Being a single mom after divorce isn’t for the weak-hearted. Whether you’re dealing with the regular pick-up and drop-offs, or have a sick kid, all the responsibility falls squarely on your shoulders when you’re a single mom.
And when you start thinking about looking for a new home, you may find yourself excited and frightened all in the same split-second. You may start feeling that to spend more, you need to save more.
As with all family decisions, you have to take the pros and cons and decide what’s best for you and your kids.
The housing market in today’s generation has changed.
Have you noticed that more young adults are waiting longer to buy homes compared to previous generations? While some people might joke that the financial literacy among millennials is to blame, there’s no denying that our economy and housing markets have changed significantly over the past few decades. Homeownership among those born between 1980 and 1984 is around 36 percent. When you compare this with the baby boomers, where nearly 50 percent of them owned a home at age 30, you can easily see the drastic change.
You might wonder why things have changed so much since your grandparents were young. One significant change is the age at which people get married. It was normal in the 1960s for men and women to be married in their early 20s. Today, people are getting married closer to their 30s. Many younger adults are also loaded down with debt from attending four or more years of college. Most college graduates leave school with nearly $30,000 in debt, which has almost doubled since the early 1990s. Add all of this together, and you can quickly understand why homeownership is on the decline.
Living the American Dream
Even though homeownership numbers may be declining, the idea of owning a little house with the white picket fence is still part of the iconic American dream. When you entered single-parenthood, you might have thought that this dream was only for traditional families with two parents. However, you may be more a part of the norm than you realize.
According to Single Mother Statistics, 11.3 million families were led by a single parent in 2018, and a whopping 81 percent of those had a single mom in charge. Many people think of a single mom as someone who was once married, but half of all single moms have never walked down the aisle.
Nearly two-thirds of single moms work outside of the home, which might make homeownership more of a possibility. Of course, there are many factors to take into consideration before you start searching for a new home.
Look at Your Finances
Being a single mom after divorce takes a few useful tips and tricks to make ends meet. You will want to create a budget and cut out any extra expenses that you can before buying a home. You’ll also need to get a handle on debt. Make a list of all of your debts and create a plan to pay them off. This might not be something you can do in a few months, but if you create a way to pay off debts within a year or two, you’ll be in a much better position.
A critical part of saving money is learning how to run a household on a budget. You might need to look for assistance from government agencies or local organizations and use coupons or other discounts to make ends meet. Creating a meal plan, eating at home, and taking stay-cations are other excellent ways to stretch your budget.
Plan for Problems
Every single mom knows that as soon as you start feeling like everything is going along splendidly, something out of the ordinary happens. The same is true for homeownership. This is why you need to create a budget for home maintenance issues that may arise. You might need a plan in case your home floods, as well as typical costs like homeowners’ association fees, insurance, and expensive repairs.
Fix Your Rate
Some housing costs, such as insurance, will fluctuate over time. However, if you can find a fixed-rate mortgage, you’ll be able to plan your payments and expenses with ease. Find a bank that can walk you through all of your options when securing financing and an agent who understands your unique needs.
Ask About Grants and Assistance
Because you are the only person who is financially responsible for your family, you might qualify for assistance, grants, or other types of programs that can make homeownership a reality. A few programs to consider include Habitat for Humanity, which helps low-income families achieve homeownership, or the Housing and Urban Development office, who can help with homeownership vouchers. You might also qualify for grants through various state and local organizations that help families find affordable housing.
Keep Dreaming About Your Home
We know that life isn’t always a piece a cake. However, when a single mom after divorce sets her mind to something that can improve the lives of her family members, there isn’t much that stands in her way. Use these tips for purchasing and managing a home to get you on your way to signing on the dotted line for your new house.