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Being A Single Buyer

An article from the Chronicle Herald by Vanessa Roman

Every week I delight in receiving emails from readers with questions about real estate. As August turns to September, many readers are wondering if now is the time to buy a new home. My answer is a resounding YES! Quite a few of you also wrote to ask whether buying a house as a single person is a good idea. Again, my answer is a resounding YES!

In most parts of the country, we are in a firm buyer’s market, which means more people are trying to sell their homes than there are people willing or able, to buy them. There are plenty of properties currently on the market for buyers to choose from and mortgage interest rates remain low, which helps first-time buyers afford the monthly costs of a new home. In addition, as fall approaches many sellers who have had their properties on the market over the summer are considering price reductions to get their houses sold before winter sets in.

There is a growing trend across Canada this year of single people purchasing homes for the first time. The trend tends to favour women — fewer men buy homes solo as they prefer to rent — but their numbers are on the rise. The keys to success in solo buying are being prepared financially and choosing the right property.

In my experience, first time single buyers usually have a big wish list their budgets can’t, or shouldn’t, support. It’s best to think and act conservatively with your budget initially because you — the first-time home buyer — have never owned a property before and may not have a solid plan for the unexpected expenses which will come up. While paying rent, you didn’t have to worry about these unexpected expenses because you had a landlord to call. But now you are your own landlord, so the buck stops with you — and you better have some bucks in the bank to cover the expenses.

Make sure there is room to manoeuvrer within your monthly budget. You don’t want to become a test case for what NOT to do when buying solo. I recommend having at least a 20 per cent cushion within your monthly budget. So after all your essential bills are paid, you have 20 per cent saved for a rainy day or a leaky faucet or a crack in the foundation or … you get the picture.

You might already have breathing space factored into your personal finances while paying rent. If you can switch that rental money across to a mortgage you will be better off in the long run, building equity for your future.

Finally, being on your own when you buy a home means there’s nobody else to help with maintenance, yard work, chores and the upkeep. So make sure the size and requirements of the property suit your lifestyle, both in terms of time and handy-person skills. You don’t want to get swamped under to-do lists when you’re also trying to make sure the mortgage is paid on time.

Buying a home as a single person is possible and can be one of the best investments you make for your financial future. If you think this might be the right avenue for you, make two appointments this week — the first with your mortgage broker and the second with your real estate agent. Find out what your home buying budget is and see what types of properties are available on the market within your budget.

Don’t let that single freedom in any way imprison you from the dream of buying a home.