Buying a home can be an amazing investment and a fulfilling life decision if made at the right time. However, the right time for home ownership will be different for everyone. Ms. Steady might be ready right off the bat as she settles into an entry level position in her first career, while Ms. Gypsy may need to work out some travel bugs, and even try a few cities on for size before she’s ready to settle down and commit to a location long term.
Disadvantages of home ownership, particularly for single women:
You’re locked into a location for 2-5+ years. To re-coup closing costs, even in a steadily rising market, you want to plan on staying in the same location for 2-5 years. Until you’re settled into a job and/or community, you may find it appealing to keep your options open and be able to change locations to follow your career or try out different living environments. (check out this calculator to calculate whether it’s less expensive to buy or rent depending on the duration)
You could be locked into a location for even longer. If you buy during a falling market, you may find yourself unexpectedly owing way more on your mortgage than your home is worth, causing you to need to stay there long term to pay down your mortgage until your balance is low enough that you can sell it. I believe the housing market can be roughly predicted to be rising in most places, but there will always be unexpected fluctuations.
Home maintenance. As a homeowner, especially of an older home though they all require some maintenance, you’ll be responsible for everything from cleaning out the gutters to finding out that your house was wired wrong and needs a whole new breaker box and updated wiring! Problems need to be corrected promptly to protect the safety and value of your home. As my dad says, ‘owning a home is like having a part time job!’. Make sure you have the time and ability to figure out what needs to be fixed, what you can do yourself, and what you will need to outsource.
Incidental costs. Those who make a habit of living paycheck to paycheck, owning a home may quickly become a huge source of stress for you. The reason banks require a down payment? It’s not only to make sure you have some ‘skin in the game’ but it’s also to ensure that you have the self control to save up for major purchases. If you find that life is full of unexpected costs that are preventing you from every being able to save, you will want to figure out how to anticipate theses costs and lower your cost of living to accommodate them before embarking on a major purchase with regular upkeep that owning a house requires.
I am not a professional real estate agent, broker, or financial adviser. I have no qualifications to give financial, investment, or real estate, or any other advice. I'm a single woman sharing what she has learned, and I encourage you to always double and triple check information found here. The content of the pages of this website is opinion and personal experience only. It is subject to change without notice.
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