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Your single girlfriends who own their own home are not a minority in the home buying world. They are actually at the cusp of a growing trend, data shows.
Single female home buyers consistently outpace single male home buyers, according to Jessica Lautz, vice president of demographics and behavioral insights and research at the National Association of Realtors, a trade group for real estate professionals.
Single female home buyers have been second only to married home buyers since 1981. The share of single, female [homebuyers] in the last three years has grown from 15 to 18 percent, according to Lautz.
“When I tell people, they are surprised,” she said of the statistics. “[Women are] feeling confident you don’t need a wedding ring to purchase a home. They want the stability of purchasing a home but don’t need the marriage.”
Single women purchase homes more often than men, but they tend to purchase less expensive homes, according to Lautz, citing data from her association's 2018 annual survey. Homes purchased by females are not just more affordable but are also more likely to be multi-generational homes, which is attributed to the caregiver role that often falls to women.
While a lot of single women are doing it, very successfully, home buying is not an easy process.
"Good Morning America" asked single women to share their stories of buying their own home.
Here are the experiences of women who did it on their own.
Buying a home for 'wealth building factor'
Homebuyer: Nuria Rivera, 34-year-old owner of a title insurance agency.
Home: A $420,000 3 bedroom, 2 bath home in Salt Lake City, Utah.
I wanted to buy my own home because... I fully believe in home ownership and real estate being a wealth building factor. Being an immigrant family and arriving to the U.S.A., the experience of my family purchasing our very first home was a dream come true.
I want other women home buyers to know... To be sure to get fully educated on the programs out there. Many times, it is assumed you won’t qualify for a loan, however there are multiple options out there including down payment assistance.
Stopped making excuses as a 'singleton'
Homebuyer: Denise Dmuchowski, 37-year-old federal government employee.
Home: A $340,000 2 bedroom, 1 bath condo in Arlington, Virginia.
I wanted to buy my own home because... I was tired of spending money on rent, but this area is so expensive that it is hard to set aside money and cover insanely overpriced rent at the same time. I was finally able to pull the trigger when I’d saved up enough money just as my rent was going up for the third time.
I pulled it off financially by... I was able to secure a job as an independent contractor for a few years and my income practically doubled. I continued living and spending as before and in two years I was able to pay off my credit card debt and save around $40,000 in cash. If I hadn’t gotten that job I’d probably still be renting!
I want other women home buyers to know... For me, the thing I struggled with the most when buying as a "singleton" is you don’t know if your situation is going to change. I would make excuses that kept me from buying like, 'Oh, well what if I meet someone and he already owns a place?,' or 'What if I want to take a new job in a different city?' Thinking too much about what could happen kept me from committing, and I was afraid of feeling trapped because I owned. Finally a friend simply said, 'If something changes or if you want to move then you rent it out, or sell it—you figure it out, and I thought, 'You know what, you’re right!'
Also, finding the right home was easy. The financial stuff was what made me nervous. One thing that helped me was having all my financial ducks in a row in advance for my lender. Being responsive, knowing my information, and replying quickly with the needed documents helped that process go smoothly.
Twin sisters purchase a home together
Homebuyers: Yesenia Cedillo and Jessica Cedillo, 28-year-old high school teacher and registered nurse.
Home: A $429,000 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath house in Loma Linda, California.
We wanted to buy my own home because... We still wanted to help out our family [financially] in the way we had been doing so far, but knew it was time for us to move out. After looking at our finances and keeping in mind that our little twin sisters were going off to college in a few months and will need help to pay for their tuition and housing we decided that it will be best to purchase our house together.
We pulled it off financially by... Like so many first-generation Latina women, our parents had no means to help us with a down payment. To come up with a five percent down payment, we gathered approximately $21,450 by taking out Jessica’s previous 401k from her previous job (where half of the money came from) and the rest from our savings that we had both accumulated over the past five years.
We want other women home buyers to know... As two young single women, we were really worried about not getting offered the best deal. The advice we have is to find a realtor and broker that someone you trust has already worked with and, secondly, make sure you have a set list of things you are willing and not willing to compromise.
Wanted to be in control of her own home
Homebuyer: Kassi Yukevich, 28-year-old lawyer.
Home: A $290,000 1 bedroom, 1 bath condo in Arlington, Virginia.
I wanted to buy my own home because... I was tired of paying rent to an unresponsive landlord.
I pulled it off financially by... I had always heard that you needed to put down 20 percent of your home's cost to purchase it. I was spending about 50 percent of my income on rent. Even sticking to a tight budget, I was not able to save close to 20 percent on for a down payment.
After a lot of research, I decided to purchase my condo with a small down payment in exchange for a higher interest rate.
I want other women home buyers to know... First, do your research. For me, the process of finding, evaluating, and financing a home was daunting. I found some great blogs and podcasts that broke the process down, and it was comforting to know that so many people had the same questions that I did.
Second, be honest with yourself about what you need in a home, what you want in a home, and what you can pay in a mortgage each month. I made a detailed monthly budget, and spent months testing whether I could stick to it.
Third, take someone else with you to look at places. Choosing which home to purchase was a more emotional process than I thought it would be, and I was glad that I had people with me that I could trust.
Fourth, learn to fix things yourself and to love DIY. I've learned how to edge floorboards, fix a toilet, change a faucet, recaulk plumbing fixtures, patch drywall and lay floor. All of these skills have cut down on my expenses, and put me in control of my home.