7 Things to Know Before Buying a Home By Yourself

Here's what real estate experts say to keep in mind when buying a home without a spouse or kids.


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Buying a home is one of the biggest financial decisions you can make, and the experience can vary greatly depending on whether you're embarking on this journey as an individual, as a couple, or as a family. While the traditional home-buying path often involves a married couple sharing the financial burden of the mortgage and the emotional burden of a “forever home,” more and more individuals are choosing to purchase a home solo. Whether it's due to financial independence, personal preference, or life circumstance, buying a home as an individual can bring its own set of challenges and rewards.

Taking on the responsibility of buying a home by and for yourself can be a daunting task, but it also provides a sense of control and freedom. Whether you're a first-time homebuyer or a seasoned investor, take these seven tips from real estate experts before buying a home by yourself in today’s competitive real estate market.

Your choices are your own.

Entering the real estate market as a solo buyer gives you an element of control. You can focus on finding the home that best suits your personal tastes without having to worry about others' preferences.

Jeanine Searcy, founder of Black Girls in Real Estate explains how buying alone can offer more flexibility with your choices. “You may want a condo, townhouse, or a home with easier maintenance," she says. "You may not be purchasing with a spouse or kids so you may look for less bedrooms, less yard space, and possibly a city or urban market for night life.” The nice thing about purchasing as a single person is that you can narrow in on what you like and how much you want to spend.

You may have to be open-minded about location.

Searcy explains that while it’s not necessarily harder to qualify for a loan as a single buyer, you will have to qualify exclusively on your own income and credit history. Not only can your income determine the purchase price of your home, but it may limit you to certain cities and markets. While solo buyers might love to live in high-priced markets like NYC, and LA, only those in certain income brackets will qualify for the purchase of their ideal space. Buying a home alone can be quite competitive. Comparing homes according to your needs may require being flexible about the zip codes and neighborhoods in which you’re willing to live.

Take time finding a mortgage.

Theresa Raymond, real estate broker at TN Smoky Mountain Realty, says that mortgage pre-approvals “increase your financial charisma as it proves you to be ready for a purchase with a strong plan.” However, that doesn't mean you should rush the process. Raymond adds that most new home buyers are not aware that they should shop around for a mortgage. This can be especially true, because single buyers may get different terms, rates, and maximum loan amounts from different lenders. So, don't devalue this important step. Take the time to explore different financing options and make sure you find the best option for you.

Budget for everything.

Raymond asserts that budgeting for a home is about thinking beyond the immediate purchase. “Not having a spouse means you’re the only person liable for paying all of the bills,” Raymond says. Single buyers must be extra sure that they can cover expenses like insurance premiums, maintenance costs, housing fees, or house warranties—alongside the mortgage—after closing on their new home. 

Don't fall for the bells and whistles.

Buying a home can be an emotional process that brings up a lot of feelings of what you should want versus what you truly need. For example, although a family might see a large yard as ideal for small kids, for singles it can look like a heavy maintenance bill or a lot of weekend time spent on lawn care. Even custom kitchen appliances may not be worth the price of the upsell if you’re always eating on the go or have no interest in meal prep. Certain high-end upgrades or home features may turn out to be less than ideal for some singles, and their price tag may not really be worth it in the long-run.

Raymond adds that often flippers and developers try to sweeten the deal with builder incentives. “Builder incentives are a way to fish new buyers for buying homes fresh out of the oven," she says. "They include fancy and expensive gifts like a paid vacation, car, etc. if you buy one of their buildings. But it’s important to know that most of these incentives are adjusted to your purchase price, which means you’re paying for it yourself."

Rather than fall in love with the extras, Raymond says it's important to analyze the cost of these perks and their associated maintenance fees against the offered price to make sure they're really worth it. In many cases, they aren't.

Consider buying an income producing property.

If you're more interested in homeownership for the financial payoff than the lifestyle change, there are different avenues you can take. For example, Searcy believes in “purchasing income producing properties first so that you don’t have to make a choice between the starter home or the forever home.” Income-producing homes are typically multi-family homes with other apartments or rooms to rent. If you buy a property that you can live in and rent out, you could receive a good portion of your mortgage from renters and roommates.

These homes can be a great deal for a single person who doesn’t need much space or isn’t worried about sharing walls. Getting these kinds of homes, when they're convenient for you to do so (and while you don't have to factor in kids' schools or a partner’s needs), can spell long term financial independence.

You don't have to go at it completely alone.

As mentioned above, buying a home alone isn't just a big financial undertaking, but also can be an emotionally taxing process. However, just because you won't be making the purchase with someone else, that doesn't mean you can't call in for help along the way. Friends and family can be great resources—especially if they've already been through the home-buying process themselves. Don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it and bring a trusted friend in for a second opinion when you want one.

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