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Tips for Single Homebuyers

Although the majority of information available here on the Home Buyer's Information Center applies to both married and single homebuyers, there are a few issues that single buyers should consider when preparing for and purchasing a home.

Home Types

Single homebuyers purchase all types of homes--large and small, single-family, townhouse and condominium, but certain types may appeal a bit more to some single homebuyers. For example, since most of the maintenance will be done by one person rather than two, many single buyers prefer homes such as townhouses and condominiums where some or all of the exterior maintenance, landscaping, snow removal, etc. is handled by the homeowner's association. In addition, some single buyers prefer the community aspect of these types of hmes and the sense of safety that may be conveyed by having neighbors close at hand.

Also, again due to the fact that there will be only one set of hands instead of two, some single homebuyers will opt for lower maintenance (those with
vinyl siding, brick, vinyl windows, etc.) single-family homes to decrease the time devoted to maintenance. For more information on home types, see the sections devoted to single-family homes, townhouses and condominiums.

Home Sizes

Although many single homebuyers are single parent families (which require virtually the same size home as married buyers) some will require less room. A common mistake, though made by some single buyers is to tailor their purchase too closely to their current needs and not enough to future resale. For example, a one bedroom, two bath single-family home with a huge greatroom and kitchen may be perfect for you, but it will be next to impossible to sell. In a single-family home, it would be far better to have an additional bedroom or two sit empty (or use as an office, exercise room or even storage) than to not have it at all. Or, a single buyer may want to consider a condominium, where one bedroom units are more common and thus easier to sell.

Mortgages

Just as there is but one set of hands for repairs and maintenance, there is a single income (rather than the dual incomes so common with couples) when it comes time for mortgage qualifications. Although qualifying ratios and standards are exactly the same for singles and couples, this may have an effect on the amount of mortgage available to a single homebuyer--simply because there may be less total income available. Singles can enhance their position, though, by keeping a close tab on their budgets and other debt, easing the qualifying process. For more information, see the sections devoted to mortgages and budgets.

More Information

For an in-depth discussion of the home buying process for singles, read Buying a Home When You Are Single by Donna G. Albrecht , available at a 20% savings at Amazon.com

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