Luke Smith is a writer and researcher turned blogger. Since finishing college he has been trying his hand at being a freelance writer. When he isn't writing you can find him traveling, hiking, or gaming.
There’s a misconception out there that buying a home as a single adult with no children is out of reach, impractical, or otherwise unacceptable. But there is no reason you should be excluded from the housing market. Plenty of single adults have the cash, credit score, and desire to become homeowners. In fact, there were an estimated total of 34.75 million single-person households in 2019, showing just how broad this market is in the U.S. alone.
For single adults looking to make that big investment in the future, homeownership is possible. However, it will take preparation and adaptability on your part. These tips will help you plan and execute a homeownership strategy that maximizes your potential. By following these tips, you can streamline a thoughtful homebuying process.
Build a Comprehensive Budget
First, it’s up to you to create a budget that works for your financial situation, It’s no secret that millennials — who are the most likely demographic to purchase a home — struggle with economic roadblocks. Strapped with student loan debt, these young homebuyers have to overcome largely stagnant wage growth and ballooning living costs.
If you’re going into the home buying process alone, you’ll have to build a comprehensive budget to avoid getting bogged down by bills after making that purchase. This means taking account of your personal resources and finding out what kind of financing you qualify for. While you can move ahead with making an offer on a home without getting preapproved for a mortgage, doing so helps you back up your offer while giving you a better sense of what you have to work with.
From here, take into account your:
- Net income
- Eligibility for grants and assistance
- Credit score
All these factors combine into your overall buying power. With this number in mind, you can look for homes and make offers knowing that you aren’t out of your depth. To avoid going over your carefully calculated budget, however, you must keep track of all the expenses associated with a home purchase.
Itemize Your Expenses
Prospective homebuyers are often taken by surprise by hidden fees associated with closing a home sale. Then, there are the maintenance and other associated costs that come with homeownership that homebuyers sometimes aren’t prepared for.
In fact, more than 20% of millennial homeowners said they regretted their decision because of these surprise expenses. That’s why it’s essential before you go all in on buying a home to do your research and understand what costs you might be hit with.
Make an itemized list of the expenses associated with owning a home. These include but are not limited to:
- Mortgage payment
- Property taxes
- Homeowners Association (HOA) dues
Your desired property will have its unique set of expenses depending on local regulations and markets. Study them and build your list, then compare monthly and annual costs with your overall budget.
Thriving as a homeowner requires that you have some room to save and build financial comfort. After all, a good home should act as an investment rather than a burden.
Find a Home that Functions as an Investment
As a single adult with no children, it’s perhaps even more essential that you plan for your home to act as an investment that can propel you into a financially independent future. This is because a home can serve as the perfect retirement nest egg, giving you leverage to make the choices you need to make in your sunset years.
To find such a home, however, you’ll need to search for a market in which housing demand is likely to only increase over time. Suburban and rural areas have been the sources of much population growth before and during the COVID-19 pandemic and might be a great place to start.
Then, you’ll need to look for properties that will be desirable even to future families. You might not need extra bedrooms, for instance, but owning a home with a spare room might help attract a broader audience should you decide to sell.
The value inherent in a home depends on its structure and design. You can help determine this value before you make your purchase by being thorough with inspections.
Conduct Thorough Inspections
A homebuyer can and should complete a range of inspections before purchasing a home. While these inspections can be costly, they are well-worth avoiding a potential maintenance project that will cost far more. Fortunately, all kinds of inspections are available to prospective buyers before they make a huge financial commitment.
While most on the market opt for a general homebuyer inspection, the process can get a lot more specialized than that. However, a general inspection is a great place to start. This includes an assessment of items like:
- Safety conditions
- And more…
These inspections are vital because they can save you countless dollars in maintenance you’d otherwise have to handle yourself. A leaking water pipe, for instance, can spill 90 gallons of water or more per day. The consequences of leaks like these can include negative health effects and even $7.00 per square foot remediation processes. Avoid costs and damages with thorough inspections, and plan to live in comfort and safety.
Plan for Comfort and Safety
Finally, you’ll need to cover your safety needs as a single adult homeowner. Living alone can get scary, and it can make you vulnerable to home intrusions and theft from criminals who notice when you’re not at home. So before you go buying a home, follow a safety checklist to make sure you’ll be comfortable.
Take into account factors like neighborhood crime rates and local emergency numbers, then consider your options when it comes to smart devices and home security systems. A range of home safety products is available to help you feel at peace, from door-mounted cameras to smart locks. Determine the tools you’ll want to use in securing your home, then add their costs to your list of expenses.
By following these tips, you can streamline the homebuying process, breeze over obstacles, and secure your financial future. As a single adult, this will help you fulfill your homeownership potential and maximize your outcomes. The right real estate investment will bring lifelong benefits, so develop a budget now for purchasing a home whether you plan to fill it with children or not.