Congratulations! You’ve finally taken the step you’ve dreamed about for years – buying your first home. It’s a big decision, and not one you should take lightly. As a single first time woman homebuyer, there are many who likely told you that you should wait, but that’s far from the case. It can seem like a daunting process, but if you plan carefully, everything can go more smoothly than you ever thought possible. If you’re ready to get handed the keys to your dream home, there are nine home buying tips to keep in mind as a first time woman homebuyer.
Hone home improvement skills
Being the only one to own a home means you’re the only one responsible for its maintenance. For example, you’ll have to take care of the lawn, fix a leaky faucet, unclog a drain, put together a cabinet, etc. If you have these skills already, you’re off to a great start. If you don’t, then it’s time to learn some of them before you buy your home. There are plenty of places, including home improvement stores, where you can learn the skills for free or for a minimal fee. It’ll save you a good amount of money then if you were to have to call a professional in at the last minute.
Research the area
Learn everything you can about the area, from the school system-to-the taxes. More importantly, check out the crime statistics. Obviously, the lower the crime rate, the better it is for you. Don’t make the mistake of sacrificing safety for price; you could end up in a money pit as well. City-data is a great place to start to learn all about the area.
Do research about the house
Real estate agents are supposed to tell you everything about the home, but don’t just take their word for it. They may not even know the entire history themselves. Do your own research of the home. Dig into archives, do an Internet search, etc, and find out everything you possibly can about the property. You don’t want to buy a home and find out it has a sordid history, it’s prone to flooding, had mold issues or some other problem that could come back and bite you in the wallet.
Know what you want
Unfortunately, there are those who try to take advantage of single first time women homebuyers in the hopes that they’ll be naive and just take anything or go along with anything. Go into the home-buying process knowing exactly what you want and be confident about it. Don’t let anyone try to change your mind or give you false information.
Find the right loan officer
When it comes to buying your first home, finding the right loan officer is essential. But how do you know if they’re legit? Search the National Mortgage Licensing System & Registry (NMLS). You can see how long the loan officer has been in business, if they’ve ever had any problems in the past, and help you determine if they’re going to be a good fit for you.
Find the right real estate agent
As stated above, there are some who try to get one over on women homebuyers, so it’s up to you to find the right real estate agent who won’t do that. Do your research on your own, including doing an Internet search on the agent’s background. Also, make sure to always trust your gut. You don’t have to settle for the first real estate agent you come across; you want someone great who’s going to help you find the best home for what you can afford.
Of course you can go in on your own and hope you come across reliable maintenance people and a worthwhile real estate agent, but a better option is to ask for referrals from those who have been through it before. Do research separately, but getting the suggestions can be a good starting point.
Check the security
Safety and security is so important when you’re buying a home, but it’s even more so as a single woman. When you’re viewing the home, check out the locks on the doors and windows, the lighting on the front and back of the home, and the quality of the security system. If possible, opt for a home that has a secure building, security personnel patrolling the property, a well lit parking garage or lot, and a concierge at the front desk. You might pay a bit extra, but it could be worth it to prevent any safety issues in the future with yourself or your property.
Write out all the numbers
Before you even start looking for a home, you should write down all the financial information and ask yourself several important questions:
How much can you afford to pay each month for the home?
What are the extra bills you have to pay every month?
What can you afford for maintenance costs for the home?
How much of a cushion do you have in savings?
How much can you afford to pay in taxes every month?
Write out all the info on paper. Once you see it in front of you and you give yourself some time to mull over the numbers, you’ll be able to make a more logical and reasonable decision.
Don’t go over your budget
It’s so easy to get over-excited buying a home that you allow yourself to go over budget. Don’t let that happen or you’ll regret it in the long run. Make sure to carefully go over all your financial information, and stick to your budget no matter what.
Don’t let anyone tell you that you won’t or shouldn’t get a home on your own just because you’re a single woman. If you want it, go for it. Just make sure you take extra precautions to ensure your safety – personally and financially.