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Forget Shoes! House Shopping is Waaaaay More Satisfying

Alright, so you’ve got the car, the job, the education, you’ve saved up some money and overall you’re a grown up (when you have to be at least).  You’re single, strong and independent but you’re still renting.  WHY? Maybe you think that you can’t afford to buy a place on your own. Maybe you think it will be too much work and you don’t have any experience in household repairs.  Or maybe you’re just not sure where to even start.

When you are buying a house on your own as a woman there are some different issues to take into consideration.  I tell all of my single ladies (yep I went there) that they have to feel comfortable financially, emotionally and physically when they decide to buy a home so let’s break down how to look at buying a home with those three major goals in mind.

Financially:

Guelph has a great mix of affordable options from modest condo apartments to freehold townhouses and even detached options that cost significantly less that comparable homes in the GTA. While some options are more costly than neighboring cities such as KW and Cambridge, it also has a higher rate of appreciation so with a long term goal of making money on a home purchase Guelph is a great choice. The Financial commitment of buying a home is a big deal for everyone but it tends to be tougher choice for single women in my experience. Most women who are at the point of purchasing a home are concerned about their ability to pay for the home on an ongoing basis above and beyond the mortgage payments.  The best possible first step is to make friends with a qualified mortgage specialist. They don’t just tell you how much you can borrow to buy a house!  They will help you go through your expenses, projected costs for the home and what you feel comfortable with paying month to month.  Don’t get caught up on the big number.  $300,000 sounds like an awful lot more than $280,000 but assuming 5% downpayment, 25 year amortization and a fixed rate of 2.69% the difference is only $88 per month.  Knowing what you feel comfortable with for ALL of your expenses in a given month is essential.  If you feel more comfortable leaving some money in the bank and only putting 5% down instead of cleaning yourself out to put 10% down have that talk with your mortgage specialist.

Emotionally:

Buying a house is an emotional process for pretty much anyone.  For single women in particular you really do have to feel good in the house.  Guelph is an easy city to fall for with a great community feel, plenty of nature and outdoor activities, an incredible arts and music scene and I could write a whole series of blogs about the amazing food to be found around town. But, can you fall for the house? If you don’t see yourself being happy in the home for at least the next 3-5 years it’s not the house for you. End. Of. Story.  Is this the place that you want to come back to after work? Do you want to host parties with your friends? Do you want to lay in bed with your dog all day and watch Netflix? You have to want to be in your space. I have taken clients through homes and watched them try to convince themselves that the house is good enough but I can tell that they won’t be happy there no matter how much paint and polish they put into the place.  Compromise and understanding what you can get for your budget is one thing but you shouldn’t settle for a home you don’t feel good about. 

Physically:

Now this is one that men just generally don’t think about at all.  In fact, when I was discussing this article with a colleague they told me “I’d never even think of that as a guy”.  Everyone knows there are better and worse areas to live in and most, regardless of gender, want to live in the “better” areas if they can afford it but what about the safety and security of the actual home you live in.  If you are thinking about a condo apartment for example, I always suggest not to live on the main floor of a building, and if you do live on the main floor make sure you are not facing the parking lot.  You do not want people to know that you are a woman living alone and you do not want to make it easier for someone to access your house.  Similarly, if you purchase a detached house you should consider where the master bedroom is.  If it is a bungalow you probably do not want the master bedroom at the front of the house.  If you have a townhouse, semi or detached home you probably want to have A/C so that you can close and lock your windows at night instead of leaving them open.  Consider installing deadbolts and chains to both your front and rear doors. Several years ago I was applying for jobs all over North America including major cities like Montreal and NYC. I was also looking for a dog and made a conscious choice to select a large dog that I would feel comfortable with walking in any area by myself late at night.  Granted she is a 120lbs of love, you would never know it by her bark and she makes me feel safe no matter where I am. No matter where you are you should be aware of your safety and your surroundings but consider that Guelph is consistently ranked as one of the top 10 safest cities in all of North America! You should feel comfortable and safe in your community not just your home. Your home should be a safe place where you can feel calm and confident and if you feel safe it makes it easier to be at peace. 

Buying a house on your own is terrifying in many ways but it is also incredibly empowering. Take control of your finances and your future; you’ll feel like a badass, I promise.

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