Buying A Home: Tips For Single Moms On Financing And Preparations
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Buying a home as a single mother is a huge life change. It’s an exciting time for sure, but it can also be highly stressful. Figuring out financing, assessing the best ways to make the move go smoothly, and working out the details of leaving your current home -- especially if you are recently separated or divorced -- can all bring feelings of stress or anxiety that make the process completely overwhelming.
But there's plenty you can do to ease the process, particularly if you plan according to your specific needs. Making sure your finances are in great shape and keeping in mind everything your new home will need to ensure your safety and comfort are top priorities, so planning is crucial. Write out a list of tasks you’ll need to complete, and talk to a financial advisor if you need help; this can be especially important if you are dealing with the sale of a mutually owned property.
Keep reading for some great tips on how to buy a home when you’re a single mom.
Check your credit
Taking out a home loan is a big commitment, and the lender you choose to go with will want to make sure you’re able to handle the payments. This will mean checking your credit to see not only what your score is, but how many big monthly bills you have, whether you have been paying them on time, and the amount you owe on other loans or credit cards. Whipping your credit into shape takes time, so it’s a good idea to check it out well before you’re ready to begin the buying process. Start with a credit app that will keep you updated on any changes to your accounts and won’t negatively affect your score.
If you haven’t yet, start saving
Buying a home requires more of a financial commitment than a monthly mortgage payment; you’ll also need a significant down payment, plus money for closing costs and any charges you’re responsible for at your current residence (cleaning, for instance). This means you’ll need to have a fair amount saved before you even start looking for a home. To get a better understanding of the costs related to buying a home and what’s within your budget, you can use an online affordability calculator.
Make leaving your current home as easy as possible
Leaving a home is often complicated, especially if you are separated or recently divorced and have children. You may have to figure out an arrangement with your former partner rather than simply selling the home and splitting the profits, such as allowing them to refinance the mortgage and take over the payments by themselves. They will have to apply to do this and be approved, and the process can take a while, so it’s important to get started as early as possible.
Consider your investment
Investing in a new home often means trying to see into the future. You need to think about the best features for your needs while also considering what will age well and what future potential buyers will want should you decide to sell. Getting the most value out of your home is important, so look for updated bathrooms and kitchen fixtures over nice but unnecessary add-ons, like a sun porch.
Think about security
A critical part of homeownership is protecting your investment -- and yourself. This means finding a home in a safe neighborhood, making sure the house you buy has solid deadbolts and locking windows, ample outdoor lighting and possibly even a security system. In fact, your first priority after you complete the purchase should be having the locks rekeyed to ensure nobody else has access to your home. Doing so will give you peace of mind knowing you and your house are safe.
Buying a home is a big decision, so take your time to be sure you’re making the right one for your needs. Help moving day go smoothly by staying organized when you pack and asking for help from friends and loved ones, especially if you have young children or pets who need to be looked after. With a good plan, you can make the process of buying a home as a single mom an easy one.