A home of one’s own, part 2
March 30, 2017
With the 2017 homebuying season already warming up, it’s a great time to highlight how independent women homebuyers are asserting themselves in the market. While 66 percent of US homebuyers are married couples, last year, 17 percent were single women, while only 7 percent were single men — even though men on average still make more money.
Here at Framework, we don’t have to look any farther than our own staff to see independent female homebuyers in action. In part two of this series of posts, meet Laura.
Laura, program manager, homeowner since 2014
A two-bedroom townhome in Inver Grove Heights, near St. Paul.
The decision: “Someplace permanent to make my own”
“I had moved several times since college, had several apartments, was in and out of my parents’ house, and I decided it was time to be someplace permanent that I could make my own. Plus, I really wanted walls I could paint a color of my choosing (like my local paint store's Coastal Sand).
"As far as being single, I definitely had that thought about whether I should wait and see. But then I kind of thought, well, why would I hold up everything for a relationship or for a family? You can always buy a bigger place.
“My parents were the main people who questioned it. They were supportive, but I think they had some concerns that I would bite off more than I could chew, like house maintenance and that sort of thing. Once nice thing about the townhome is you don't have much of that. I do know other young women who purchased a house and mow the lawn and all that.
“My place isn’t huge, but it does have two bedrooms. That gave me that option to have another person in the home, a renter or whoever that might be, if things got tight financially. Having answered phones at the Minnesota Homeownership Center [Framework’s parent nonprofit, along with the Housing Partnership Network] when I first started, I’d heard some foreclosure horror stories, and that did give me pause. If I lost my income, who else’s income would I have? Nobody’s. It was definitely something I thought about.
“I was there here a couple of years alone, but my boyfriend moved in last August, and he’s totally taken over my space. I think once you have your space the way you want it, it’s tough. At the same time, I’m good with the decision. If we were to get married and have children, we’d probably want a bigger space.
“I still feel good about my decision to buy. I like my home, I like my neighborhood. It's a community I’ve always had roots in.”
“I would say that knowing what to expect is half the battle. So the knowledge I’d gained through working for Framework did increase my confidence throughout the homebuying process. Of course I met with a Homeownership Advisor first. It was so helpful to have an unbiased professional who could assure me that I was as ready, financially and otherwise, as I thought I was.
“There is a sort of confidence that comes with taking care of your property and learning how to make minor repairs by yourself. When you are your own landlord, there are really only two options when something goes wrong: deal with it now, or deal with it later when the situation has worsened. Luckily, nothing major has broken yet, but I’m trying to save a bit so I’ll be ready when it does.”