Female homebuyers are a formidable force in the real estate market. Over the past 20 years, women have been responsible for over 1/3 of the growth in real estate. Single women are almost twice as likely to purchase homes as single men. In fact, 16% of all homebuyers are single women. And women, single or not, really do make the home buying decision the majority of the time. If mama’s not happy…
Here are some things to take care of before signing the sale for your dream home.
Get your credit in order. Visit with a mortgage lender and get pre-qualified. Pay down your credit cards (revolving credit makes up 30% of your credit score and owing a large percentage of your credit limit can lower your score up to 50 points). Especially after a divorce, make sure that your spouse’s loans are not in your name also. If there are “dings” on your credit, ask your lender to help you get it straightened out.
Do your homework. Ask about grants and down payment assistance for first-time homebuyers. There are grants available locally for as much as $15,000! That can really make a difference in how much house you can afford.
Ask for help if you need it. Gifts from family, or getting a co-signor, can help strengthen your loan package. Many times, family members are happy to help when buying that first home is at stake. They realize that it’s an investment as well as a place to live.
Start with the basics. If this is your first home, it may not be your dream home. Buy ugly and make it beautiful. The value of the paint on the wall is much greater than the cost of the paint in the can. I once bought a house that had two dead possums in the attic. I got a great price because of the smell. Lots of cleaning, paint, flooring and repairs turned it into a beautiful home!
Buy in a great area. Location is the one thing you cannot change and it’s important. Buy a house in a great area and turn it into a great home.
Buy LOW. Low interest rates, that is. Interest rates are at historical lows. This means you can get a lot more house for lower monthly payments. Interest is the biggest cost of purchasing a home.
Use professionals. REALTORS are free for buyers and are an invaluable resource for dealing with a real estate transaction They know how to deal with sellers, inspectors, appraisers and the myriad of other things that can come up during the process. A good REALTOR can save you from making costly mistakes.
Consider a home warranty. Home warranties protect you if the air conditioner breaks, the stove stops working or the plumbing leaks. They are worth the investment if you are purchasing an older home. A home warranty will keep you from having to worry about repairs when a small deductible and a phone call will get a repair person right over. Negotiate it into the sale and ask the seller to pay for it, something your REALTOR will be glad to help with.
With a little preparation, and a team of professionals looking out for you, owning a home can turn from dream to reality for anyone!
Louise Logan has been involved in the real estate industry since 1977 and a loan officer with Coast Capital Mortgage for 17 years, specializing in first time homebuyers. Her greatest accomplishments are her daughter, her 29 year marriage to Pat Logan, and the three angels who call her Mimi.