The uncertainty and high costs that come with renting a home necessitate home buying for many single mothers. Having to worry about the fast-approaching end-of-lease date or whether or not your kid(s) will have a roof over their head tomorrow isn’t fun either. When you buy a home as a single mom, the sense of self-accomplishment that comes with it will not only make you a better mom but will also boost your productivity at work and life in general.
But buying a home has never been a walk in the park for single moms. It is like getting into a marathon that doesn’t seem to end, yet it keeps draining your energy day by day. For starters, you will be buying a home without the input of a life partner, so you cannot count on the benefits that come with dual incomes. All things being equal, your household income is lower than the household income of your lady colleague who is married. Qualifying for a mortgage, in that case, could be a challenge.
With that being said, you still deserve to own a home. That is why we have prepared the 5-point list below on how you should handle the process of buying real estate as a single mom.
1. Prepare psychologically to stop renting
The responsibilities that come with homeownership can sometimes be too much to handle especially for an unprepared single mom. Unlike when you are renting, owning a home demands that you pay for all the repair and maintenance costs that may arise. You will no longer have a landlord to call in case your roof is leaking or the smoke detector isn’t working properly. If you ever need to winterize your home- remove snow from the gutters and redo your landscape, you probably will have no one to help you. Are you ready for such tasks? This isn’t meant to scare you off. It is an eye-opener so that you don’t end-up regretting buying a home instead of investing your money elsewhere.
2. Buy what you can afford
Gauge the affordability of a home before spending money on it. The best way to do this is to prepare a budget, clearly stating your available savings, annual income, pre-approved mortgage, and the payment plan. The last thing any single mom would want is to take a mortgage without a proper payment plan. What would you do if you are unable to pay the mortgage halfway, just when your kid is about to join college? Don’t risk; plan.
If you realize that you can afford to buy a home without jeopardizing the financial future of your kid(s), go ahead and shop for the home you can comfortably afford. If homes in your current neighborhoods are expensive, be open to the idea of relocating to a more affordable neighborhood. Remember that real estate will in most cases appreciate, so your home’s value will be higher in the future in the event that you want to sell it and upgrade to a bigger or classier home. Try looking for houses that have vinyl siding as they tend to be more durable, have low maintenance costs, cut heating and cooling costs, and are weather resistant. In a nutshell, typically something that you need for starters. If not, you can also work with vinyl siding installers to help you install it.
3. Be willing to sacrifice
Of course, you have prepared a checklist for all the features that you want in your future home. As a mom, you probably want a yard for kids to play in, a vegetable garden, and a separate laundry. That is understandable, but you should set your priorities straight and stick with them, no matter the opportunity cost attached.
4. Do you qualify for grants?
Many states in the US give grants and special loans to single parents who plan on buying a house. You will find many helpful down payment assistance programs in Florida, for example, that will offer you zero percent interest loans. Some of these loans can be as high as $7,500, not mentioning that you will only have to pay back the money after either paying off or selling the home. Go ahead and visit Florida to check out these assistance programs. Who knows; you could own a home in the Sunshine State sooner than you can imagine. If you need to check the place first, go ahead and book a vacation rental and explore the place.
5. Consult a realtor
Your best interests when buying a house as a single mother can only be protected by a reputable realtor. The process of buying a home is long, complicated, and tedious, especially when you have a kid waiting for you at home. A buyer’s agent will see to it that you get the best value for your money.
Being an ambitious single mom isn’t wrong. Daring to pay the bills and raise your kid in a good home isn’t wrong either. Go ahead and try your hand in homeownership. And before we forget, remember to book a vacation rental for your accommodation needs in Florida. That is if you will take our advice and buy a home in the Sunshine State.