Are you a woman looking to invest in your 1st home? It might seem daunting because it’s such a big financial decision, but it’s actually a lot more achievable than you might think! Here are some need-to-know tips to get you started on investing in your first home.
Women and Home Ownership in the USA
We get it: the stereotype of homeowners has traditionally favored men and/or couples, but this is quickly changing. Just last year, the percentage of first-time single female homeowners stood at 18%, while for men it was only 11%.  What a refreshing trend! As the average national income for women increases, we are seeing more and more single women become homeowners.
For all these reasons and more, you should not feel intimidated as a woman seeking to invest in your first property. There is absolutely nothing stopping you from finding your dream home. With that being said, let’s now take a look at some items to put on a checklist to make sure you don’t forget any important details!\
Tips And Reminders For New Homeowners
As a new home buyer, be sure to add these simple tips to your list:
- Complete a thorough inspection before making the purchase
- Map out the house and learn how all the systems work
- Start with the HVAC filters
- Take note of comprehensive maintenance done to the house
- Keep an eye on plumbing and drains
- Check on top of your roof
- Do a deep clean of the home prior to moving in
- Change the locks before you move in
- Keep all home warranties and manuals in a safe place
- Take your time with renovation projects
- Maintain an emergency fund for unexpected home problems
- Invest in a home warranty policy
Depending on the type of property you are purchasing, you may want to add some additional items to your list, but this should be enough to give you a general idea of some typical mistakes to avoid. Feel free to add to the checklist as you see fit!
Explore First Home Buyer Programs and Loans
Buying a home can be daunting for first-timers. There are many requirements, costs, tasks, and steps that can make you anxious or lead you to make an expensive mistake. Thankfully, women who want to buy homes can and should consider exploring national and local First Home Buyer Programs.
Buying a home is an essential part of the American dream. That is why first-time homebuyers can get help from federally backed loans, tax breaks, and state programs. Some First Home Buyer Programs include:
- FHA Loans
- USDA Loans
- VA Loans
Are You Eligible For The FHA Loan?
FHA loans are insured by the Federal Housing Administration. They are best for those with low credit and smaller down payments. First-time homebuyers can buy a home with a minimum credit score of 580 and as little as 3.5 percent down or a credit score of 500 to 579 with at least 10 percent down. (4)
With FHA loans your overall borrowing costs can be higher since you’re paying an upfront premium and annual premiums. The upfront protects the lender’s stake in the loan if you default.
Are You Eligible For The USDA Loan?
USDA loans are 100 percent guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. As a first-time homebuyer with a lower or moderate income, this loan might be useful for you.
This financial guarantee comes with the rule that you do have to buy a home in a USDA-eligible area. You need to have a credit score of 640 or higher to qualify for a USDA loan.
Are You Eligible For The VA Loan?
This particular loan is backed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs which allows no down payment for military personnel, veterans, and their families. Luckily, if you are an active-duty military member, veteran, or spouse of a military member this type of loan can benefit you a lot.
VA loans come with lower interest rates compared to most other loan types. It also doesn’t require a down payment. There are no minimum credit scores or mortgage insurance requirements.
What Are Rent-To-Own Homes?
As a first-time prospective woman home-owner, you may find it hard to make such a big purchase. Maybe something with less upfront money is of more interest to you, such as a Rent-to-Own home.
Rent-to-own contracts are an alternative to traditional home loans. The renter has right to purchase the home at a specific time in the future. A portion of the money paid upfront and as part of the established monthly rent also goes toward the purchase price.
Companies like Home Partners(2) are closer to real estate investment firms. They work with you and licensed agents to find a single-family home you may not typically be able to rent. They set a purchase for the home and lease it to you. You have the right to buy the home after your lease is up at the pre-set price. Divvy Homes is the other well-known rent-to-own and a new kind of real estate company in the USA. (3)
Getting a house is not an easy task that can be done overnight. You need lots of planning and research to find the best option. Do not jump into a single option without first exploring others. Pay visits to different real estate agents. They can help you make the best decision.
Do your research before applying for a particular loan type. Make your budget and find a house that best suits you. Good luck!
- “Women Home Buyers ” NAR, 2021. https://www.nar.realtor/women-home-buyers
- “A New Path to Homeownership.” A New Path to Homeownership | Home Partners. https://www.homepartners.com/.
- Divvyhomes.com. https://www.divvyhomes.com/.
- Wallace, Joe. “Millennial First-Time Home Buyers and FHA Mortgages.” FHA Loan Refinance and Home Purchase Loans at FHA.com.
- By. “Millennial Home Buying: USDA Loan Info: (888) 464-8732.” USDA Loans Pennsylvania | USDA Loan Info | (888) 464-8732. February 01, 2019. https://www.usdaloaninfo.com/blog/millennial-home-buying/.
- “First Time Homebuyer.” Veterans United Home Loans.