Whether it’s “Wait for Prince Charming,” or “Marry rich,” most women have spent a lifetime listening to a variety of distorted sentiments perpetuating the myth that once Mr. Right arrives, all will magically fall into place. Overnight she will find herself financially secure, living in the home of her dreams; her future bright and perfect. Unfortunately, none of these variables have any basis in reality.
Almost 30 years ago, an interesting article was published about women entering the real estate market as singles. It highlighted traditional thinking women were then struggling to overcome–waiting for Mr. Right in order to be financially secure and have a home being at the top of the list. In it, one woman said she “saw through the myth of Mr. Right at a young age and…wasn’t waiting to be carried over any thresholds before deciding to buy a house.” 30 years later, women have made incredible strides from the 3% home ownership of that time-but yet, many are still uncomfortable with the idea of purchasing a home on their own.
With the specific goal of helping educate and encourage women to invest in “income producing” real estate, Women Investing In Real Estate (WIRE) pride themselves on helping members achieve financial freedom and independence. Based out of Vancouver, BC, WIRE is ground zero for women looking to learn everything they need to know to confidently make a purchase in real estate. From women in their 20s, all the way through their 30s, 40s and beyond, this group is a great resource for budding female home owners.
If you’re thinking about taking the plunge, the best thing you can do is to prepare yourself as much as possible. Many financial advisors will recommend spending 30% of your take-home pay on monthly housing, but a lot of extra expenditures can come with being a homeowner. Be conservative and aim for 25%; that way you’ll have plenty extra for real estate taxes, home insurance and whatever extras you may have to contend with along the way. And remember, as much as no one likes to spend money on broken faucets and burned out furnaces, investing in your own home not only increases its value; it enhances your confidence in your own abilities to deal with different situations, and it buoys your self-esteem.
Most important of all: be aware of your credit. Financials are often the most intimidating part of buying a home as a single woman. Particularly for women who are newly single after a divorce, this process can be further complicated if you owned property with your ex-spouse. If one person wishes to stay in the home, they will need to pay the other person for their portion of the equity or the initial down payment invested. Alternatively, refinancing a mortgage will require whoever is the borrower to re-qualify using their own financial status.
Today the number of single female homeowners are more around the 20% mark, and are buying properties at a rate that far exceeds their male counterparts. Even Canadian reality TV has caught on with shows like HGTV’s Buy Herself that feature a no-nonsense approach to helping single women realize their dreams of owning real estate.
Whether you are a never-before-married single woman, or are divorced or widowed, waiting for the luxury of a dual income or a shoulder to lean on is not taking charge of your future, it is postponing it.