5 Insider Tips for Tomorrow’s Female Homebuyers

Published March 3, 2020
by Better

A new joint report compiled by Compass and Better.com reveals that over the last year, women are increasingly leaning into homeownership. Just in time for International Women’s Day, here are five tips from Compass agents and Better.com’s Head of Sales, Sarah Pierce, to consider if you’re thinking of becoming a homeown(h)er.

1. Build the right homebuying team

“Surround yourself with the best team (agent, attorney, lender, etc.). When searching for an agent, ask to talk to past clients, and most importantly, ask if the agent has recently closed on properties similar to what you’re looking for in terms of both price range and location. You’ll also want to check for a personality fit. Do you want someone who is patient and will guide you through the process? Or do you want someone who works fast and is straight to the point? Go with an agent that will suit your shopping style.”

- Maria Belen Avellaneda, Compass agent in New York City.

2. Determine your budget and stick to it

“Homeownership is one of the most financially impactful and empowering things you can do. At the end of the day, you’re the one left paying the bills, so you want to ensure you set yourself up for success.”

- Sarah Pierce, Head of Sales at Better.com.

Many homeowners get swayed into spending above their budgets, which only leads to headaches later on. Figure out an “all-in” amount you can spend on housing, including the mortgage payment, taxes, insurance, maintenance, utilities and other related expenses. Our Home Affordability Calculator is a great place to get started.

Be sure to factor in tax deductions for homeowners, too, and you may find that the true cost of your new home is less than you thought.

3. Find a lender that meets your needs

The first step is to find the best lender for your needs. For example, a lender who provides guidance and advice may be important to you. Or one who is easily available through text or email with a fully digital process. If you’re house hunting in a competitive market, look for lenders that provide a pre-approval letter that you can use to strengthen your offer. Or if you’re interested in affordable lending discounts, ask any potential lenders if they offer savings based on your location or through programs like HomeReady and FHA.

4. Figure out the right down payment for your budget

“A lot of single women have high powered and high paying jobs today and can afford nice sized mortgages, but they need to know the amount of cash they need to have saved up to get to the closing table.”

- Danielle Lurie, Compass agent in New York City.

Weigh your options. For example, a down payment above 20% means you won’t need to pay for private mortgage insurance (PMI). That said, with great credit and steady income, putting less than 20% down can be a financially sound option that allows you to start investing and build equity sooner. Even a down payment as low as 3% isn’t necessarily a risk.

5. Arm yourself with knowledge

“It’s hello important you don’t rely on your loan officer as the end all, be all, source of information.”

- Sarah Pierce, Head of Sales at Better.com.

Before you speak with a loan officer, know your options, know your numbers and know your rights. There’s a wealth of resources online to help you educate yourself about the process. Buying a home is likely to be the biggest financial transaction of your life, so the more information you have, the better.

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