The home-buying process as it’s usually portrayed in advertising campaigns is largely targeted towards families and couples. Currently, however, just 40 percent of first-time buyers are married couples, which according to Zillow research is a dramatic drop from 52 percent of buyers in the 1980’s.
The home buying experience for a single owner might be somewhat similar to that of any buyers, but there are several, small differences in how a single individual might approach this process.
Following is everything you need to know about going solo 5 steps to buying a home on your own.
Align Yourself With The Right Agent
Don’t make the mistake of hiring the first real estate agent that you stumble across when searching the web. Use social media to post a query and get insights from families and friends and spend some time searching for local agents and reading through the reviews of these professionals and their services. Also, check around for positive reviews of agents that have been posted by solo buyers rather than couples.
Once you’ve identified a few prospective agents, schedule in-person meetings with each one. There are a number of questions that you should ask in this visit, so don’t let an agent do all the talking.
Learn More About Your Resources
So, you’ve found the perfect agent for your needs after having met with several. Good job! But even with a good agent, you’ll still have to do quite a bit of research on your own.
Don’t expect your agent to explain each and every detail of the home buying process. While a good agent should and probably will explain things for your benefit, it’s still your own responsibility to make sure that you’re well-informed. Go the library and take a look at a few online resources to learn more about buyers’ rights and the different home-buying programs that exist.
Once you’ve calculated your budget, make sure to account for the recurring ownership costs that you’ll be taking on. Try to think beyond your closing costs and your mortgage payment and factor in expenses such as home repairs and ongoing home maintenance.
And, if you’re anxious about having your loan applications denied because you’re purchasing a home all by yourself, don’t be. Although qualifying for a home loan with a single income could mean that you have to buy a smaller home, it certainly doesn’t mean that you aren’t qualified to buy a home at all. Actually, banks are not legally allowed to discriminate against prospective home buyers based upon their marital status.
Solo buyers who wish to purchase a home with a single income should think about applying for FHA loans given that buyers with stellar credit can usually qualify for more modest down payments.
Pick The Perfect Home For Your Needs
Are you searching for a home that you can eventually grow into? Would you rather purchase a small, starter home instead that you can rent out further down the road? No matter what your current or future needs may be, be mindful of the fact that you always have options in terms of the type of house you can buy.
Opting to purchase a townhouse or condo could result in a lower mortgage, but you also have to account for storage fees and the ongoing costs of homeowners’ association dues. And although a small place will leave you with less to maintain, routine home maintenance is still essential.
Buying a home on your own doesn’t mean that all of your decisions have to be solo. Take a few close friends or family members who have recently bought their own homes along with you and ask for honest feedback.
If you want to move to the suburbs so you can get more house for your money, make sure that you’ll actually be content once you’re located far away from the heart of the city and all of your favorite downtown attractions. Try a practice commute from a potential home to your job, your favorite stores, friends’ homes and your preferred dining establishments. If you find the commute to be too taxing, start narrowing your prospects down.
After you’ve identified several neighborhoods that you love, check out the local crime statistics. There are lots of web-based resources that can help you determine whether or not an area is safe. As you check out different communities and homes, see whether or not security gates and enclosed backyards are common features. Given that no one will likely be in the home whenever you’re gone, you should always keep security precautions in mind while shopping.
Submit An Informed Offer
When purchasing solo, you probably won’t have someone on hand to help you with negotiations. This is why it’s so important to have a good agent on board. Ask your agent how a potential offer will stack up to recent sales data and inquire whether there might be any potential concessions from a seller.
Whether you’re still in the very formative stages of buying your first home or are newly single and ready to buy a home all by yourself for the very first time, these tips will ensure that you’re savvy, smart and capable of landing a property that you’re guaranteed to love.