Being a single parent can be quite challenging. Not only do you have to work to support your family but your children will look to you for everything that they need. You want to be able to give them as much as you can, though it is not often as much as you would like.
One of the most expensive parts of caring for a family is a home, whether you decide to rent or buy one. Many parents don’t like to waste money on renting so they try to buy a home. Even though it can be hard with only one income, it is possible.
Here are some things to consider when buying a home as a single parent.
- Check your credit. It is important that you know where your credit stands before you even think about buying a home. It is going to have to be really good in order to buy a home on one income. For this reason, you should look for ways to improve your credit months before you think about buying a home. Get a few credit cards and pay them off every month. Just this simple act will really help your credit score.
- Be realistic. It is important that you are realistic when you start to look at homes. Know exactly how much money you bring home every week (or month). If you are lucky enough to get child support, you probably shouldn’t count that money. Too many single parents rely on that money and then if it stops, it is going to be a struggle to make ends meet.
- Stick to a budget. When you know how much money you bring in, start to consider how much money you pay for your bills. Don’t forget about your car insurance, phone bill, and even money for your children’s activities.
- Remember that you won’t have just a mortgage payment. Buying a home is a big responsibility. You will have to pay a mortgage but it won’t stop there. You should also look at the cost of electric, water, and sewer. It is also important to budget money for home repairs because things will break and you don’t want to get into debt every time something goes wrong with the house.
- Meet with a mortgage lender and get pre-approved before you start looking. If you get pre-approved, you will know how much you can spend on a house. However, just because they give you a certain amount, you might not be able to afford that due to all of the expenses that you need with a home. This does give you a place to start, as well as the peace of mind that goes with knowing that you are guaranteed a loan!
- Look for assistance. There are many programs out there to help single parents find homes. Depending on where you live, you might be able to look at Habitat for Humanity, as well as programs to help you with a down payment or even to pay your monthly mortgage.
- When you find a home, make sure that you get it inspected. Though this costs money, an inspection will be able to show you whether or not the house that you are choosing is a good one. You don’t want to buy a home only to find out that you are going to have to replace the windows and the roof right away!
Though you might be overwhelmed with all of your bills, you might still be able to buy a home. While it might not have everything that you need or want, it is a great feeling to be a homeowner. With a budget and a plan, you could be in a new home sooner than you ever thought possible!