For many of us, home-buying may seem the primary domain of families and couples. Another fact many of us may take for granted is that there’s likely more than one income for those two household categories.
But as society has evolved over the past seven decades, so have trends in household composition, which — not surprisingly — can affect home buying. Here’s a look at how households have evolved in the United States during that time period, and how folks in any household category can making home buying a reality.
Statistics tell a story
The 2016 Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement — from the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics — tells us (among many things) that the average household has shrunk from 3.3 persons per household in 1960, to 2.5 in 2016.
In 2016, one-person households accounted for 28 percent of all U.S. households, a 13 percent increase since 1960.
The rise of single-parent households is another significant statistic. Households led only by mothers increased from 8 to 23 percent from 1960 to 2016. Households led only by fathers increased from 1 to 4 percent during the same period.
Challenges for single-parent and solo home buyers
The statistics cited above mean that living solo and single parenting can make it difficult to own a home. Potential homebuyers in those two household categories can’t rely on dual incomes. In many cases, the one income is limited or insufficient for home buying. Unhealthy credit scores also can be a problem. All of which means pre-qualifying for a mortgage, being able to make a down payment and to afford monthly mortgage payments, may feel impossible.
Take proactive steps
If you’re a solo-household person or a single parent who’d like to buy a home, begin by assessing your financial health. Ask yourself questions: what are your income sources and how are they allocated each month? Are they stable? Can you boost your income without taking on hardship?
Next, check your credit scores. Your credit health is a major determinant for financial institutions that issue mortgage loans. If your credit needs improving, work on that before tackling the home-buying process. Click here for helpful tips on credit scores.
If your income and credit health are good, and you’re ready to explore buying a home, get pre-qualified for a loan. This sets your price range and helps you stay within your budget.
Once you do all the fact-finding homework above, you’ll have finite numbers and will know whether you need down-payment help and/or lower monthly payments.
Use available resources
There are organizations that can provide guides, counseling and advice on how to embark on, and navigate the home-buying process as a single parent or a single person. Non-profits, charities and community groups are typical starting points for this sort of information. Begin with online searches and by asking for recommendations. Your town, or local, county or state government also may offer assistance and resource programs for first-time homebuyers.
Once you’re ready to buy a home, ICI Homes is ready to help. Talk to us here.