Five Tips for Single Women Home Buyers
By Elli Davis, June 22, 2012
Women rule the world! While this statement may perhaps be a little too brave, it is no longer as unlikely or unimaginable as it was just a couple of decades ago — quite the contrary. Women seem to be becoming more and more independent in every sphere of life and home buying is no exception. An increasing number of single women are thinking of purchasing or are already purchasing their own home. Are you one of them? Congratulations, here are a few tips that could help you!
1. Do Not Spend More Than You Can Afford
Before the big purchase, you should sit down and think about how much you can actually spend. Remember, life does not end with buying a home; you cannot spend all your money at once and then go on with empty pockets until you pay off your mortgage. Do not forget about monthly costs and hidden costs, such as homeowners' insurance, property taxes, and home maintenance either. Be responsible and only buy what you can afford.
If you want to live downtown but can only afford purchasing in the suburbs, you can either wait on the purchase and save up more money or get used to the idea of living in an area you favour less. You should certainly dream big, but at the same time spend only what you can afford. Try not to break your monthly budget; it would be stressful and all the joy from owning your new home will disappear.
2. Get a Good Agent
I believe that professional help is very important, especially for first-time buyers. Choose a real estate agent wisely; you do not have to pick the first one you meet. You can ask friends for a recommendation or try to find some information online. If you are a single woman purchasing a property, it may be a good idea to choose a female agent; perhaps she has purchased a home by herself and can give you extra insight on the process.
3. Research Your New Neighbourhood
Location is important! Think about where you want to spend many years to come. Do you want to live right next to a great bakery, a fabulous yoga studio, a cinema, or a large shopping centre? Do you want to feel safe when walking home by yourself in the evening? Research the neighbourhoods of your city, look at the facilities they offer, and consider whether they are clean/safe/entertaining enough for you. Moreover, you can check out specific condominium complexes and evaluate their security systems. It is more difficult with houses, but you will get a general idea about safety in the area once you visit, ask around, and search for some information.
4. What Do You Need in a Home?
Before you purchase a home, you need a list of what exactly you need in your home. How many bedrooms do you require? Do you work from home and need an office? Do you enjoy cooking and can you not imagine living in an apartment with a tiny kitchen? Is a big bathroom a must-have for you? Think it through and search for a place to suit your needs. It is not right to purchase a home just because you want to buy something. Remember: you are going to spend a lot of time in that house/condo, so it has to be the right fit for you.
5. Talk to Other Single Women
Women Conversing by Kheel Center
Since the percentage of single women purchasing homes is so high, I am positive you know a woman who has gone through the process already. Talk to her! Who better to give you advice than a person who has experienced it already? Whatever problem you encounter, she might know the solution or have a suggestion to help you find one. Do not be too shy to ask; many women will appreciate that you are interested in hearing their story. In some aspects, double-income homes are greatly advantaged compared to single purchasers, so ask those who have bought their home alone how they coped with the situation. Their advice might save you some trouble.
Women Buyers Then and Now
Today, women truly are independent and do not stop living after a divorce or wait around to find 'the one' so that they can buy a home. In the developed world, women of the 21st century are well educated and greatly successful in a number of positions. Female leaders are not unusual anymore. Purchasing a home is a fantastic investment and women are well aware of that. Only a couple of decades ago, the situation was completely different, however. I still remember when I purchased my first condominium in the early 1980's and it was still very unusual for a single woman to be buying her own properties at that time.
It is incomparably easier for a single people of the 21st century to purchase their own house or condo than it was a few decades ago. Builders now take the needs and wishes of singles into consideration a lot more. The same goes for mortgage lenders. It is no surprise that single buyers form a considerable percentage of all purchases. As a recent study conducted by Genworth Financial shows, one quarter of Canadian home purchasers in 2011/2012 will be single. The majority will be women — you can bet on that.
As the newest Annual RBC Homeownership Poll showed, women were likelier than men to be first-time homebuyers among Canadians who aim to purchase a home in the near future. The data claims that 49 per cent of women and 35 per cent of men plan to be first-time homebuyers. Just like Canada as a whole, the Toronto area is experiencing a single female buyers’ boom as well. Dianne Usher, a Royal LePage vice-president and division manager, has noted that in this decade, single women represent approximately 20 per cent of Toronto's housing market, up from almost zero in the 1990s. What an unbelievable change! Women generally live longer than men and thus the trend of single women purchasing homes is likely to keep increasing.
What Are Women Looking For?
Save Place by Monado
The rising number of single women purchasing their own home is only natural: people today are getting married when they are older and more marriages end in divorces than a few decades ago. Many people dream of having a place they can call their own regardless of their marital status. Often a move is also supported by the need for a bigger or smaller home and the desire to live closer to one's work, school, friends, or family. Single women in particular usually want to live in safe places located within walking distance of transit and appreciate the added security of condos, including security cameras, for instance. The typical female buyer can be described as 33 years old and eager to purchase a place that is already built and to be able to look out of the windows immediately.
Location indeed is a very important factor for women; they tend to choose a place located in the city instead of the suburbs and will hardly agree with moving to a bad neighbourhood. While single women do prefer a place with two bedrooms or more, they can get used to living in smaller spaces. Condos with security are the most popular among women; they tend to choose them over single-family homes. Nowadays, single women make up approximately 20 per cent of real estate transactions in Canada and more than 30 per cent of condo purchases. Condos are therefore the top trend among women.
What appeals to single women also appeals to buyers of other demographics. According to Jim Ritchie, president of Canada’s biggest condo builder, Tridel, it was women's "significant buying power and exacting standards that have helped drive the move to granite and stainless steel designer kitchens, better bathroom storage, and even lighting — especially over the makeup mirror." I can only agree. Women often have higher expectations for their home than men, but rising standards are never a bad thing. Better homes are just as beneficial for women as they are for single men or families with children.
I have to admit that the experience of purchasing a property by myself was one of the biggest factors motivating me to become a realtor. Like most women who purchase their own homes, I wanted to feel safe and financially secure. Waking up somewhere you can call your own for the first time is one of the best feelings in the world.
All I can say now is good luck, ladies! If you have something crucial to add to the article, do not hesitate to share your story with me in a comment!