Should Singles Buy Homes
I’m not usually surprised about financial statistics. Scouring and studying the internet, business papers, and business cable channels in order to provide my readers with information: that’s what I do.
I love this personal finance stuff: trends, charts, graphs, statistics. You might find it boring as hell, but not me. That’s just the kinda’ guy I am. That’s why you keep me around.
But, when I read this article in the Wall Street Journal that twice as many single women as single men buy homes rather than rent, I was surprised.
I’m truly not a sexist guy. My daughter-in-law owned her own place when she and my son married. I never thought about it from a male/female angle. I didn’t realize the extent to which single women longed for that great American dream that home-ownership represents.
Twenty percent of single women own homes, compared to just 10% of single men.
What’s the draw? What makes single women, the new college grads, the recently divorced or the happily single professional, want to own their place?
Most experts think single women are drawn to the comfort/security that comes from living in your own place. That immeasurable feeling that you’ve grown up, you’ve made it when you drive into a driveway or put that key into a lock that has your name on it.
And what, theoretically, is more secure than your own home, with it’s security system, and maybe a gated community with guardhouse and rent a cop services?
Should single women buy their home?
But, is the decision that obvious-should single women really go down the home-ownership path?
Why should singles think twice? Why should they reconsider this almost primal urge to plop down hard earned down payment money to buy a place you can call ‘mi casa’… (you and the bank of course….)
- Limits mobility-in this world of limited job security, owning your home limits your ability to follow the jobs. It’s much tougher to sell your home in a hurry these days with job loss or transfer.
- The stress of leaving a home, perhaps becoming a landlord ’cause you can’t sell, but gotta go, go, go!
- The carrying costs of home-ownership: Home Owners Association (HOA) dues, maintenance costs, taxes, and insurance add up, and these costs are not going down.
- Do-it-yourself challenges: it costs a lot more to coax a plumber or handy-man into your home these days. But who wants to reach in that toilet to get it unstopped?
- Insular living: if you want to meet people, it may be harder in a single family home in the ‘burbs.
- Loss of potential investment income. Many financial experts say that home ownership is over-rated as a source of wealth building. Few people get the benefit of the home equity they do build up. (and many of you are laughing hysterically at the idea of ever having home equity, you’re so far upside down!)
- One income: It’s harder to build an emergency fund to cover that AC that dies or the new roof or basement leaks, and it’s harder to build up a down payment on one income.
- Tax breaks are over-rated. The majority of single home-owners don’t itemize, so the home interest deduction doesn’t even count.
Many of these same reasons to avoid buying apply to single men, married couples, couples with kids….
Think before you buy your dream home!
Before the picture of you sitting in your rocking chair on your porch, surveying all this property you call your own home, draws you into making a financial decision you may regret:
- Take a little time.
- Write down the reasons that make owning your own place such a big draw.
If the dream of owning your own place remains the only dream that causes you to smile when you wake up in your rental, then by all means consider chasing your dream.
Thinking this through methodically, making sure you consider all the pluses and minuses, will minimize the chance of going to bed with Channing Tatum but waking up beside Jack Black.
What do you think about single women and home-ownership? Did you do it as a single? What were the benefits? What made you throw down your cash?
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