When my husband and I were house hunting, we ran into an acquaintance looking at the same townhouse we were interested in. I didn’t know at the time if she was single or not. I’d just met her at a few parties. But, with her, at the open house, was an attractive man about her age, making notes to her about the space. “Is this your boyfriend?” I asked. “No…This is my realtor” she said. “Oh! Are you buying a place…alone?” I asked. “Yup,” she said, dryly. Well, I had just been a totally backwards-thinking, un-feminist idiot. It had never even occurred to me that she’d be buying a place on her own. I felt so stupid. Also, good on her to be able to afford a place on her own! Part of my assumptions had nothing to do with societal norms, but just financial realities. The townhouse was no budget buy and I, personally, could not have afforded it on my own. I needed a partner to go in on half of the down payment with me. Was it un-feminist of me to not immediately assume she could pay for it all herself? Ugh. I don’t know. I’ve had to assess my thinking a lot on that interaction. But, nonetheless, it really got me thinking after. Huh – she is a single woman, in her late thirties, and she’s decided to purchase a home. A rather serious decision. And she hasn’t yet found her life partner. It was fascinating, really. There goes my possibly old fashioned brain again. I always associated home-buying with building a…family? It got me thinking, and talking to other women who are buying homes, alone: should you buy a house before you’ve met your partner?
A future partner may want to buy a place
There is the reality that, if and when you do meet someone with whom you’d like to share your life one day, he may want to buy a place. It’s natural for couples who are progressing to want to put down roots like that, together. Then, of course, you’re in this weird situation where…you already own a place. You may think, “So I’ve already handled that for us!” But he may feel robbed of the chance to house shop with a partner.
Or he may not want to feel like your tenant
Remember that men can be very prideful, too. And you certainly shouldn’t make decisions based on them, but it’s just something to think about. Your future partner may always feel, if he moves into the house that you found and you financed, that he’s your tenant. Even if you put his name on the title, he may always still feel like your tenant, because he really didn’t find this home. He just moved in.
But…is this house to seal the single deal?
Maybe, the act of buying a house is meant to be symbolic for you. Maybe it’s the final stitch in the fabric of a single life. Maybe you’ve decided that marriage won’t be for you, and you just don’t think you’ll ever be in a long-term relationship. You’re buying this house, alone, as a way of saying, “I’ll be building a life alone.” But be careful if that’s your thought process because…you may still meet somebody.
It’s certainly a good investment
Hey, buying property can be an excellent investment. If you can buy in cash, then you’ll really make a profit on the place one day, and you get to stop making monthly payments. It is financial freedom. If you finance it, at least those monthly payments are going towards something – it’s like writing a check to your future self. The home can be part of a retirement plan.
Why should you have to wait to make it?
Why should you have to wait to make this smart investment until a man comes along? Why should you be excluded from a smart money move, all because you’re single? You shouldn’t be! If you know that this home is a good deal that will appreciate a lot in value then, holding off, all because you don’t yet have a partner would be…silly. I get that. You can’t make decisions based on a man who doesn’t even exist.
You could always rent the place
If you do meet the person with whom you’d like to spend your life, and, for whatever reason, he doesn’t want to move into the home you already bought, you have options. You can rent the place out, that rental income can pay your mortgage, and you can live elsewhere with your partner. Of course, if the place he selects calls for higher monthly payments than your place did, that may be frustrating.
Men may be intimidated; screw ‘em
Just know that some men will be intimidated by the fact that you purchased a home on your own. They may be financially intimidated, and they may see that as some sort of sign that you don’t want to build a life with anybody. Don’t worry too much about them, because they’re big babies. But if you really like someone, it could be good to let him know that the house doesn’t mean you aren’t down to build a life with somebody. It’s good to make that clear.
Is it big enough for kids?
If you want to have children one day, consider whether or not the property can accommodate kids. That doesn’t only mean having enough bedrooms, but it also means things like, having a yard, so kids can play outside, being in a good school district, and being in a generally safe neighborhood.
Maybe you don’t want kids
Maybe you’re certain you don’t want kids, so then you don’t have to think about all of the kid-friendly features. However, you may want to have all of your friends and family visit you. It’s nice to fill your home with loved ones. So make sure there is space for them.
Homeownership is a lot of work
Know that homeownership is a tremendous amount of work for just one person. That’s not to say that you can’t do it alone, but it is quite a lot of work. There will be days when the air conditioner stops working and there’s a bug infestation and the landscaper and plumber are both there and need to talk to you at the same time.
But you’ll find your helper community
Even if you’re single, you’ll find your helper community. It’s especially important to get to know your neighbors if you’ll be a single homeowner. They will give you inside tips on who to hire for every little thing. They may come over and supervise your painters for you while you’re working with the landscaper.
It sort of ties you to a place
Buying a home is a way of literally putting down roots somewhere. You’re purchasing a corner of the planet in one specific place. It does tie you to that place. So, if you had thoughts of online dating and setting your geographical searches as far as other countries, just keep in mind that…moving for a man would be particularly tricky once you owned a home in one place.
What if a future partner already owns?
This happened to a friend of mine. She bought a place in her late thirties, then in her early forties met a man. They fell in love. They got married. One little problem: he already owned his home, too. There was a lot of tension over whose home they would live in, and what to do with the house in which they didn’t live. Who would be responsible for the upkeep? Would they even keep it?
Check the safety of the neighborhood
This is always important to do, but especially so if you’ll be a single female homeowner. Unfortunately, women living alone can be targets of crime. If you find yourself feeling unsafe in a rental property, picking up and moving is easy enough. That’s not the case when you own your home. So vet the neighborhood thoroughly before buying.
Research the future of it
It’s also important to look into the future of the neighborhood. Are there construction plans? How is it changing? Will it one day be all schools, playgrounds, and kids as far as the eye can see? Will you feel like a fish out of water if you’re single and childless in that setting? There’s nothing wrong with feeling that way. It’s natural to want to be around others living a similar lifestyle as your own.