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More Single Women Are Buying Homes Than Ever Before—We Talked to 4 of Them

More Single Women Are Buying Homes Than Ever Before—We Talked to 4 of Them

When Denise Supplee first broke into the real estate business in the 1980s, she rarely saw single women purchasing homes on their own. 

“The expectation then was marriage, home, babies,” says Supplee, a realtor and the co-founder of SparkRental.com, a real estate investment site. Ad by Pandora For Brands

Beth Santos, CEO and Founder, shares what she’s learned as a female executive. Here are her words of advice.SEE MORE

Nowadays, though, single ladies across the country are bucking that trend. More unmarried women are prioritizing homeownership, steadily making up a larger share of the homeowner demographic and effectively eschewing antiquated ideas that reserve homeownership for married couples. 

Despite a wage gap (women still earn 79 cents for every dollar their male counterparts do), single women made up 17 percent of homebuyers in 2019, compared to 9 percent of single men, according to a March 2020 report from the National Association of Realtors. What’s more, a Bank of America study found that homeownership is a top priority for 73 percent of single women, outranking getting married and having children. 

“Women want to create financial security for themselves,” says Jennifer Okhovat, a real estate agent with Compass in Los Angeles. “It’s nice to have your own separate and personal property that could build equity or becomes an income property.”

Not only are women buying more homes, but they’re entering the housing market as highly qualified buyers—and at a young age, according to a March 2020 study from Better.com, a digital mortgage lender, and real estate brokerage Compass. Over the past year, 23 percent of Better.com’s mortgage borrowers were single women with an average credit score of 770. (For the record, any score in the 740 to 760 range is considered excellent and qualifies buyers for the lowest interest rates.) 

Sterling credit or not, women are on track to make up an even larger portion of the homebuyer pie in the years to come. Ahead, four single women talk housing and happiness.

Chloe Franklin, Oklahoma City

When she was in her 20s, Chloe Franklin figured she’d wait until she was married—and part of a dual-income household—to buy a house. But by her early 30s, she found herself unmarried and  ready to buy on her own. The only problem? Housing prices in the Denver metro area had already skyrocketed, squeezing out many first-time homebuyers, including Franklin. Over the course of a decade, the median home price there shot up from $202,896 to $424,051, according to a report from real estate brokerage Redfin. 

So when Franklin, a safety coordinator in the oil and gas industry, relocated to Oklahoma City, she pounced on the opportunity to buy in the more affordable market. By using the relocation incentive her company gave, she put a 3.5 percent down payment on a newly built 1,700-square-foot home. In July 2019, at age 35, Franklin became a first-time homebuyer.

“I wanted to do this on my own,” Franklin says. “I no longer wanted to wait around and let an opportunity pass me by.” Ad by Pandora For Brands

Beth Santos, CEO and Founder, shares what she’s learned as a female executive. Here are her words of advice.SEE MORE

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Emma Gray, Brooklyn

For Emma Gray, 32, a senior reporter at HuffPost, buying a home was a way to set down some physical roots in New York City, where she had been renting with a roommate for several years.

“More and more women—myself included—are building independent adult lives that aren’t centered around marriage or living with a romantic partner,” says Gray, author of“A Girl’s Guide To Joining The Resistance“.

Gray crunched the numbers and figured out her monthly mortgage payments would be close to what she would be paying for rent if she were to live solo, so she began hunting for a place to buy. In Oct. 2018, she closed on a 430-square-foot apartment in Brooklyn. 

When Gray moved in, she was coming off the heels of break up, and found that decorating her space—making choices that appeased her, and weren’t hinged on the opinions of anyone else—was therapeutic. She splurged on a soft pink velvet couch, had white subway tiles installed in her tiny kitchen, went with a custom closet in her bedroom, and decorated with bowls she created at a glass-blowing studio. “Why shouldn’t I have a space that is all my own?” Gray says.Ad by Pandora For Brands

Beth Santos, CEO and Founder, shares what she’s learned as a female executive. Here are her words of advice.SEE MORE

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Credit: Brittany Anas

Krista Chavez bought her first home, a two-bedroom condominium, in her mid-20s. In Sep. 2019, she leveraged equity from the sale of her condo and closed on her own four-bedroom home in Westminster, Colorado. 

This time around, she kept a close watch on interest rates and bought her second home while rates were at historic lows. She also was open to looking for homes in the winter and fall, when there was less competition in Colorado’s ultra-competitive real estate market.

Her advice to other women who want to buy?

“There are a ton of home buying assistance programs out there, especially for women who might have income restrictions,” she says.

Not only do states have down payment assistance programs, but some counties do, too. A mortgage lender can help buyers navigate which grants or programs they qualify for, and help match them with loan programs tailored for first-time buyers.

Andrea Mascarenhas, Manhattan

Building a trusted real estate team to help guide you through the process is key, says Andrea Mascarenhas, 30, who works in asset management and purchased her first home in early 2020 in Manhattan. 

She explains home ownership was daunting at first because she wasn’t sure she could commit to more than 5 years in one place, and didn’t even know where to begin. A savvy broker helped her work through the pros and cons, she says. 

Mascarenhas, who founded a blog called At Her Desk, a career advice platform for women in male-dominated fields, acknowledges saving for down payment is a hurdle for many first-time buyers. She explains she was privileged enough to bring in a high income, have no student loan debt, and could live at her parents’ home in Long Island for a year—commuting three hours a day—to help her build her savings.

Mascarenhas spent six months searching for the right space and toured nearly 80 open houses before finding a one-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment with large, curved windows to let in plenty of natural light, a spacious living room for entertaining friends, and a modern kitchen with new appliances.

“I love that single women are making up a growing share of new homeowners,” says Mascarenhas. “Buying a home is the single most empowering accomplishment of my life.”SAVECOMMENTSWatch More Apartment Therapy Videos The Art of Suminagashi Japanese Marbling | Craft Therapy

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