By Cathy Evans ~ Keller Williams Realty and Sales Manager at Ron Terry Construction, Inc.

While the millennial’s seemed to take the spotlight in the National Association of Realtors latest ‘Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends’ study, single women are making their own waves and have purchased homes at nearly twice the rate of single men since the mid 1990’s. A few decades ago, a single woman buying real estate on her own was a rarity. Before the Fair Housing Act of 1968, without a husband’s or father’s signature, few women could get approved for a credit card, much less a mortgage.

A record number of first time single women are becoming home buyers. If you’re a single woman who wants to buy a house, the good news is the market is wide open for you and interest rates are still at an all-time low. The stats from the Joint Center for Housing Studies say: 

  • More than one in five home buyers is a single woman.
  • Twice as many unmarried women are buying homes than single men.
  • Single women make up more than one-third of the growth in real estate ownership since 1994.

It’s no secret that both men and women are tying the knot later in life. A generation ago, statistics for men and women rushing to the altar was in their early 20s; now, the median age for a first-time marriage has crept into the late 20s and early 30s. Women place a high value on homeownership regardless of their relationship status.  They want a place to call their own and are willing, even if they are at lower incomes, to make financial sacrifices to get there with an immense sense of pride.

It seems that more women have the stability and desire to own their own homes as they are not getting married straight out of high school or college as much. Many in the older group may have lost spouses and are now downsizing or moving to more maintenance-free homes. From my own personal experience in the past couple years, while working in sales for a new home builder in the Flathead Valley, women seem to be more confident than ever and ready to purchase or explore the possibilities. Women purchasing in this market have also been motivated by a desire to move into newly built homes and according to the NAR survey, 2% of buyers gave this reason for buying in 2015.

Why women shouldn’t wait

Women today do not sit around waiting for Prince Charming to come into their lives.  The time frame for meeting your dream man, getting married, and having kids can be a pretty long timeline. So even if you do meet ‘The One’ a day after closing on your home, you could sell your home in a few years and still make a profit or at the worst, probably break even. If you buy right, that is. That said, women who do want to marry and have kids as soon as possible will want to eye their potential home purchase with that in mind. Is the new place big enough for a family? Or, if you think you’ll sell and move into a larger place once you’re hitched, how easy will it be to sell your original home or keep for an investment property.

Preparation is key

Once you’re at a point when you’re ready to buy, it helps to be prepared. This makes your offer more attractive and your closing run more smoothly. Know what you can do, what you want to do, and how you need to get there.

And remember to get your paperwork in order, even if you already have a loan preapproval. You’ll need proof of income, recent tax returns, bank statements and other supporting documents to close your loan.

Whatever turns life takes, owning the roof over your head is an empowering move that few women regret even if they’ve since moved out and on with their life.

 Montana Woman Magazine - May 2017