April 6, 2016
Realtor.com quote me in More Single Women Hunt for Homes, Not Husbands. It reads, in part,
Alayna Tagariello Francis had always assumed she’d marry first, then buy a home. But when she found herself footloose, free, and definably single in her early 30s, she decided to make a clean break from tradition: She started home shopping for one.
“After dating for a long time in New York City, I really didn’t know if I was going to meet anyone,” she says. “I didn’t want to keep throwing away money on rent or fail to have an investment because I was waiting to get married.”
So in 2006, Francis bought a one-bedroom in Manhattan for $400,000—and was surprised by how good it felt to accomplish this milestone without help.
“To buy a home without a husband or boyfriend wasn’t my plan,” she says, “but it gave me an immense sense of pride.”
It’s no secret that both men and women are tying the knot later in life. A generation ago, statistics from the Census Bureau showed that men and women rushed to the altar in their early 20s; now, the median age for a first-time marriage has crept into the late 20s—and that’s if they marry at all.
The surprise is that even though today’s women still make 21% less than men, more single women than men are now choosing to charge ahead and invest in a home of their own. It’s changing the face of homeownership in America.
And while that decision to buy can help build wealth and ensure financial stability, plenty of women are finding the road from renter to owner is filled with unforeseen obstacles—and plenty of soul-searching.
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Why women shouldn’t wait
But then again, few of us have fully operational Ouija boards we can pull out of storage to pinpoint exactly when our ideal significant other will arrive on the scene. So putting house hunting on pause is something fewer women are willing to do.
“Women today don’t sit around and wait for Prince Charming,” says Wendy Flynn, a Realtor® in College Station, TX, who has helped numerous single women buy homes. After all, Flynn points out, “The time frame for meeting your dream man, getting married, and having kids—well, that’s a pretty long timeline.” So even if you do meet The One a day after closing on your home, “you could sell your home in a few years and still make a profit—or at the worst, probably break even.” If you buy right, that is.
That said, women who do want to marry and have kids as soon as possible will want to eye their potential home purchase with that in mind. Is the new place big enough for a family? Or, if you think you’ll sell and move into a larger place once you’re hitched, how easy will it be to sell your original home—or are you allowed to rent it out?
And if you marry or a partner moves in, make sure to consult a lawyer if you want your partner to share homeownership along with you.
“You definitely should not assume that your spouse’s home is transferred automatically to you once you get married,” says David Reiss, an urban law professor at Brooklyn Law School.| Permalink