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A Girl’s Guide to Buying a Home

Jessica Richardson Real Estate Trends

As a Realtor, I love to see women buying homes. I think there is something empowering about it and apparently I’m not alone.

The National Association of Realtors reports that since the mid-1990s, single women have purchased homes at nearly twice the rate of single men. Last year, single female homeowners made up 18 percent of household composition in the association’s Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, compared to 10 percent for single men.

Way to go ladies!  Interest rates are still historically low, and if you are thinking of buying a home there is no time like the present.  If home ownership is on your radar, here are some things to consider………..

Location location location – You’ve heard it before and it’s the cardinal rule of real estate. Buy in a good location. You can change everything about a house. You can even knock it down and build a new house but you can’t change the location.

And don’t forget to consider the neighbors. You must be comfortable with the people you are living near because chances are they are not moving.  If you buy in a “transitional” area  you could be getting a great deal with the potential for appreciation  – but just know that it may years before that happens.

Safety – Trust your gut. People have many different ideas of what they consider a “safe neighborhood.”  It is often confusing for buyers coming from different parts of the country who aren’t familiar with the nuances of our area. This is why I  always encourage buyers to drive through the neighborhood they are looking at during the weekend and in the evenings –  when people are home. Consider whether this is an area where you would feel comfortable living, walking your dog, going running, etc.

Don’t skimp on the home inspection – A home inspection can be expensive ($500+) but most often it is a really good idea.  By doing a thorough home inspection you will know what you are getting into.  If you find problems in the home inspection you may be able to negotiate repairs or money toward the repair. Most sellers are willing to do one or the other.

Know that the money spending doesn’t end at closing – In fact it can be just the beginning. Even with new construction there will be money to be spent on paint, window treatments, decorating and more. Older  homes may need updating and repairs. Things will break and maintenance isn’t cheap. Just remember that your home is an investment and if you have to put on a new roof, that will make the property more valuable and attractive when you go to sell.

Don’t wait to buy a home until you meet Mr. Right –  It’s almost unbelievable to think that when my mom was single (before the fair housing act of 1968), women couldn’t get a mortgage loan without having their father co-sign. Times have  certainly changed and women are buying more homes than ever before.  I love seeing women build home equity and net worth through real estate.

Don’t stretch yourself too thin when it comes to the mortgage payment  – Let’s face it, you may need to dial down your spending right after you buy a home but you don’t want to be completely house poor. You also want to have money to furnish, decorate and do the things you like doing.  I once worked with a couple who really stretched to buy a home. It got to the point where the husband wouldn’t let the wife buy powdered Gatorade or fresh mozzarella from the grocery store. That’s no way to live.

Consider a condo –  Condo styles can vary from the traditional “apartment style” to a 3 level town home with a garage. There are monthly fees attached to condo ownership but they cover a great deal of maintenance. For example, most condo fees take care of some major repair items like roof and siding. And they usually cover pesky maintenance like  landscaping, snow and trash removal

Hire a Realtor (and not all Realtors are considered equal) – Unless you buy and sell homes every day of your life you should be working with a Buyer’s Agent who is representing your best interest. A good Realtor will give you solid advice and keep you from making critical mistakes while saving you time and money.  It takes many years and many successful transactions to fully understand this business.

Ready to find your dream home?    Just fill out this form and I’ll get back to you right away.
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About the Author

Jessica Richardson

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