Solo Home Buyers Face Unique Challenges

Recent reports have noted a marked increase in the number of female home buyers across the United States. In fact, it’s not only young couples and families who are eagerly entering the real estate game; young, single women are buying in droves.

The most recent available data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) notes that single women have been purchasing homes at almost twice the frequency of their male counterparts.

“More women than men think buying a home is a good financial investment,” Jessica Lautz, NAR’s manager of member and consumer survey research, told Reuters. “Many of them are thinking of the pure desire to own a home and to settle and make roots.”

That said, single females don’t differ significantly from their male counterparts in the challenges they’re facing. There are two things both need to bear in mind when taking the plunge:

Affordability. A couple or family may have two incomes to contribute to a down payment and subsequent mortgage payments. If you’re making a big purchase on your own, knowing what you can comfortably afford becomes all the more crucial.

Despite what your mortgage approval says, make sure that you’ll be able to make payments without feeling stretched. And remember to factor in the costs of upkeep, repairs, and unforeseen circumstances; unexpected emergencies could cost you thousands of dollars – a cost that you’ll bear entirely on your own.

Protection. Just because you purchased your home on your own doesn’t mean you’ll always live in it alone. It’s important to remember that your home is probably your biggest investment, and you need to protect it. That may mean signing a prenuptial contract or another type of agreement in case you and a partner divorce/break up.

Insurance. Last, but certainly not least, be sure to properly insure your home against a wide variety of potential hazards. That includes purchasing homeowners, life, and, depending on the circumstances, disability insurance.

Is It Curtains for the Open Concept Lifestyle?

For years, it’s seemed as though open-concept living was the design principle of choice.

Kitchens, dining rooms, and living rooms were prized for their lack of dividing doors and walls.

Now, however, the dominance of the open-concept lifestyle is in question, according to architects and designers quoted in a November 2015 article inDezeen, an international design magazine.

UK architect David Mikhail told Dezeen that he first noticed the shift while working on an affordable housing scheme. Residents were offered a choice between an open-plan living space and inserting a wall between their living and dining rooms.

“Much to our surprise, they all chose to put the wall in,” Mikhail said.

According to Mikhail, many designed homes include a mix of spaces, such that large living areas now comfortably coexist with nooks and crannies, reflecting a current desire for secluded spaces and privacy.

The trend to “flexible-plan living” may be a function of today’s mobile technology. So-called broken-plan spaces allow each family member privacy for tablet and smartphone use, as well as individual areas to watch different TV programs at the same time.

While open-concept design still rules, other design publications have also noted a renewed interest in closed spaces.

The New York Times, for example, reported that an increasing number of buyers preferred separate dining and living areas.

And, in dissing open kitchens, Houzz writer Vanessa Brunner suggests: “If you want to leave your smells and mess behind when serving meals, a closed layout could be for you.” Point well made.