They always say home is where the heart is, and maybe your heart is longing to finally be a homeowner. While renting may have cut it for a while, it’s time to start looking for something with a bit more space. There’s a lot to consider when making the leap to purchase a new home, especially if you’re a single father. Deciding when, where and how to even start the home buying process can be taxing when you have work, errands and a family to take care of and provide for. While everyone’s situation is different, here are just a few ways you can decide if purchasing a home is right for you.
How to Buy
Before you even begin looking for a home, you have to have a sense of what you can realistically afford. This is where a mortgage preapproval comes in handy. A mortgage preapproval from a lender will ideally tell you an estimated home value you can afford and what you’ll actually be approved to borrow. Once you have the preapproval letter, you’ll be able to actually budget out your finances and eliminate any options out of your price range. Speaking of finances, not only is buying a home difficult, but it’s also expensive! However there are a slew of government backed assistance programs out there specifically for single family homes. Utilizing these programs will help lift a large part of the financial burden off your shoulders that comes with the home buying process.
Being a single father is tough as it is, add in the moving process to that and it becomes even more daunting. This is why it is crucial to invest in some help when you ultimately decide it’s the right time to buy. Finding a real estate agent you can trust and rely on will make your move so much more effortless. When looking for a reliable agent be sure that they offer favorable contract terms, which can vary based on location as well as commission fees. A standard commission fee is typically around the 5%-6% range of the home’s sales price so be wary of anything higher than that. Additionally if you’re looking strictly to purchase, make sure you’re trying to locate a buyer agent whose job is to represent you when purchasing a home as opposed to a listing agent who represents you if you’re looking to sell.
When to Buy
For anyone looking to purchase their own home, it often comes down to one big thing; timing. There are a variety of factors that play into when the right time to move is and for single parents, there are additional factors that come into effect. If you’re a recently-single father, you may be in the middle of selling your old home or working through custody disputes which could drastically alter your plans. If there are still some things up in the air, despite rent prices being at a record high, it might be advantageous to continue to rent while you’re in a transitional period. They may not be as common, but look for a lease that is month to month, so once you’re ready you can start right away. While rent prices are currently at record highs, so are home prices. The supply is not currently meeting the demand, which means houses are going quick and for above the asking prices. Knowing what the market is doing and paying attention to market trends will help you plan for the future and decide when the right time to buy is.
It’s important to not only consider what’s best for you, but what your child’s wants and needs are as well. Think about if a move is what’s going to be the best situation to help your child succeed. Studies have shown that frequent moves at a young age can affect childhood development and social skills. Being conscious of this fact will help ensure that you’re making the best decisions for your entire family.
Where to Buy
Another factor that goes hand in hand with deciding when to buy is determining where you should buy. Studies show that what city your child is raised in may also have some bearing on their upbringing as some cities are better to raise a family in than others. Going back to market trends, as always, it’s going to be vital to do your research in order to figure out where in the country is a feasible place to live based on your financial means. While living in a larger city may sound nice, housing prices in cities like San Francisco or Manhattan are much higher than the average cost of living in the rest of the country. And while what you’re able to afford will play a pivotal role in your decision, it may just not be feasible depending on your situation. Again, if you’re currently in the middle of a separation and going through various custody disputes, those can typically take six months to a year and even longer in some cases. If you end up having to split time, moving halfway across the country might simply not be in the cards for you.
On top of anything that may be going on in your personal life, work is going to play into your decision heavily as well. While some employers are now offering the flexibility of remote work or hybrid work, many are not, and your living situation may be dependent on your work status. If you don’t see yourself in one location for the next few years, it may be better to hold off or devise a 5-10 year plan to figure out where you may end up and where to start looking. While there may not be an exact science to it, as a single father there are some things well within your control that can help you and your family live a better life. By doing your research, asking for help from a support system and taking important aspects of your child’s life into consideration, you can make smart and strategic decisions to effectively plan for your family’s future. And while it may seem like a lot of work, seeing your children grow up in a home you worked so hard to provide for them will be well worth it.