The Single Ladies Guide to Buying

Hi, Ladies! If you’re reading this, you’re probably interested in buying a home as a single woman, so I’d like to share my story about buying a home as a single lady to inspire you and other single women out there to go for it. I was 24 years old when I bought my first condo, and I had already been working in the real estate industry for three years. I can remember talking to my coworkers at the time about paint colors, and I decided to paint the biggest wall in my new place Pepto-Bismol pink. I told them, “I love pink and someday if I get married, I will have to think about someone else’s taste. I’m pretty sure that the guy I will plan on marrying will be opposed to a bright pink living room, so I am just going to do it now.” I loved that condo and my pink wall rocked!

Ladies, I need to talk to you about something serious and this may sound like a crazy thing to say, but do not let a new love interest keep you from buying a home on your own. I almost did and I have seen so many women put their lives on hold to see if he’s the one. If he is the one, he will be happy that you were smart enough to buy an investment property instead of throwing your money away renting. You buying a home on your own will not threaten him; he will be supportive and excited for you. I understand that this is a lot to go through on your own, but when you have the right agent that truly cares about you and your interests, you will not be alone. He or she will be right there holding your hand and making sure you know exactly what to expect in every step of the process. Many of my past clients who were single women as well decided to take the leap with me and buy their own property, and they have become some of my best friends to this day.

So, here’s to all of you single ladies out there taking this huge step forward, and investing in your peace of mind and sense of home today, and your financial freedom tomorrow!

Don’t Be Afraid

First things first —do not be scared to buy a house as a single woman! More and more single ladies are buying homes on their own and making great investments. More single ladies buy homes than single men, and I like to think it’s because we are brave and forward thinking, and perhaps a little less afraid of commitment. Asa single lady, a condo may seem more affordable, but remember that you can always rent out part of your new home to help pay the mortgage. If maintaining an entire home by yourself seems intimidating, don’t think that fear only belongs to women — plenty of men are intimidated by the upkeep of a house on their own too. The good thing is that there are plenty of professionals just a phone call away, and I can offer you some trustworthy and affordable referrals in the area. Otherwise, a townhouse may be a great compromise since you still get the feel of a regular house without all of the required maintenance. Just don’t let fear dictate your choice.

Don’t Wait On a Man

If you can admit it, I can too —we’ve all worried about meeting a man who wants to sweep us off our feet, but doesn’t want to live in the place we’ve just bought. Well, forget it! You can’t predict the future, but you sure can set yourself up for success. Investing in the property was one of the best decisions I ever made as a single woman. And if you do meet Mr. Right, you have a lot of options. If the place you’ve bought for yourself doesn’t fit a couple, you can rent it out or sell it all together and buy a new place with your new partner. There is also the chance that the home you’ve made for yourself suits him just fine too (you may just need to change a wall color here or there), and don’t worry — the home still belongs to you unless you legally change the terms of ownership. The best advice I can give you is to envision your perfect life with your soulmate, and then go after it on your own until he comes along! Don’t wait on anyone else for your own happiness.

Don’t Spend It All

I know it’s tempting to put all of your life savings into the home of your dreams, but I highly recommend you keep some of your savings intact in order to live the lifestyle of your dreams. Just because the bank will lend you more than you thought doesn’t mean you have to spend it all. Make sure you keep your nest egg happy, so you can continue living a flexible, fun single lady’s life that makes your married girlfriends jealous!

Do Include a Loved One

Being a single, independent woman doesn’t mean you have to buy your own home all alone. This is a big decision and probably one of the biggest investments you’ll ever make in your life. That’s why I recommend you bring in your best friend, your sister, or your mom to help you decide. Having the opinions of people you trust and admire can make all the difference when searching for a home of your own. Plus, they can make sure you keep your priorities straight and help you choose the right home for you.

Don’t Feel Like You Need a Second Bedroom Just Because

I’ve met plenty of single ladies looking for a home who insist on having a second bedroom just in case they meet the man of their dreams tomorrow and pop out a baby the following day. Again, don’t make decisions based on an unpredictable future. Plan for the now. The money you’ll end up paying for that extra bedroom will add up fast. Only go for a two-bedroom or larger home if you work from home and need a designated office, or use it for roommate(s) who can help you pay off the mortgage! Put your best interests first. My clients often have concerns about the long term value of a one bedroom condo. However, in this market with the statistics showing that people are waiting longer to get married and buying alone more often, we just don’t have a problem reselling a one bedroom. If you were in the middle of North Dakota, I could understand the concern.

With that being said, if you can afford a two bedroom or even a large single family home, go for it! Just make sure you look at the days on market along with the rental values to rent your home type, and of course the sales comparables. My second home was a five bedroom home and I rented out four of the bedrooms, enabling me to live rent free. By the end, I was up to $2,600 cash flow positive for the next seven years until I moved in with my current husband. I personally love being surrounded by people, and my roommates (that I found via Craigslist by the way!) became some of my best friends. I know this is not the right option for some of you, but itis definitely something to consider.

Do Focus on Location

The one thing about being a single woman buying a house alone obviously means you’ll be living alone (unless you get a roommate). This is why it is so important to choose a location that you love and that supports the kind of lifestyle you want to live. When I bought my first condo, I didn’t want to spend the extra money to be closer to the action, but it was so far out of town that I ended up spending a lot of money going back and forth to meet my friends. If this doesn’t sound like much fun to you, then make sure you pick a neighborhood that enables you to socialize when you’re lonely without breaking your budget. I do not regret my decision to buy at a price I was comfortable with, but I did end up moving into the five bedroom house in a location closer to the city much sooner than if I had just spent a little more money to be closer the first time around.

Do Put Safety & Security First

Let’s face it—in today’s world, women aren’t as safe as men. Men don’t understand what it’s like to walk down the street alone and worry about their safety; men don’t keep mace on their key ring or feel the need to look over their shoulder several times in the parking garage. This is just the unfortunate reality of our present society, but that doesn’t mean you have to run away and hide. Just be smart about your safety and security. Pick a condo building with a doorman or invest in a security system for your new house. Definitely walk around your prospective neighborhood in the daytime AND at nighttime. Just make sure you feel safe to be on your own and do what makes you feel the most comfortable. You’ll be happier in the long run.

Often people ask me, “Who lives here?” Real estate agents are not able to answer questions like this because of fair housing laws, but we can help you figure it out yourself. I recommend going to the closest grocery store to meet your neighbors. People tend to shop where they live, so the grocery store gives you an awesome perspective. We will also be willing to knock on a few neighbors’ doors with you, so you can ask their opinions on the neighborhood. We understand that even with all of this due diligence, you may still feel a little nervous. That’s why the Keri Shull team offers a Buy Back Guarantee if you are unhappy for any reason.

Do Make it Affordable

I’m not going to lie and tell you that buying a home on a single income isn’t difficult, but it is definitely possible and so worth it. Yes, you’re paying the mortgage and the fees on your own, but that also means you get the entire profit to yourself when you sell. Just plan ahead to make sure you understand all of the costs associated with buying a house and an emergency funds account for the unknown. Buy a home that’s right for you and right for your bank account. Empower yourself, woman!

If none of this has deterred you from wanting to buy a home as a single lady, then good for you — you’re a badass woman who don’t need no man. I’d love to keep sharing my experiences with you and help you find the home of your dreams, so send me and my team a message. Women support women! We’re here for you, gal.

  • How much space suits your needs? If you’re an empty nester now and three of your four bedrooms haven’t been used in years, what are you waiting for? At this point, it’s probably cheaper to put your guests up in a nearby hotel than pay the mortgage on a house with more bedrooms than you really need. We can empathize with your reluctance to leave the home that you raised your children in, but just remember that your family will understand and recognize the benefits that will come from downsizing.
  • What could you do with the extra money? Chances are you’ve tied up a lot of equity in your house and will make a profit on selling it. Can you envision yourself traveling to all of the places you’ve always dreamt of with that extra cash? Could you even retire from work a few years earlier? This can be an exciting opportunity for you to switch up your lifestyle.
  • Is maintenance bringing you down? A big house needs a lot of upkeep, and sometimes the fixes can be unpredictable in cost. On the flip side, condo fees are usually cheaper than regular maintenance on a house and someone else gets to handle all of the work for you. Getting older is a part of life and there is nothing to be ashamed of by deciding to make your life easier and more convenient.
  • How often do you expect company? Some of our clients insist on keeping the big house because they want their kids to have space when they come to visit, but how often are they really visiting? Is a couple of visits a year really worth that mortgage and all the upkeep? Most condominiums come with a common space to host parties and large groups, and trust us— your kids would rather stay in your new guest room than their childhood bedroom!
  • Do you dream of a new neighborhood? Downsizing can put you in the neighborhood of your dreams, within walking distance to shops, parks, and restaurants. You can get rid of the car and the commute, and put yourself in the location you’ve always wanted. Perhaps you’d like to be a part of a community with people who share similar interests with you, and the neighborhood you’ve been living in just doesn’t match up with your lifestyle anymore.
  • What kind of lifestyle do you want? The most significant adjustment to downsizing is the lifestyle change. If hosting backyard BBQ’s and huge family holidays is the lifestyle you wish to keep, you may not be ready to downsize yet, and that’s okay. However, if you want more time for yourself and more spending money, consider which lifestyle you want more at this stage in your life.

Our Downsizing Advice

  • When in doubt, throw it out! In order to downsize your home, you’ll need to downsize your stuff too. Throw out anything that is broken or unusable. It’s time to finally get rid of that old pile of magazines, expired paperwork, and other junk.
  • Donate extra stuff. If you have things that aren’t junky enough to be thrown out, consider donating them. Clothes that don’t fit anymore, extra appliances, and old equipment might be of use to someone in need even though you don’t have use for it anymore.
  • Avoid stairs. If you’re looking to downsize long-term, consider your body’s limitations and choose a one level place to save your knees from stairs and avoid potential falls. All of us will experience a change in our physical capabilities as we grow older. It is better to be proactive than to wait until you have a real health issue forcing you to make a change.
  • Phase out the collections. Your new, smaller place won’t have room for your old Beanie Baby collection, so sell it online and make some quick cash while saving space. We promise you’ll feel lighter once you’ve gotten rid of all of your unnecessary possessions.
  • One set is enough. Choose the best set of dishes, linens, and silverware, and then give the rest away to goodwill or your family. Treat yourself — and someone else!
  • Internalize memories. You can’t possibly keep every ticket stub or greeting card ever given to you, even if it was from your child when they were five. Remember that memories are kept alive not by things, but by the memories themselves. Only take the most important stuff with you. The rest will stay with you in your memory.
  • Rent a storage locker. If you have things you just can’t possibly part with but don’t have room in your new, smaller home, consider renting a small storage locker. Choose a relatively cheap option that safely secures your things in a climate controlled and waterproof space.
  • Organize important paperwork. Make sure you didn’t throw out legal documents or forms proving tax history when you were cleaning the house. You still need to hang onto some of it, and your storage locker can house those files too.
  • Donate extra stuff. If you have things that aren’t junky enough to be thrown out, consider donating them. Clothes that don’t fit anymore, extra appliances, and old equipment might be of use to someone in need even though you don’t have use for it anymore.
  • Organize important paperwork. Make sure you didn’t throw out legal documents or forms proving tax history when you were cleaning the house. You still need to hang onto some of it, and your storage locker can house those files too.

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