Buying a home as a single individual comes with its own set of unique experiences and challenges. Some are to be expected, like financing with a single income. While others not so much, like a more competitive market.
You know that financing will be based on your sole income. However, the vast majority of homeowners are couples who have dual incomes. Your eligibility is going to be very different than that of a couple and for some home buyers when they receive a lower number this comes as a shock. Expect to see numbers that are on the lower side of those who apply as couples.
Since you are on a sole income you may want to look into various loan types such as those that offer low-interest rates and lower down payments. Two to look at are first-time buyers programs and FHA loans.
When comparing options watch the lenders fee in comparison to the interest rate. Where you may have low-interest rate it might come with a higher lender fee. Do the math on these ratios to get a true value of each.
Before applying for mortgage approval, clean up your budget and handle any existing debts, especially expensive ones. Pay off card balances, refinance student loans, and swap out expensive monthly car payments for one that is more reasonable.
Draw up a budget and get really clear on just how much house you can afford month to month. Include the cost of house ownership and maintenance in your budget in addition to the cost of future monthly mortgage payments.
As a sole earner having savings is incredibly important as you don’t have a second income to rely on. In addition to setting aside your down payment (as close to the recommended 20% as you can), build up a nest egg of three to six months worth income should anything misfortune arise.
Start the buying process well prepared with the right mindset. Smaller houses make up a lower percentage of the housing market and cheaper homes are competitive when it comes to the buying process. Be ready for a search that might go a little longer and a buying process that needs you to move a little faster than traditional ones.
Bring a trusted friend or family member with you to home viewings to have a sounding board for your decision process. It’s easier to get swept away emotionally when you don’t have a partner to hash out the gritty details with. Find someone who can come to each viewing with you so that you can compare the different homes pro’s and con’s together.
Buying a home as an individual is a unique process but it doesn’t have to be a difficult or lonely one. Ask for feedback from your realtor, bring a trusted friend and know what to expect from the buying process as a sole income earner.
If you intend to purchase a house, it helps to submit a competitive offer. In fact, if you submit a competitive offer, you may be better equipped than ever before to enjoy a fast, seamless homebuying experience.
Ultimately, there are many reasons to submit a competitive offer on a home, and these include:
1. You can increase the likelihood of an instant "Yes" from a home seller.
Let's face it – no home seller wants to deal with a "lowball" offer on a house. Fortunately, a competitive offer helps improve your chances of receiving an instant "Yes" from a seller, thereby increasing the likelihood of a stress-free homebuying experience.
A homebuyer who allocates the necessary time and resources to understand a house and its strengths and weaknesses should have no trouble defining a competitive offer. Then, this buyer can submit a proposal that accounts for a house's age and condition. And if a seller accepts the homebuying proposal, both the buyer and seller can work together to finalize a purchase agreement.
2. You can open the lines of communication with a home seller.
Although a competitive home offer may suit your interests, it may not match a seller's expectations. However, a buyer's decision to submit a competitive proposal may open the lines of communication with a seller.
If a buyer submits a lowball proposal on a house, he or she may receive an immediate rejection from a seller. Comparatively, a competitive home offer may force a seller to consider his or her options closely. And even though a seller may not be fully satisfied with the proposal, he or she could counter the offer and negotiate terms with a buyer.
3. You can avoid the risk of overspending to acquire a residence.
A homebuyer who analyzes the real estate market can find out what a home is worth based on a variety of housing sector conditions. Therefore, this buyer can submit a competitive offer, one that minimizes the risk that he or she will overspend to acquire a residence.
When it comes to putting together a competitive home offer, you may want to collaborate with a real estate agent as well. This housing market professional can work with you throughout your home search and ensure you can pounce at any opportunity to purchase your ideal house.
A real estate agent understands all aspects of the housing market. He or she will help you search for residences in your preferred cities and towns. Plus, once you discover your dream house, a real estate agent will make it simple to put together a competitive offer.
Furthermore, a real estate agent is happy to respond to your concerns and questions throughout the homebuying journey. This housing market professional will offer expert homebuying insights, enabling you to make the best-possible homebuying decision.
Limit the guesswork associated with submitting a competitive homebuying proposal – use the aforementioned tips, and you can make an aggressive offer on any house, at any time.
As a homebuyer, entering the real estate market with insights into what it takes to find the perfect house is essential.
Becoming an expert homebuyer, however, may seem impossible at times. Lucky for you, we're here to help you gain the knowledge and skills you need to make your homeownership dreams come true.
What does it take to become an expert homebuyer? Here are three tips to help you do just that.
1. Look at Real Estate Market Trends
The housing market ebbs and flows. Therefore, a seller's market today may transform into a buyer's market tomorrow.
Ultimately, the real estate market fluctuates constantly, and you'll want to learn as much as possible about the housing sector to ensure you can map out your homebuying journey accordingly.
In a buyer's market, there are usually more home sellers than buyers. This means homebuyers may be better equipped than ever before to secure a top-notch house at a budget-friendly price.
On the other hand, a seller's market features an abundance of homebuyers and a shortage of sellers. For homebuyers who operate in a seller's market, they may be forced to submit competitive offers on homes quickly, or risk missing out on a dream residence to a rival.
When you study the housing market, don't forget to check out the prices of residences that recently sold. By doing so, you can gain a better understanding of how much you'll likely need to pay to acquire a first-rate house based on the current state of the housing market.
2. Learn How a Mortgage Works
What differentiates a fixed-rate mortgage from an adjustable-rate option? An expert homebuyer will know the ins and outs of assorted mortgage options and select one that corresponds to his or her finances.
To learn about mortgages and how they work, you'll want to meet with credit unions and banks. These lenders can describe the different types of mortgages and the pros and cons associated with them.
Also, an expert homebuyer will get pre-approved for a mortgage. With a mortgage in hand, this homebuyer will be able to stick to a price range as he or she searches for the ideal home.
3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent
Let's face it – no homebuyer can afford to make mistakes. Fortunately, you can work with a real estate agent to receive expert guidance as you navigate the homebuying journey.
A real estate agent boasts the skills and know-how needed to streamline the homebuying process. He or she may have many years of housing market experience and is happy to teach you about the opportunities and challenges associated with buying a house.
Furthermore, a real estate agent will help you accelerate the homebuying cycle. He or she can set up home showings, negotiate with home sellers on your behalf and much more. That way, you can focus on what's important – finding a terrific house at an affordable price.
Take advantage of the aforementioned tips, and you can become an expert homebuyer.
That time is coming if it is not already here. The kids are gone, and it is just the two of you—or, maybe there’s only one of you—and you feel like you’re rattling around the house like a couple of beans in a can. You’re tired of cleaning rooms that you never use. You’ve stopped visiting the basement, and you pretend that it isn’t even there. But you have no idea what things you should consider in purchasing that next “smaller” house. All you’ve ever planned for is that perfect house for the family, so … here are some things to consider.
If you’re still young physically, it’s hard to imagine not being able to do the things you have always done. Unfortunately, time does take its toll.
Steps and doors...
Consider that you might want to find a single-story place with a master bedroom and maybe one guest room. That would seem simple enough, but unfortunately, not all single-level homes are created equal. The number one challenge as people get older is managing stairs. When you put “no step” in the equation, all the sudden you start to see how many steps are in many single-level homes. For example, there may be steps up to the front door, steps from the garage into the house, single steps from the dining room to the living room, a step into the bathroom, etc. Now you begin to wonder if the architect had “steps” on the brain.
When buying your family home, you may not have even thought about doors, but there is the possibility of one day needing to use a walker or being in a wheelchair. Now, those standard doorways are a problem. Medical needs might limit you to exiting only through the front door—the only 36-inch door in the house. Oh yes, and there might be steps to get out that way as well.
The second challenge that happens as people get older, besides health challenges, is having a limited budget. In most cases, it’s fixed to your retirement income. So, it’s not just about the house payments. Even if you pay cash for your home, you still have gas, electric, and water bills. Take time understanding what those bills currently are, and determine if those will fit your budget. Then, decide if there's your room in your budget for them to up because you know that nothing goes down in cost.
Time and effort...
Another consideration is lot size. You may really love to work outside in the garden or to have a garden that looks beautiful—even if someone else does the gardening. That is all well and good, but you should consider that there may come a time that it is too big or too costly to maintain. Do you want to move again because you cannot afford to keep up the yard or pay for all the water needed to keep it green? If you live in areas of the country that have lots of snow or ice in the winter, how much of the front walkways can you keep clean so you can come and go? If it is a large front yard with a long driveway and long sidewalks it may be more than you can handle.
These challenges are only a few of the things to consider when downsizing. Let your real estate professional know your needs now … and in the future.
Finding the house of your dreams is a process that requires a lot of clarity, diligence, and patience. While it is possible for the first house you look at to be the ideal choice, it's a lot more likely you'll have to look at a dozen or more houses before finding the one that matches your requirements and feels like home.
Whether you're searching for your first home or your tenth, your decision will primarily be based on four factors: affordability, practicality, emotional appeal, and prevailing market conditions.
Affordability is a vital element in the mix because it's difficult to enjoy a beautiful new home if you're always stressed out about whether you'll be able to make the next mortgage payment! Developing a realistic and well thought-out budget is one of the first preliminary steps involved in launching a full-fledged search for your next home. In addition to being able to cover your current expenses and the cost of mortgage payments, you'll also want to ensure that there's a cushion in your budget for things like home maintenance, repairs, improvements, HOA fees (if applicable), property taxes, school taxes, and homeowner's insurance.
As far as practicality goes, your new home should -- at the very least -- live up to your basic needs and expectations. Ideally, all systems should work properly and be in good condition. Proximity to key locations, such as your job, shopping, and essential services can also have a direct impact on your quality of life. Long commutes, cramped quarters, or being buried by an avalanche of repair bills can definitely take some of the pleasure out of home ownership!
The majority of houses you'll look at will probably need some degree of updating, decorating, or repairs, but ideally, you'll want to tackle those projects over the next couple of years, rather than the immediate future! Having an experienced home inspector do a thorough inspection of the home you're interested in will help ensure you're not buying a home riddled with flaws, headaches waiting to happen, and other problems.
Although cost and practicality are vital aspects of buying a new home, you can't (and wouldn't want to) ignore factors such as aesthetics and emotional appeal. If you can't imagine you and your family living in and enjoying a house you're considering buying, it might be time to continue your search elsewhere! The house you ultimately choose should support your lifestyle, provide sufficient space for your family to grow and thrive, and be situated in a neighborhood in which you feel comfortable and safe.
To make the most of your available time and money, find an experienced real estate agent who's responsive to your needs and knowledgeable about the local real estate market. They will help you streamline your search, find houses that meet your criteria and negotiate the best possible price on your behalf.