You’re single and ready to buy. Right now, house hunting might feel a bit daunting, even downright scary. But it’s also one of the smartest decisions you can make, especially if you’re secure in your job and committed to your location.
If you’re able to overcome your fear of commitment and head into homeownership on your own, here are a few key points that should make the hunt a little easier:
Dream within Your Budget
Buying a home on your own is exciting! Plus, it’s a great investment in your financial future. But make sure you are looking at homes you can afford, especially if you have any hiccups in your financial profile. Life changes like sudden unemployment or serious health issues are impossible to predict.
The reality is that there are many financial hazards that could affect your ability to cover your monthly mortgage. So before you commit to a lifestyle you might not be able to afford, consider what it would take to make the additional monthly nut if you didn’t have a steady source of income.
Pay Attention to Safety
Not to fear-monger, but when you’re buying alone, it’s important to remember you won’t be home all of the time. With a single homeowner, it’s unlikely that someone will be at the house during the day — or even every night. That’s why you should consider safety and security issues when you tour open houses. Of course, you want to look for a house in a low-crime neighborhood, but there are other factors to consider when you preview your new pad. Are there locks on the windows? Is the street or driveway well lit at night? Does the home come equipped with a security system? Although they aren’t necessarily as enticing as stainless steel appliances or skylights, these types of safety considerations will help you sleep better at night.
Are You a Weekend Warrior?
Sure, you have the benefit of enjoying your alone time in your spacious new home. But guess what? You’re still alone when the faucet leaks, when ants take over the kitchen, and when the windows need washing. Oh, and did we mention that the grass is now a foot high and the driveway needs to be repaved? If you find the idea of maintaining a single-family home overwhelming, then you might want to consider a condominium or townhouse. Condo association fees go toward maintaining the overall property, and that means you’ll never have to worry about hauling out that rusty old lawnmower on a sunny Saturday.
Think Resale from Day One
Purchasing a home is a long-term investment. But that doesn’t mean you won’t be ready to move one day — and there’s always the possibility that day may come sooner than you think. There are many reasons to move, including relocating for a job or unexpected family obligations. (And there’s always the chance that you’ll fall for someone who lives across the country.) So even if you’re rooted in your community, it’s important to think about the resale value of your potential home during the search. Consider properties that have a spare bedroom, even if it’s not space you need today. If it’s affordable, extra square footage is always worth the investment.