Married couples might comprise the greatest share of homebuyers, but single women follow close behind, especially retired women over the age of 55, according to the Wall Street Journal. Gone are the days when women had to wait until marriage to buy a home; now, women are feeling more confident in creating their own sanctuary and means of wealth-building through homeownership.
If agents hope to maintain their success in the industry, they must prepare for a growing market of single-women homebuyers—a trend that will only increase as more women earn degrees, attain higher-paying jobs and seek properties to buy. Whether your client is a six-figure earning professional, a single mother or a divorcee looking to start a new chapter in her life, or all of the above, here are some important factors to consider when helping your clients, courtesy of the 2018 NAWRB Women in the Housing Ecosystem Report.
Couples, married or unmarried, normally have more buying power than single homebuyers because they have two sources to pull from that could go toward mortgage payments. According to 2016 NAR data, married couples have the highest income of around $99,200, compared to single buyers; however, dependence on a primary income is not deterring single women from buying homes.
Home-Buying Process for Single Women
- Single women are independent; thus, all home-buying decisions—including where to live, how much of a mortgage payment they can afford, how to decorate their house, etc.—will be made by them.
- Single women are interested in buying a home as a means of wealth-building. They’re taking the necessary steps to ensure their financial security in the future, whether or not they have a partner.
- As a single woman, size may not be as important as location and affordability. Some women are interested in owning a home to get a pet, so a sizable backyard is a must.
- Stringent lending standards make it more difficult for singles applying for loans with one income.
Home-Buying Process for Single Mothers
- With a limited income, saving money will be difficult because of child-related expenses. Single mothers are also looking for a property they can afford in the long term.
- Single mothers will want a safe, supportive community with a low crime rate and reputable education system. Having nearby infrastructure and basic amenities like shopping centers, hospitals and parks will be preferred.
- Working mothers, like other single women, have limited time on their hands; however, single mothers are crunched even more for time, as being a mother is another job in and of itself.
- Smart home technology, such as security alarms, intercom systems, carbon monoxide detectors and nightlights, could be especially important and appealing to single mothers.
A home is a woman’s sanctuary, a place to call her own, and an invaluable asset that cements one’s professional progress and economic foundation. It would be beneficial for agents to keep this in mind as they assist the needs of women buyers. Your clients will return the favor by referring your services to like-minded friends interested in taking the leap into independent living and property investment.
Desirée Patno is the CEO and president of Women in the Housing and Real Estate Ecosystem (NAWRB) and Desirée Patno Enterprises, Inc. (DPE), as well as chairwoman of NAWRB’s Diversity & Inclusion Leadership Council (NDILC). With 30 years of experience in housing, Patno is a champion for women’s economic growth and independence. In 2017, Entrepreneur.com named her the Highest-Ranking Woman and 4th Overall Top Real Estate Influencer to Follow. For more information, please visit www.nawrb.com.
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How Agents Can Better Serve Single-Women Homebuyers