The single home purchasers in the States makes up 20% of the sales to women and 12% to men and I’m sure those statistics are probably close here in Canada. The purchase of a home can certainly be a daunting task for anyone but for a single income person the glasses they look through can be quite different. Let’s look at some things to consider if you’re single and long for that nesting ability.

With the changes to the 35-year amortization the impact on single income folks has meant that they qualify for less property now.  One consideration could be to get a co-signing or guaranteeing of the debt by a parent if they are able to and have the funds and assets. However this would need consideration as it would make the parents just as responsible for the debts. Another consideration could be to gift a down payment which would probably be more feasible for most parents, especially as they get older they might want this ahead of a will.

This first and most important step to a single home ownership is to get pre-approved. Knowing what you can afford is a real eye opener. 

The savvy solo home shopper comes with a new Real Estate motto instead of   “location, location, location” theirs is more like  “location, condition and price” which better reflects their market.

Location
Obviously, location is still important. Try to buy in the best neighborhood you can afford. But also take your passions and hobbies into consideration before investing. If you love the nightlife that a big city has to offer, consider living right in town, with restaurants and bars within walking distance. But if you’re an outdoorsy type, a more suburban — or even rural — setting would put you closer to the weekend activities you love. Since many home-buying single women also are mothers, it’s also important to consider a school district’s reputation and the safety of the area.

Condition
For many solo buyers, a property’s condition is of equal importance to its location. Old cottages in the woods may sound charming but can be money pits. Being educated about home ownership can go a long way especially when it comes to maintenance. Find out about drains and leaky basements. Don’t be afraid to ask the specialists. Spending a few dollars on a professional home inspector is crucial as he will inspect all major systems in the home and tell you what to look for. Find one who gives a maintenance manual or maintenance CD as gift at the end of his inspection. It will be a great asset down the road as you maintained your home. 

Price

Work on a plan of action to finance your project. Give yourself five years to first put a healthy deposit aside. Make sure you have paid your credit cards and car payments off. This will be major in your credit approval.  Your mortgage payment should not exceed 28% of  your pre-tax monthly income. Think of your purchase as a home not just investment and maybe a tax write-off.  If you can max out your RRSPs a few years ahead of purchasing then you could use those funds for down payment. As a first time buyer you can withdraw up to $25,000 from RRSPs to buy or build a qualifying home. You can also borrow funds to put in your RRSPs and then withdraw those after 90 days to generate a down payment. The RRSPs would most likely produce a tax refund which can also be used as a down payment.
You may consider a home which generates an income such as a rentable finished basement but you’ll need to check your city’s bylaws for regulations and requirements.

Keep Your future in mind 

You’re single and healthy now but you might not be in five years from now. Even if you are older and into the youth of your senior years you don’t know what’s up ahead around that curve in the road of life. Consider that the kids and/or grand-kids come and visit now which would make a four bedroom home attractive but they don’t stay young for long so think of yourself first and beside the kids will love camping in the living room. (minus the camp fire). Consider stairs and the size of yards. Will you still be physically able to go up and down or mow the lawn and shovel the snow if there’s no one around to help or the finance doesn’t allow you to hire someone out. 

Could this home be rented out?
Whether you are a younger single buyer or older consider that if you got married or had to move away would this home be a great asset in your financial portfolio. If your partner for example  has a home already would you keep both or hang on to one and rent it. Real Estate investment is by far one of the most secure investment you can make. Would your home be suitable to rent? Is it near facilities that a renter would want such as stores, restaurants, accessible highways or other positive assets.

Take it slow
What’s the big rush anyway you’re not on “House Hunters,” buying a home in what seems like 20 minutes. Take it slow, view as many different types of  homes as needed  even if you don’t think you would want a condo check it out anyway. You might see something that is perfectly suitable and within your budget. And don’t forget to add the extras such as the condo fees and taxes in that mortgage payment. Make a list of your “absolute must have” and a ” would be nice list”. Keep it realistic and take it along as you view homes. Go to open houses and check them out. You might even want to visit some homes a few times. 

As a Realtor I can show you how easy it is to be single and a home owner.

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