While looking at topics to bring to open discussion I realized how many single professionals with children there are today. Then my mind meandered to Single Professionals that are Women. I stumbled on a great article written by Katie Bolick, weighing the pros and cons of home ownership for a single parent. I will give her a plug for a good story that could have been set in a Modern day Mayberry. You see in the Mayberry on TV, other than Andy Griffith and his Aunt Bee helping him raise Opey I don’t believe the show ever touched on the struggles of single professionals much less a single professional that was also a parent, it was just a different era.
The show never mentioned how it came to be Andy joined the ranks of single professionals but spent a lot of time exploring his parent status with Opey and the line he walked daily as a single professional and a respected friend and Leader in the community. I recall one show Andy was going to sell his home and buy a bigger home from a friend who was going to buy a more luxurious place from an older couple that wanted to downsize and buy Andy’s place.
The circle of sales began because Barney who was also a member of the single professionals began a part-time career as home salesperson (Realtor) and make some REAL money. Of course Barney was exhilarated thinking about the commission from 3 home sales. However, true to form Andy couldn’t lie about a known water heater problem and didn’t have the dollars to fix it right so continued to patch it. Andy then finds out the home he wanted to buy had some hidden problems as well, something like the roof was rotten, but only on one section,,, ! Barney wanted so much for the sales to happen for his own personal gain he was looking past the needs of the clients, his friends. He was encouraging each seller not to disclose property faults. Finally Andy spilled the beans and each seller realized they were hiding some truths as well and of course they all decided to stay in their homes they were living in and not exchange their problems for another’s.
These days there are limitless newly divorced friends and clients. There seems to be an even split of married professionals and single professionals and they are looking to buy a house. Home ownership not only represents the American Dream but it also is a statement of freedom or a life change for a single parent. Often, these newly single professionals may not know where to begin their goal of home ownership. According to Katie’s article in 1981, six years afer the Equal Credit Opportunity Act made it illegal for lenders to discriminate according to sex or marital status, single women represented 11% of all homebuyers. That figure reached a peak of 22% n 2006, it has dropped a few percentage points since due to the economy On the other spectrum, single Male homebuyers have held steady around 10%. A study by the Harvard Joint Center for Housing, over a three year period in the early 2000s the value of Single Women’s home purchases added up to more than $550 billion. This is not chump change and the Real Estate and Mortgage industry almost doesn’t recognize them.
A single woman buying a home of her own, whether a middle-age divorcee or a professional in her 30s going it solo is taking their own direction in life through real estate ownership. This sounds like freedom and I am sure it is also a personal statement they are doing it on their own. I have many friends that do this daily, my hats off to any single parent. Home ownership is a responsibility well worth pursuing. As my Uncle coached me when I purchased my first home at 20 years old, buying a home curves inflation. The longer you own the home you will realize appreciation but it locks in your monthly rent spayment. Whether you own or rent, you still pay for the place you live. The tax advantage of home ownership is still there and encourages home ownership. Renting does nothing for this savings trait.
Is Home ownership for everyone? Single professionals are unique from couples that can share the responsibility of ownership, not just financially but daily maintenance, lawn service and care. These things should be considered when purchasing a home. I will maintain the responsibilities of ownership are well worth it over time beside the pride of having something of value. Owning a home means your are less mobile, so young single professionals, whether by choice or circumstance may be on an upward mobile career and simply not ready for home ownership. My opinion on this is just that, an opinion and everyone but I see home ownership as the best curve against inflation. Locating a professional Realtor is a great beginning. Being well equipped with information is always good. There are great forums to ask questions and no question is stupid when ask with sincerity. The Larry Stepp Team at Gustan Cho Associates are available 7 days a week, holidays and weekends.
Larry Stepp 407-922-4755 LarryS.HomesNetwork@gmail.com