Nearly 20 percent of US homebuyers are single women. Almost a quarter of the market, yet we aren’t taught much about what it means to be a homeowner. Here is everything you need to know to navigate purchasing a home, presented by Walking Through Life as a Woman.
Mutually Owned Property
Unfortunately, relationships sometimes end in divorce or breakup. If you have mutually owned property with an ex, you may be left wondering what to do. Fortunately, you have a few options. If you have a decent relationship, you can try cohabitation. Even if you’re on good terms, you will need to set parameters including who pays what and when, who gets which bedroom, how to handle if dates come over, and more.
However, often when relationships break down, it’s easier to live separately. In such a case, you could buy out your ex’s share of the home or vice versa. If you cannot agree on a price, get a professional appraisal, or several, and take an average. You may also choose to sell the house together, but make sure an attorney looks over everything before committing to it. It’s up to you what the best solution is, but make sure you take time to think it over.
If you are looking to buy a new home, you need to understand what you can afford. Take a look at your annual income and credit score and start from there. In addition, you can tap into online calculators to provide you with a price range. This will give you a decent idea of what sort of loan you can get. You want your overall monthly payments to be equivalent to or less than one-third of your income.
You still need to be able to pay your other bills. In addition to your utilities, you’ll need to think about paying for internet and cable television (since there are quite a few options for TV and internet in the San Diego area, try to shop around for the best deal). Last but not least, factor in food and other expenses. When purchasing a home, you don’t want to become “house poor.”
Your savings will need to be significant to put a healthy down payment and pay your closing costs. Look at what the current average APR is, and decide how long your loan should be. Fifteen years? Twenty? Thirty? Don’t go with the first rate you receive. Shop around to find the best mortgage for your needs.
Keep in mind that it’s possible to reduce your monthly mortgage payments by paying for points. This involves paying your lender a fee when you close which ensures a lower interest rate. Typically, the longer you plan to live in your home, the more likely paying for points will help you save long term.
What to Consider
There is so much to consider before making a purchase, no matter how great of a deal you find. Make sure everything is in working order from the plumbing to the electricity, and inspect every corner and closet. Make sure the appliances aren’t too old, as replacing them can be pricey. Get a home inspector to look things over and make sure all is sound.
Also, consider the neighborhood you will live in. What are the crime rates? Do you see friendly neighbors? How close is it to your work? A home in the countryside may be cheaper but might pose a problem if you lose your current employment. If there is a homeowners association, do some research on their requirements.
Once you’ve had an offer accepted, it’s time to prepare for your move. You should start as soon as you can. If you can get friends to help, that’s fantastic, but don’t depend on them as you never know what will happen and who may back out. If your budget allows it, you can hire movers and even professional packers. Look for places to get boxes for free including Craigslist.
Label your boxes meticulously to make unpacking easier. Keep an overnight bag ready for the big day so you don’t need to search for your bed linens, toothbrush, and outfit for the next day after an exhausting move. Most importantly, plan your route beforehand and make sure that the weather will be decent on moving day.
With a bit of research and plenty of prep, you can have a smooth moving process. Buying a new home may seem daunting, but it will be worth it in the end. No matter your circumstances, there is a home out there for you.
By Elena Stewart
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