Did you know that there are almost 13.6 million single parents raising over 21 million children? That means that there are around 13.6 million single-parent families in the USA.
Being a single parent comes with its own challenges without having to consider how you’ll manage to find a place to call home.
Buying a house is considered one of the most stressful experiences of adulthood, combine that with being a single parent and it may feel like the odds are stacked against you!
Are you looking for a place you and your children can call home? Here are five must-have tips on how single parent families can buy a new house.
Home Ownership Versus Long Term Renting
There’s always the option of long-term renting, yes. So why consider homeownership? As great as a rental option can be, there are instances where a rental will never quite feel like home.
Long-term rentals often come with strict rules as to what you can and can’t do with the place you’re staying in. You’re more often than not, not permitted to paint or change much in order to make the space your own.
Aside from that, rentals are never guaranteed. You may be able to sign a lease for a year or five, but there’s not saying that your agreement will continue past that. If your children are in the middle of their school year and your lease is up, do you really want to have to move them during this time?
Homeownership is a way in which you can ensure that the home you choose is yours, and will inevitably for years to come. Making a stable home for your children an easier option.
1. Search for Charity
You know how the saying goes, charity begins at home? There are many organizations and associations that offer assistance to single parents who are looking to purchase a new home.
Search for these places and get in touch. Many of these organizations can assist with your down payment requirements, sometimes with a minimum or no repayment plan included.
Even the government has plans to help single parents realize their dream of purchasing and owning their own home. Many states offer programs that will assist single parents with their down payments as well.
There are specific loans for single mothers that are available too, so don’t be afraid to look into these as an option.
2. Be Knowledgable About Post Divorce
Being a single parent most likely means you’re divorced, which means that you’ll have to have all your ducks in a row when it comes to buying a home.
Ensure that you’ve closed all your joint accounts and come to an agreement with a payment plan that each person is liable for. If there’s an old debt you’re still paying off, you don’t want that debt to be solely in your name when you’re trying to buy a house! It will count against you!
Make sure that you’ve removed your ex from any signing powers or authorizations that they may have on any of your accounts.
3. What About Your Alimony?
If you’re receiving child support payments or alimony from your child’s other parent, then this can be used as income in order to qualify for a mortgage.
We all know that two incomes are better than one, but if you’ve got a salary coming in as well as alimony, your life may be a bit easier.
However, if you’re trying to use your alimony in support for mortgage approval, remember you’ll have to show a constant payment pattern for at least three years.
If your alimony is 30% or less of your total income, then you will only need to show six months worth of on-time payments before said support will count in your favor. You can use a copy of the court order in your mortgage application but it’s also a good idea to keep copies of the checks or deposit slips so that they reflect regularly in your account statement.
4. Be Realistic
It’s easy to get swallowed up into the glamorous world of house shopping. Fro beautiful homes and stylish apartments to wonderful family homes with wide-open backyards.
But before you can even decide on the type and size of home you want, you need to do two things.
Firstly, consider where you’ll be shopping. Think about the location of your child’s school, your workplace and other extracurricular activities that your family partakes in. It may seem worth it to purchase out of town, but then the costs of commuting might add up over time.
Secondly, use a bank calculator to calculate how much you can afford to pay into a mortgage every month. As you know, being a single parent is difficult enough, and you don’t want to have to worry each month if you’ll have enough money left over to live with.
It’s important that you stay within your comfort zone when it comes to monthly commitments and payments.
5. You’ve Found the One
Once you’ve been through all the pre-processes of finding your perfect home, you may have your eye on the potential winner. Here are a few tips to tackle the last stage of your single-parent home purchasing process.
- Make sure that the offer you’re about to make is a fair one. Have a look at homes nearby with similar characteristics, and see if you’re able to find the average price.
- Stay up to date with the home inspection details that happen after you make an offer. If there are issues with the home that will ultimately cost you money, you’ll want to amend your offer so you can afford to make these repairs.
Before you close the purchase of your new home, make sure that you’re prepared for moving day and you’ve done all the nitty-gritty paperwork way ahead of time. There will be a lot of signing that needs to happen, so make sure you read every piece of paper from start to finish before you put your name on the dotted lines.
Single Parent Families and Their New Home
Single parent families are more common than you care to believe. And these parents are not only able to make ends meet, but they’re able to purchase homes, start businesses and raise healthy, happy children.
Be vigilant during your home search, stay up to date with mortgage rates and be realistic when you decide on which home you’ll be making your own, and you’ll be more than fine.
If you need more real estate tips, have a look under the Money Tips section for more great advice.