One benefit of being coupled up is having someone with whom to split the bills, which makes many major financial goals more attainable. It therefore stands to reason that single folks who are forced to go it alone might have a harder time meeting their financial objectives. This especially holds true for women, who are statistically likely to be paid less than men with the same or similar job titles.
It's therefore encouraging to see that single women haven't given up on homeownership. Quite the contrary: An estimated 73% of single women consider owning a home a top priority -- higher than getting married or having children -- according to data from Bank of America.
If you're attempting to buy a home on your own, you might face some challenges that couples can more easily overcome. But that doesn't mean you can't meet that goal. Here's how to secure a place of your own sooner than you'd think.
1. Cut corners in your budget to boost your savings
You might be amazed at how a series of small changes can go a long way toward helping you sock away cash. That's why it pays to examine your budget and identify ways to cut corners while you save up for your home down payment. That could mean dining out less frequently, unloading a vehicle you enjoy having but technically don't need, or canceling your high-end cable package and sticking with a basic one instead. There's a host of options to choose from, so the key is to find ways to free up cash without too heavily impeding your lifestyle.
That said, the more you're willing to sacrifice, the more money you stand to accumulate. And that's important, because it's best to go into homeownership with a 20% down payment. If you don't put down 20% of your home's purchase price, you'll be hit with private mortgage insurance, or PMI, which can add to the cost of homeownership on an ongoing basis.
2. Fight for a raise at work
The more money you earn, the more opportunity you'll have to save for your home's down payment. At the same time, having a higher income increases your chances of getting approved for a mortgage, so if you feel you're not making what you should be at your job, it's time to negotiate a raise.
To start, do some research to see what the typical person with your job title makes in your area, and compare that data to your current salary. If there's a discrepancy, you can prove to your boss that your earnings are below the average and see if that helps change anything.
At the same time, be prepared to show what a valuable resource you are. If you have specialized skills your colleagues lack, point that out. Similarly, present data showing how your efforts have saved your company money, made it money, or produced a notable impact in another way. The more specific you're able to be, the more compelling an argument it'll make.
3. Search strategically
Buying a home in desperate need of repairs might save you money on its purchase price but cost you more money on the whole. At the same time, there are steps you can take to snag a good deal when looking for a home.
For one thing, try seeking out a home in an up-and-coming neighborhood rather than a more popular one. You might pay considerably less by being willing to live a few blocks over from your ideal location. Additionally, being flexible with your closing date might help you land a deal. If a seller has explicit requirements, such as needing to close at a specific time, and you're willing to accommodate, you might be able to negotiate a lower purchase price as a result.
Owning a home is possible even on a single person's salary. And the more focused you are on that goal, the greater your chances of meeting it sooner rather than later.