When I was looking at condos and townhouses last year, I knew getting into the housing market wasn’t going to be easy – especially as a single female who wanted to buy in Vancouver.
But it turns out I’m not alone. A recent RBC Home Ownership pollindicated that among Canadians who plan on buying a home within the next two years, women are more likely than men to take the home ownership plunge.
Marcia Moffat, head of home equity financing at RBC believes that more single women are entering into the housing market as a result of changing income levels, emographics and lifestyle patterns.
“Women are being more cautious than men,” says Moffat. “[They are] weighing cost, affordability and job security before buying a home.”
Almost half of first-time homebuyers said that affordability was the biggest reason why they had not purchased a home earlier, while 23 per cent of women and 14 per cent of men said job security caused them to delay their first home purchases.
Moffat offers five tips for first-time homebuyers:
Figure out the true cost: Buying a home will be one of the biggest financial decisions of your life, so you need to consider the cost of home ownership versus your lifestyle. Can you comfortably carry your mortgage, and still live the life that you want?
Make sure to leave yourself with enough wiggle room to enjoy what’s important.
Related: Why it’s still a good time to buy a home
Get your house in order: It is important that you understand the long-term costs and choose the right mortgage. Before you start your search, get pre-approved for a mortgage, remembering that just because a bank says you can afford something, doesn’t mean that you actually can. Run the numbers to see how much home you can realistically afford.
Budget for extra costs: A rule of thumb is to save between 1 and 3 per cent of the purchase price which will apply towards closing costs. But don’t forget to factor in the extra expenses that we sometimes forget, like utility hook-up, house insurance, renovations, and furniture. The real cost of closing on a home might be more than you think.
Related: Never buy a house without a home inspection
Create an emergency fund: Repairs and maintenance – or even an increase in fees or taxes – can catch you off guard. Having an emergency fund in place before you buy a home will give you peace of mind, and the financial buffer you will need to tackle most unexpected expenses.
Add more revenue: You can put a dent into your mortgage if you keep an eye out for opportunities to manage housing costs. Consider renting out part of your home, or having a roommate to help offset expenses. You could even rent out a spare room occasionally using AirBnB, or rent out an extra parking space if you have one.