According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), single women represented 17% of homebuyers in 2022, and single men accounted for 9%. Buying a house as a single woman has outpaced single men since 1981.
So what is it like to be a single woman buying a home in today’s market? As an all-female team ourselves, a lot of our clients are women. According to the NAR, the number one reason women seek homeownership is – spoiler alert – they want to own a place of their own. This comes as no surprise, so what else is at play? The NAR cited other reasons including a desire for economic stability and also life changes such as divorce.
We decided to look to our own client base of interesting and inspiring single women to share their experiences with home buying.
Bree Bristol’s client, Rhonda, found herself buying a home at the height of COVID with unprecedented low inventory and soaring prices. She was competing against two-person incomes coupled with cash offers.
“I felt the crunch of competition. I bought my home in the thick of COVID and homes were going fast. I was outbid a few times with cash offers and that portion of the process was defeating. Luckily, I had a great agent who helped me navigate the entire process with guardianship eyes,” Rhonda said.
The hardest part of the process for Rhonda was getting outbid. The home buying process, particularly the negotiating phase, can be a roller coaster. And in a hot market, the competition can be steep.
“You get your hopes up on that one house, you manifest it in your mind what it will be like to live in it and how it will be decorated, and boom outbid. It’s defeating, to say the least.”
Like many, Rhonda wanted a place of her own, but her path to homeownership also symbolized a greater meaning for her and her sons.
“I purchased my home as an independent woman mostly to show my sons how to be self-sufficient and what conquering your goals looks like. I was in a marriage dependent on income. Depending on someone to pay part of the bills was paralyzing and it kept me in the marriage far too long. I vowed never to do anything that required me to be dependent on anyone but myself. I also wanted to make sure what I have, my sons will inherit ultimately.
The best part of the home-buying experience was by far the call from Bree saying ‘YOU’VE GOT A HOME!’ Becoming a homeowner after my ex said I would never be able to do such a thing and after being a renter my entire adult life, was life-changing. my agent saw the diamond in the rough and advised me to jump on it! I became a hundred thousandaire overnight!” Rhonda said.
And for Rhonda, there is a lot of satisfaction in knowing that she has an asset to hand down to her sons someday.
When Jessica, another client of Bree’s, purchased her house solo, she found the process scary but also rewarding. Jessica had been single for many years and wanted to be a homeowner.
“Looking at fixer-uppers was a little intimidating to me, but only because I am single and have had no experience in building or remodeling any part of a home. Because of this, I chose to stay away from these homes,” she said.
Jessica found a home that met her criteria, and the entire process from first looking at homes to closing on her home took less than 3 months.
After going through the process, Jessica suggests to other singles to disregard that noise and not to let it get in the way of their dreams.
Rhonda has been in her home for three years now and loves the freedom that she can do absolutely whatever she likes to her house. The only obstacles she’s seen as a single-woman homeowner have been the occasional male contractor assuming she didn’t know what they were talking about and trying to upcharge her.
“I never disclosed to them I was the Assistant Director of a Housing Authority and knew a thing or two about homes!” she said.
As she reflects on the home buying process, Rhonda advises independent homeowners to be prepared for unexpected costs like paying for the appraisal, paying earnest money on the offer, knowing how much permits will be for roofs, septic, etc, and watching how much property taxes fluctuate.
“Every question I had, Bree had an answer for and this was reassuring. I also knew she was not going to suggest a home to me that would be a risk. Three years after my purchase, my home is worth twice the selling price!” Rhonda said.
Like Rhonda, Jessica loves the freedom of homeownership.
“My home and property are mine, and I get to decorate, make changes, and do what I want to it as I please,” Jessica said.
When asked about the challenges of independent homeownership as a woman, Jessica can only look to the future, at what we might call a fantastic goal rather than a challenge – she hopes to purchase a second, larger home someday.
And we say, yes, Jessica! We love the inspiration these women offer through their stories, and how they took on this solo journey to create future wealth for themselves and their loved ones.
“I help single women buy homes all the time! It is a misconception that 2 incomes are needed to buy a home. A good lender will help you find what budget fits your income. My job is to help you find the perfect home and to achieve your dreams of homeownership. Take the fear out of it, and get a good team to help you through the process!” said Bree Bristol, broker.