, down payments don’t need to be a full 20 percent of the sales price. In fact, many loans require just 3 percent. Still, the bigger down payment you’re able to make, the lower your monthly mortgage costs will be. Just make sure to leave enough in savings to cover any unforeseen home repairs or expenses that could come up.
7. Take your time.
Today’s market is hot, and there’s not a ton of inventory out there to choose from. Take your time finding the right property, at the right price, in the right location. After all, this could be your home for the next 10, 20 or even 30 years, so you want it to be the best fit possible. Just make sure you’re ready to act fast once you find the perfect place. Having your paperwork in order and a great Realtor® on your side will help.
8. Get a home inspection.
No matter how new or pristine your home looks, always invest a few hundred dollars in a professional home inspection. Not only does it ensure that the home is a good investment for you financially, but it also reassures you that it’s safe to inhabit. In the event issues are found, it may even give you a negotiating tool to lower the price or have the seller perform repairs before you move in. Either way, it’s a win-win for you!
9. Be responsive.
Your loan officer is likely going to need additional documentation along the way, so make sure to respond quickly to keep your closing on track. The faster you can provide the necessary information, the quicker your closing day will come—and soon enough, you’ll be the proud owner of a new home.
Buying a Home While Single? We Can Help
You don’t have to be married or have a family to buy a home. Want to join the movement of single women taking charge of their futures and buy now? Contact Embrace Home Loans today. We specialize in helping first-time buyers just like you make their dreams come true.