Whether single by choice, or single by circumstance, it is clear that women are not waiting around to start climbing the property ladder. While the prospect of embarking on a home ownership journey with a single income may seem daunting – particularly in light of the recent interest rate spike – it is not an unattainable goal says Andrea Tucker, Director of MortgageMe.
It is important to remember that home ownership is a marathon, not a sprint. By making wise financial choices and following the right advice, you can take the plunge with full confidence.
Join the wave
Recent statistics reveal more career-minded women between 24-41 years old are buying homes than their male counterparts – a feel-good stat just in time for Women’s Month. And more good news is that as the gender pay gap slowly shrinks, buying property and securing financial freedom is within reach for more women than ever before. As women take control of their own finances in increasing numbers, they consider financial obligations more thoroughly and tend to be viewed favourably by lenders.
Singletons can do it
While it can be a challenge for singletons of all genders to go alone on the property ladder, it is possible. “Ensuring you have a good credit score, and money for a decent deposit will contribute hugely to your house buying success. Draw up a realistic budget factoring in your lifestyle, hidden costs such as property taxes and emergency savings to get a realistic picture of your finances. Having a pre-qualification letter will ease the process tremendously,” says Tucker.
Keep the end in mind
Although no prospective buyer likes the idea of moving out of their dream home before the deal is even signed, it’s important to factor in the potential resale value of your new home and the factors that influence said value. Property close to good schools and shops will always remain popular. Maintaining the house and the garden and pool will also attract potential future buyers. “Also, avoid going overboard with too many custom-made alterations as unique features might reduce the home’s resale value and limit the number of potential buyers interested,” says Tucker.
Do it for yourself
Saving as much money as money to contribute to a deposit is worth it. Foregoing extravagant purchases, at least for a while, is a small price to pay for independence and financial security. “Women shouldn’t put themselves in a vulnerable position if they can help it. That means planning, budgeting, saving, investing, and building wealth,” adds Tucker. Employers are more open to remote work since the pandemic and owning a house with an office area is tax deductible. Find out how you can make your money (and your property) work for you.
Additional income streams
Renting out a room or a ‘granny flat’ can make bond repayments that much easier. “Additional funds can be saved for unexpected expenses or be diverted straight into a savings account. Having a regular extra revenue stream can be a massive help for single homeowners. The truth is unforeseen (and costly) events happen to everyone. The bigger the rainy-day fund, the better,” says Tucker.
Security and stability
Thanks to the added convenience of lock-up-and-go apartments, security complexes and estates are popular choices for single women. “Whatever arrangement works best for you though, avoid poorly lit areas and entrances. Opt for a home with a security system or budget to have one installed before moving in. It’s a good idea to do your homework on your neighbourhood of choice before house hunting, speak to estate agents and people who actually live in the area,” advises Tucker.
With the right prep, you can join other singleton homeowners. Limit your expenses, find ways to gain additional income, get familiar with your financial situation and be on the lookout for a good bargain. “The freedom of owning your own home is an achievement to be proud of – and one you can decorate exactly how you want,” notes Tucker.
MortgageMe is an online bond aggregator. The online platform, launched in 2019, eliminates the time-consuming hassle and paperwork involved in the traditional home loan application process by initiating a super-fast digitised application process that automates tailored submissions to the country’s major banks and lenders on a prospective property buyers’ behalf. MortgageMe’s instant access to South African lenders means the best rates are shared with the user side-by-side, allowing them to get a full, realistic picture before making their decision.