Today’s housing environment has more single home buyers entering the real estate market than ever before. With inventory levels high, interest rates near record lows and affordability up in many areas across the country, many people who may have never considered buying a home in the past are recognizing that a mortgage payment on a house can actually be the same or less than what they would spend on renting an apartment or home.
For most people, buying a home is the most significant financial investment they will ever make, and perhaps even more so for singles who are making the transition on their own. With that in mind, Coldwell Banker Grass Roots Realty has come up with five tips to help single home buyers navigate the home buying process:
Keep an eye on the future. A family of one is much more likely to upsize rather than downsize. Some day someone who is single may add a significant other to their family and possibly even children. Though additional space may not be needed immediately, it’s important to consider potential future plans for a home. Keep in mind that there is no such thing as the “perfect” house. Instead, determine what is essential – number of bedrooms, approximate square footage, neighborhood, etc. And when you do move up, your first home can provide you with equity to purchase your next home or it can be kept as an investment.
Get pre-approved for a mortgage. A pre-approval will let single home buyers know where they stand financially while informing the mortgage company that they are ready to buy. Additionally, this step will demonstrate to everyone involved in the purchase that the home buyer is serious and well qualified.
Location, location, location. The golden rule of real estate applies to single home buyers as well. A recent survey from Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC found that out of 1,000 single homeowners more than half opted for homes in suburbia rather than bachelor or bachelorette pads in urban or rural areas. Factors such as proximity to work, family and nightlife often play a role in the decision of where to purchase a home. Speaking with a Coldwell BankerGrass Roots Realty agent can help narrow the search to find the location that best suits a home buyer’s needs and lifestyle.
Plan ahead for maintenance fees. Owning a home is a rewarding experience. However, being the only person with a set of house keys also means being the only person responsible for maintenance. A leaky faucet and unkempt lawn won’t take care of themselves, so be sure to include future repairs and maintenance in the budget. Also keep in mind that certain properties such as condominiums and townhomes require less exterior maintenance and might be a good option for those single home buyers who find the idea of maintaining a yard a bit daunting.
Consider resale value and longevity. Purchasing a home is a great long-term investment. However, there are many reasons single home buyers may need to move, such as relocating for a job or a lifestyle change. Therefore, it is important to think about the length of time that the home will be owned and also consider the resale value of prospective properties during the search. A local real estate agent can share the average home price of properties in the area, how long each property has been on the market and what features increase a home’s value and appeal.