First Person: Purchasing a Home as a Single Woman

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According to a recent article by CNBC, single women are driving the demand for rental apartments. Although a lot of single women do prefer to rent when they are in their 20s, most of the single women I know eventually want to purchase a house. I bought my first home at age 30, when I was single. My single sister purchased her first home when she was 32.

Getting the right debt-to-income ratio

Many single women in their 20s still have a lot of student loan debt. I know in my 20s, I had not only student loan debt, but credit card debt. I couldn't get a mortgage loan even though I wanted to. It wasn't until I had paid off all my consumer debt that I qualified for my first mortgage. I purchased a townhome for about $104,000.

Waiting for a partner

I know some women are reluctant to purchase a home because they rather wait until they get married or have a child. According to exerts, birth and fertility rates are dropping for women in the millennial generation. Although women in their 20s may wait it out, I have met a lot of single women in their 30s, 40s and 50s who are happy homeowners. Perhaps they gravitate more toward low-maintenance condos, but some of them want a yard for their dogs or other pets.

Becoming lady landlords

Some of my single friends decided to turn their homes into rentals when they had to relocate for their jobs. One of my friends said she was a reluctant landlord until she started getting a steady check every month from a very reliable tenant. Now she feels as though someone else is paying her mortgage for her while she travels as a nurse. I regret not turning my own townhome into a rental after I got married.

Building up equity

Even though we don't have a rental income from the townhome I owned before I married my husband, I'm glad I bought and sold my first home. We used the $30,000 profit from my townhome as part of the down payment on our current home. If I had not gotten married, I still would have felt more secure by building equity in a house. Younger women say they want the flexibility that being a renter gives them. But I find I have greater financial flexibility by having equity in a home.

Taking advantage of historic lows

I've read several recent articles that claim mortgage interest rates are slowly beginning to rise. When I purchased my first home, I took out a loan with a 7 percent interest rate. I would have loved to be able to lock in at lower interest rates. However, the lowest interest rates on record could not motivate a single woman to purchase her first home if she does not feel ready.

As a Generation X woman, I can't relate to all of the financial issues that the millennial generation faces today. However, I know one of the smartest financial decisions I made was purchasing my first home as a single woman. It made me feel empowered and secure. After living in my townhome for two years, I ended up getting married. Having a townhome was a financial asset as I merged my finances with my husband.

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More from this contributor:

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