More single women are buying homes than ever before. Roughly twenty percent of home buyers are single women, and twice as many single women buy a home as single men. In the housing market, however, women sometimes struggle to get competitive, affordable loans when compared to their male counterparts. These tips can help women get the best possible loans for their budgets.
1.Check Your Credit
Fair or not, it is true that men generally have a better credit score than women. There are many reasons for this, including the pay gap between men and women, the tendency of women to use more of their credit, and the fact that more women end up with delinquent accounts than men. These discrepancies are usually only a few points, which doesn’t have a significant impact in most situations. When trying to apply for a mortgage, however, every point counts.
If you are a single woman applying for a home loan, the best option you have is to improve your credit as much as possible before you apply for a loan. Get any delinquent accounts back to good standing, pay off as much debt as possible, and make sure that any fraud or inappropriate charges on your report have been dealt with.
2.Know Your Budget
There is a popular perception that women are not as good at managing their money as men. When shopping for a home, this may cause realtors and other home sellers to try and take advantage of women, making it look like they can afford more home than they want or need. On the other hand, banks are more likely to be cautious about lending to a woman due to their own biases.
Know how much you can spend on a home and look for the right home within your budget. Remember, the more you can put down in cash, the better your home ownership options are going to be.
Because differences in credit and inherent biases can be so surprisingly prevalent during the loan application process, it can be even more important to shop around for the right loan for you. Different lenders may be able to offer different rates, require different down payment amounts, or create more comprehensive options for repayment.
While anyone buying a home is advised to shop for the best loan product, women in particular should make sure that they have consulted with several different lenders to make sure they’re getting the best deal possible.
4.Get All the Information
Because of the perception that women aren’t as good as men at handling their finances, lenders may not be as thorough with women as they explain the details of the loan product they’re selling. Some experts believe that this is why women were so badly affected by predatory lenders in 2006.
It’s a good idea to make sure you ask a lot of questions about the lender and the loan they’re offering. It can be helpful, if annoying, to bring someone with you to meet with the lender to make sure you ask the right questions and get real answers. Much like shopping for a new car, this shouldn’t be a factor, but definitely can be.
5.Consider a Home Ownership Class
Anyone looking to buy a home should consider a home ownership class; this can really demystify the roles and timelines involved with purchasing a first home. Women in particular may benefit from a home ownership class because it may help them be taken more seriously by lenders.
Showing that you have put time and energy into being the best possible home owner you can be might help a lender offer you a loan they otherwise would not be willing to underwrite.
This advice is disproportionately offered to women, when it is a factor that affects all genders who are buying a home. There’s a huge culture around buying a home and redoing it from top to bottom, creating a whole new look that feels uniquely yours. That can be a fantastic way of making a house feel like home – but it may not be something that is immediately affordable on day one of homeownership. Tempting as it might be to bring in a designer the day of the closing, take some time.
This is for both financial and practical reasons; financially, you want to make sure that you’re comfortable making your loan payments in practice as well as in theory. Practically, you should get to know your home a bit before you start deciding how to make it look.
Women often struggle to get a fair deal when it comes to buying a home for the first time. By keeping an eye on your credit and watching for unfair lending practices, you can simplify the process immensely.