Single, female and shopping for a home
Solo women are the second-largest group of home purchasers. Their wants and needs are helping to shape the real-estate market.
Kishia S. Ward wasn't looking for the home of her dreams when she bought her two-bedroom, 2½-bath townhouse. The 25-year-old student and former business analyst wanted a place "not so much to live in forever but as an investment property, something temporary that, later on when I get married and have a family, I can rent out." (Bing: Tips for single, female homebuyers)
Single female homebuyers such as Ward are a powerhouse group in the real-estate market. In 2011, when Ward bought her home, three of her female friends, also singles in their 20s, also purchased homes. Single women — a group that includes the divorced, never married and widowed — make roughly one in five home purchases annually, according to the National Association of Realtors, second only to married couples, who are about two-thirds of the market.
It wasn't always this way. In the 1970s, "it was very difficult for a single woman to get a credit card, much less a mortgage," says Walter Molony, spokesman for the NAR.
In 1981, when the NAR started watching, single women and single men each made about 10% of home purchases. Purchases by single men have stayed steady. Single women, however, pulled ahead in the late ’80s, when women grew as a presence in the workforce and social change put pressure on lenders.
Single women's market share reached 20% in 1985 and hovered there until recession and tight credit pulled it down to 16% in 2012. Unmarried couples make 8% of purchases.
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Although single women are getting more recognition in the real-estate market, some experts say that many bankers, mortgage brokers, builders and real-estate agents fail to understand their distinct needs and shopping habits.
Jeanie Douthitt, a real-estate agent in Plano, Texas, specializes in helping single women buy and sell homes. Her experiences and her friends' stories showed her that solo women often weren't served well in the market. "We all, at the end of the day, had the same experience, and it was not good," says Douthitt, owner of Smart Women Buy Homes. Her team includes a title agent and mortgage broker, and they all focus on educating clients.
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Douthitt tells how one friend, a mother and capable 20-year IBM executive, struggled when she tried buying a home in 2004 after inheriting money. The woman visited a property for sale and encountered the homeowner, who asked, "Honey, do you think you can afford this?"
"He assumed that because I was a single woman I couldn't afford it," the friend told Douthitt. "If it was the last house on earth I wouldn't have bought it."
Douthitt says many women, accomplished in other realms, feel slightly intimidated by real estate and mortgages. She felt much the same in 1988, when, as a single mother, she bought her first home. She didn't know how to find out what she could afford to spend. "Do I find the house first?" she wondered. "Or do I have to get a mortgage first?" Now she helps clients get qualified for a mortgage first, so they know what price home they're qualified to buy.
What women want
While researching her book, "Own It! The Ups and Downs of Homebuying for Women Who Go It Alone," Jennifer Musselman met many single female homebuyers and owners who confessed that they felt overwhelmed by shopping alone for a home and mortgage. "Women, generally speaking, always thought that home purchasing would be something we would do with someone else, as part of a relationship," Musselman says.
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This emphasis on relationships shapes many women's approach to homebuying, Douthitt says. Often, for example, they need to develop a relationship with an agent before they feel comfortable asking questions.
"Women want a relationship," Douthitt says. "They want that trust and respect on both sides. Men are more transactional. They just want to go get it."
Her female buyers often need more time than men do to make a decision. They do lots of research. Agents who don't understand this get frustrated and mistake women's penchant for collaboration for indecisiveness, she says.
Before Ward engaged a real-estate agent, she did lots of research online to learn which neighborhoods fit her requirements, but her agent wouldn't listen. She didn't seem to take her seriously. "I don't know if it was because I was a woman or because I was young," she says. She moved on to another agent who was more attentive.
Single buyers — women in particular — like to recruit friends and family to help them decide. "Single women don't have a spouse to bounce the decision around with," Douthitt points out. One buyer wanted Douthitt to meet her mom, her dad, her pastor and her brother from California before she could commit to a purchase.
I'm entering the conversation a bit late here but find this article hits the mark in terms of what's important to single women who are buying a home solo. My best advice is create a "community of advisors" to support you. That means a trusted Realtor and lender. Know you finances and don't over spend even if you're told you can. Absolutely ask ever question that's on your mind and if your gut's screaming at you about something by all means please listen.
If you have a story to tell as a single women about your home buying experience, I want to hear from you for my book. Please email me at
This article fail to mention that financial experts claim that people can maintain their mortgages payments only if they purchase a home < 2.5 x their annual salary. Ave salary in the USA is 45K. for college degreed folks. So most people should not pay more than 120-140K for a home to stay out of foreclosure and bankruptcy.
Why isn't the mainstream media not coverning this story??????
A child alive during an abortion procedure. Haven't heard about these sickening accusations?
It's not your fault. Since the murder trial of Pennsylvania abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell there has been precious little coverage of the case that should be on every news show and front page. The revolting revelations of Gosnell's former staff, who have been testifying to what they witnessed and did during late-term abortions, should shock anyone with a heart.
NBC-10 Philadelphia , Stephen Massof, a former Gosnell worker, "described how he snipped the spinal cords of babies, calling it, 'literally a beheading. It is separating the brain from the body." One former worker, Adrienne Moton, that Gosnell taught her his "snipping" technique to use on infants born alive.
who, like , has himself pleaded guilty to serious crimes, ". Fetuses and blood all over the place." Here is the headline the Associated Press put on a story about his testimony that he saw 100 babies born and then snipped: "Staffer describes chaos at PA abortion clinic."
"Chaos" isn't really the story here. Butchering babies that were already born and were older than the state's 24-week limit for abortions is the story. There is a reason the late Democratic senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan
Planned Parenthood recently claimed that the possibility of infants surviving late-term abortions was "." The Gosnell case suggests otherwise.
Regardless of such quibbles, about whether Gosnell was killing the infants one second after they left the womb instead of partially inside or completely inside the womb — as in a routine late-term abortion — is merely a matter of geography. That one is murder and the other is a legal procedure is morally irreconcilable.
A Lexis-Nexis search shows none of the news shows on the three major national television networks has mentioned the Gosnell trial in the last three months. The exception is when Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan on Meet the Press meant to foment outrage over an anti-abortion rights law in some backward red state.
The Washington Post has not published original reporting on this during the trial and The New York Times saw fit to run one original story on A-17 on the trial's first day. They've been silent ever since, despite headline-worthy testimony.
Let me state the obvious. This should be front page news. When Rush Limbaugh attacked Sandra Fluke, there was non-stop media hysteria. The venerable NBC Nightly News' Brian Williams "A firestorm of outrage from women after a crude tirade from Rush Limbaugh," as he teased a segment on the brouhaha. Yet, accusations of babies having their heads severed — a major human rights story if there ever was one — doesn't make the cut.
You don't have to oppose abortion rights to find late-term abortion abhorrent or to find the Gosnell trial eminently newsworthy. This is not about being "pro-choice" or "pro-life." It's about basic human rights.
The deafening silence of too much of the media, once a force for justice in America, is a disgrace.
Kirsten Powers is a member of USA TODAY's Board of Contributors, a Fox News political analyst and columnist for The Daily Beast.
In addition to its own editorials, USA TODAY publishes diverse opinions from outside writers, including our
Per my Agent, this is no longer the trend, it was a good story in 2011 but the Banks started facing reality and realize the Young, Single Buyers, though currently qualified are not a very good risk, and it has nothing to do with the person but their Employer,. Bankers tend to deal a bit more with reality than Obama and his propaganda machine. Employers are going to be laying off thousands of full time workers and cutting thousands of full time workers to part time due to Obama Care Mandates.
We also Again, have some sneaky business going on the Real Estate Market. Large National Companies have allegedly been telling their sales Agents Nation wide to "Boost" the prices on the homes they are showing. One must remember that some of these Companies Board Members "Bundled" money for their buddy Obama, so this gives the "illusion" that the market is picking up which is not..
HUD foreclosed homes are another problem and discouraging many from buying by the tactics HUD is using. Basically it appears that like the Banks they hold back homes from Sale and then release a small number and then try to force a "Bidding War" amongst the buyers. Hedge Fund Companies are usually the winners which is frustrating the first time buyers who walk away disgusted. These homes in some nice neighborhoods are then Rented out by the Hedge Fund Companies who occasionly cause a nice neighborhood to go south because of the type of people they are renting their homes too. In our neighorhood or sub division of 70 homes, there are 12 Rentals. And the majoirty of these people are well, pigs. They do not take care of the homes, park in the middle of the lawn, throw their Fast Food packages out on other peoples lawns and basically trash the neighborhood. Thefts of bicycles, Sports Equipment and home break in's have also increased accordingly. In my area it is a couple of companies from Texas who are behind the buying of these homes.
And sadly, this story appears to be an outdated story and just another sneaky backdoor way of solicitng and advertising for the Real Estate Market where there is none currently.
"One buyer wanted Douthitt to meet her mom, her dad, her pastor and her brother from California before she could commit to a purchase." If I had asked a realtor to do this, they probably wouldn't have returned my calls after that. It just sounds like asking too much to me. And the six tips for solo female homebuyers do not seem to me to be any different than tips for anyone buying any house.
As for the being single part, I don't believe that in today's market a realtor or seller would really give a damn about a buyers gender.Of course they would want you to be pre-approved before they start showing you houses. And I would believe that any single buyer would run up against it when applying for financing, once again, regardless of gender. The author wants you to believe that there is still an overwhelming gender bias in the industry, but I doubt that in this market that a realtor would give anyone a hard time if they were pre-approved for financing, a sale is a sale and that is what the realtor is in business to do. The realtor may, however, try to sell someone, (male or female), a house that may not be right for them, but I hardly think this would be driven by sexism.
Since the statistics show that twice as many single women buy houses than do single men, then how can women be discriminated against in any substantial amount? It just seems that so many times people are trying to inject sexist issues into areas where they do not seem to exist, especially in journalism. It seems that just as "sex sells", so does sexism in the news.
Here is a clue, Women will make Home Buying an emotional issue which is why a lot of Realtors are Women. That is why they are so Naive, a Women will buy a house based on the Color and Interior Decorating, while a Man will over look the cosmetics and look for the true value in a house: Construction, Materials Used, Electrical...etc. It will be a long time before Women will figure this out which is why Men are the typical home builder. Get a Clue Ladies this article is a setup of Female Emotions.
I guess someone needed something - anything - to write about, other than, say, the ECONOMY, Obama versus Congress, Politics, who to blame for "sequestration", increasing taxes and lost buying-power, poor job outlooks, how to hurt retirees and how to "save" Social Security for "future generations" and other stuff seemingly of importance to all - yes, to BOTH women AND men! So, single women seeking to buy houses... You're IT!
I confess amusement over the maunderings and flim-flam put forth in this piece. Seems that today it's all the rage to somehow paint strange pictures of a dire and constrained past. That, and everybody wants to be somehow special and recognized. So you single women are it, today.
But, just in case...
I'm old enough and knew plenty of single women, oh, say, 40 years ago. My divorced mom got a loan and house by herself - in 1966. My younger sister had her first 5 credit-cards - and over 37k in card-debt - by 1984. All by herself. MY wife was single until 1988- with credit cards, mortgage, house, stocks and bonds, bank accounts, for 10 years+ before I got her. My divorced auntie bought her first house by herself in 1962. She, too, had credit cards right as they came out, but unlike sis, was much more careful in how she used them.
But I guess these must all have been exceptional and "priviledged" people. Right. Actually plain working women who had ordinary office JOBS and paid at least most of their bills. Granted, they probably did get paid less per hour than their male counter-parts. That part was, and sometimes is, true. But no, they didn't apparently have any problem getting loans, houses, credit-cards. Or cars. All they had to do was exactly what every SINGLE MAN had to do - show that they had an income and could apparently afford the note they wanted. Our societal perception and assignment of gender-roles have enjoyed a storied past, but things really have changed a lot WAY before today.
Loans, real-estate, investments, cards. All have 2 things in common... They are all about MONEY, and MONEY (and the vast majority of its handlers) really cares very little about your gender. Being SINGLE versus being married - that's different. Married people share the liability, and increase the chance a note is repaid. Any lender would love to have more people to lean on to get his money back. Simple economics and lending security. That's why kids get co-signers, and new applicants without credit history rarely get the best rates. No secret. No sexism. Just plain common sense.
As to house prices... ANYONE who claims that the house they want is "over-priced" is simply saying that the seller wants MORE than they are willing to pay for it. Probably almost nobody (for sure, I can only really speak for the many I've dealt with buying and selling my houses over 30+ years, and for all those other buyer and seller folks I've ever known) sets a different price for single women over any other market segment. Why bother? It sounds like a good whine story, but no realtor could likely do that and get away with it, and the seller simply wants SOMEONE - ANYBODY (other than the racial issue that does rear up in this biz) to pay them what they want for their house.
I'll ask YOU for just as much as I'll ask of any other person off the street. Now, IF you happen to be a good friend, I may cut YOU a deal. But that' would go for any GOOD FRIEND, male OR female, SINGLE or NOT.
So. Go out and buy that house! Don't go in thinking that 1) it is "over-priced" (I'm sure it is - I never bought a house for what anyone was first asking for it - 9 and counting) and that you'll somehow get it for less because you say that. 2) Don't come to negotiate with any sour attitude or presumption of entitlement. Bring respect and you'll get it. Want an inspection? YOU buy it, unless the seller OFFERED it. Pretty simple, pretty clear, pretty FAIR, ladies!
As a single working woman in the 80's, I bought my house with a 15-yr. mortgage. I thought it was all the money in the world back then, and I worried that I bit off more than I could hew with a 15-yr. mortgage vs a 30-yr mortgage. But then, I reasoned I'd probably be dead in 15 years anyway, so it would be someone else's problem.
Fast forward to the year 2000: I've had no mortgage payment for 13 years now. I'm still single, and it's HEAVEN to have no mortgage payment all this time! I've taken trips to faraway places, taken flying lessons, started an art collection, and been on the Bd. of Directors for many philanthropic organizations. I've lived in NYC, San Francisco, Paris, Dublin, and London for periods of 6 mos. to a year. I've got an investment portfolio that is slowly coming back to what it was worth over a decade ago, and I sleep well knowing I don't have foreclosure as a worry.
I urge all you young single women out there... buy autonomously! It may be one of the best decisions you ever made!