If buying a house had been on your “someday when I’m married or in a relationship” list, then think again. There’s no reason to delay your dreams because you are single. Yes, it’s much easier financially to buy a home when you’re part of a dual-income household, and if you’re doing it on your own, you’ll need to diligently save, but millions of women have done it. Female home ownership is on the rise — the number of women who owned homes on their own in 2019 stood at 61%, up substantially from 50% in 1990.
The real estate market is incredibly competitive right now, but it’s still a great time to dive in and see what you find, and start putting pen to paper to see what you can afford, and where you might want to put down roots. This week we chatted with six inspiring women who bought their houses on their own — we hope their stories will empower you to make moves, and make your real estate dreams happen wherever you are in life.
Research and ask around
While 2020 was a rough year for everyone, it was particularly difficult for Samantha Radach, who made the decision to end her marriage. After splitting up from her ex in California, she started exploring new locations where she could have a fresh start. Fate drew her attention to Nashville.
After a few hours on Zillow, Radach was shocked to find she could buy plenty of houses at a fraction of the cost of her current California zip code. “I booked a plane ticket to Nashville to come and check it out, and ironically, one of my clients grew up in Franklin — just 20 minutes south of Nashville. They told me I should check it out, and one of my dad’s friends also mentioned it as a place to look at,” she says.
She found what would become her home and booked an appointment to see it the next day. “As we drove away, I knew it was my house, and as the cost in the Nashville area was so much less, my mortgage was actually less than my rent in California, so it was a no-brainer to buy,” she continues. “It was a risk, but I figured if I really hated it, I could sell up or rent it out. Turns out, I love it here.”
The whole experience was empowering — albeit a little scary — but it taught her she could do anything. She closed on her home in 2020, at the age of 33. For those women looking to purchase a place of their own, she recommends doing your research and not being afraid to ask around. “Collect as much information as possible and weed through it to make sure that you feel good about the decisions you’re making,” she says. And of course, make sure you follow your gut, too.
Get your finances in order ASAP
After living in San Francisco for ten years, Elise Armitage was ready for a change. She was getting frustrated with paying thousands of dollars in rent each month, and wanted to be building wealth in real estate. However, the prices made it impossible to buy a home in the city, or even just across the bridge in the East Bay.
“I knew that I wanted more space and a house that would be great for entertaining, and since I work for myself and no longer have to commute, I started looking to other areas in California, and Napa ticked all the boxes,” she shares.
She closed on her home in 2020, at the age of 31. “There were definitely times where I wondered if it would ever happen for me, so to finally achieve this long-time goal of mine felt great,” she added.
Armitage’s best advice is to prioritize your money management from the get-go, as soon as you think you might want to buy something. “Get your finances in order so you can get pre-approved and really understand your buying power. Once I did that, I felt so much more confident,” she says. “It also helped me not waste time looking at houses that were outside of my price range.”
Be honest about your motivation to buy
After having sticker shock at rent prices in her area, Lauren Anastasio knew it was time to invest in real estate. bought a house primarily because she had sticker shock at the cost of rent in her area. “It seemed illogical to be spending a higher portion of my income on rent when I was confident I would be staying in the area for the long-term,” she says of her home in Delaware.
She closed on her home in 2019, at the age of 34. Her best advice to other women on this same journey is to be honest about your motivation to buy. “If you want to buy a home because you genuinely want to be a homeowner and you’re ready to commit to one location for at least a few years, you should go for it,” she says.
Lean on your support system
After going through a divorce at the age of 35, Olivia Howell closed on her first home. She refinanced the home she previously owned with her husband and decided she wanted to stay local. “I very much wanted to buy the house on my own, as we love our street, neighborhood, school district — and it was the only place my children knew as home,” she shared. “As someone who owns her own businesses, I was a little nervous about the process of purchasing it on my own, but it worked out, and I was incredibly proud of myself.”
Not only was she able to provide her kids with stability, but she gave herself a confidence boost by investing in real estate and believing in her business and abilities. For other women looking to start over, Howell urges them to lean on their support system. “I loved the mortgage broker I ended up working with, and he boosted my confidence from the start that we’d get through the journey together and everything would work out,” she says.
You don’t have to wait on a partner to make your dreams come true
After traveling the world for two years, Jessica Tatham decided to call Boston home. However, with the pandemic, she started to crave more space. With an ultimate goal to own an animal sanctuary and farm, she decided to make a move to Asheville, North Carolina, to grow some roots and be closer to friends and family. “I had been renting for more than ten years and was finally ready to own something of my own,” she shares. “The housing prices in the Asheville area were skyrocketing, and with so many people moving to the area and getting out of the cities, it seemed like a great investment opportunity to buy my house.”
She closed on her home in January 2022, at the age of 29. Signing on the dotted line might have felt like a significant commitment (because it is!) but moving into her house made her happier than she expected. “I’m so excited that I get to decorate the whole house based on my taste and as the house is starting to become home, I feel very proud of myself that I did it all on my own,” she says.
Tatham says to not doubt yourself if you want to buy something on your own. “When the thought first entered my head, I remember thinking that it was so against the norm for a single woman to buy a house. I personally didn’t know anyone that had done it, and it seemed like something only couples did,” she says. “But after looking into it, I found out that more people buy who are single than you think.”
Shop around for your broker and lender
Lauren Hunter dreamed of owning a home for as long as she can remember. As someone who works in interior design, her head was full of visions for furniture, wallpaper, plants, dinner parties, and a backyard for her dog, Ruby. She had planned to move from New York City to Austin several years before the pandemic, but life, however, had different plans. At the age of 35, Lauren was diagnosed with stage-3 breast cancer, and the next few years became focused on her mastectomy, egg retrieval and freezing, chemotherapy, radiation treatments, reconstructive surgery, and myriad other challenges related to her recovery.
As she neared the age of 40, she was finally able to focus on relocation again, but found that houses in Austin were routinely selling for $100,000 to $200,000 over asking price. Eventually, though, she found “the one,” and was able to put in an offer that was accepted.
“Every day I come home, step over my threshold, and I’m greeted by my happy dog Ruby. At that moment, II fall in love with my home all over again. My late Dad always loved Austin; I like to think he was with me on this journey, rooting for me from the sidelines,” she continues. “Having my house and roots here, I feel I’m closer to him too, he would’ve loved here, and I think he would’ve been proud of me too. I wish he was here to see it, even though in a way I think he is anyway.”
For other women going through this sometimes tumultuous experience, Hunter says to shop around for both your realtor and your lender since it’s essential to feel connected and have trust. “Do not feel bad for selecting the right one for you, or shopping around, or interviewing every broker in your city,” she continues. “Don’t settle because of some faux obligation to some friend’s recommendation, or because the broker bought you a coffee when you met. Go with your gut.”
READ MORE ON HERMONEY:
- The Ultimate 2022 Checklist for First Time Homebuyers
- 14 First-Time Homebuyer Mistakes To Avoid
- A Complete Look at Homebuyer’s New List Of Requirements
- As Virtual Home Buying And Selling Become The New Norm, Here’s How To Do It Right
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