Welcome to the BeSmartee blog. Enjoy a wide selection of articles related to mortgages, the industry, and real estate.

6 Tips for Single Homebuyers

By Arvin Sahakian · May 6, 2015 · Real Estate

6 Tips for Single Homebuyers

Image courtesy of Flickr, Steve Wilson

Single homebuyers should consider these 6 tips to become better prepared for what lies ahead with home ownership.

Relationship trends have changed over the last couple decades, and that impacts the housing market in new ways. More single homebuyers are coming into the market than ever before and have different needs than couples and families.

While every house hunt is a personal, in general single buyers look for properties in central locations closer to the action, such as movies, shopping, and restaurants. For single women, security and safe transportation are an important concern as well. Finding these qualities is no easy task, especially when you only have a one income household. If you are considering buying a home on your own, here are six things to consider.

1. How Much Mortgage Can You Afford?

It's a simple question. Finding out your borrowing capability is the first stage of any successful home search. When you ask lenders for a loan, they will ask you for details of your income, debts and spending habits. Generally, lenders like for you to spend less than 38% of your income on all of your housing costs and payment expenses that appear on your credit report (also known as debt-to-income ratio). At this debt level, your expenditures are considered affordable. From the lenders perspective, you have a lower risk of losing your home due to missed payments if you have a lower debt-to-income (DTI) ratio.

2. What Else Goes Into a Mortgage Payment?

Your monthly housing expenses don't just include the mortgage payment. Lenders factor in other unavoidable costs, such as property taxes, property insurance and mortgage insurance if applicable, which is an extra charge if you put down less than 20% of the purchase price at closing. This is also known as PITI (Principal, Interest, Taxes and Insurance). Keep in mind that you will have a number of fixed expenses as well, such as utilities, travel costs, internet charges, car payments, etc. It's important not to bite off more than you can chew.

3. Get an Emergency Fund

A disadvantage to single living is that if any circumstances negatively affect your income, you are on your own. Losing a job, having a health issue or your car unexpectedly breaking down are some of the things that can affect your ability to cover your mortgage payment in the short or long term. This is why buying a home within your means is important. You should save enough money to cover at least 6 months of mortgage and housing expenses in case you run into financial trouble. When you have 6 months of expenses taken care of, you will have less stress and the ability to thoughtfully plan a strategy to get back on your feet. When you don't have savings to rely on, you will be more stressed and less able to carefully strategize a plan.

4. Who's Going to Fix the Leaking Faucet?

Single home owners will certainly be able to handle many DIY projects, but home ownership comes with more responsibility than most home buyers bargain for. From mowing the lawn to replacing a broken roof tile, projects will come up throughout the year that won't take care of themselves. You basically have three choices:

  • Save enough money to hire help when maintenance needs arise
  • Get handy with a screwdriver and learn how to do it yourself
  • Buy a Condo or Town Home with an HOA where the maintenance is handled for you

5. Safety First

There are two aspects to safety that you should consider:

  • Security when you are in the home
  • Security when you are away from home

Both issues can be alleviated by choosing a home in a neighborhood with a low crime rate and friendly, resident neighbors who can keep an eye on your property when you are away, such as a neighborhood watch program. Let your real estate agent know that safety is important to you.

6. Think Long Term

Buying a home is a great long-term investment, but if you need to move frequently with your job, or there's a chance that you might not be single in the near future, the property you are looking to buy may not be the ideal choice for the long term. Selecting a property with a spare bedroom that you can rent out, or one located in a family-friendly neighborhood will open up resale and leasing options for you should you need to move in a hurry for any given reason.

Real Estate Commission: Explained, Revealed and Compared
By Arvin Sahakian · Aug 17, 2015 · Real Estate Data

Real estate agents receive commissions from home buyers and sellers, collectively earning over $50 Billion per year. Learn how commission amounts are set, who pays them, and how they work in this article. Read more.


California Property Tax: Complete List by County 2014-2015
By Tim Nguyen · Nov 26, 2014 · Real Estate Data

List of secured property tax rates for all counties of California fiscal year for 2014-2015. Read more.


California Proposition 60 and 90: Your Complete Guide
By Tim Nguyen · Nov 28, 2014 · Real Estate Data

If you live in California and are over the age of 55 you can effectively reduce your property taxes when buying a new home. Read more.


Houston vs. Dallas: Which One is Better to Live in?
By Amanda Curry · Oct 11, 2016 · Real Estate

Houston Vs. Dallas? If you are considering moving to either of these major metropolitan areas, we've created a resource to help you make the decision process a little easier. Read more.


What to Expect During the Home Loan Closing Process
By Arvin Sahakian · Feb 24, 2015 · Mortgage

You've heard the term used before, but what does loan closing mean? Find out all you need to know about the process. Read more.


5 Illegal Borrowing Activities: Things That Are Illegal When You Try to Get a Home Loan
By Laura Agadoni · Jan 22, 2016 · Mortgage

Whenever there is money to be made or money to be spent, some unscrupulous folks will take advantage, trying to game the system or commit all-out fraud. Read more.


The Surge in Foreign Real Estate Investment in the United States
By Laura Agadoni · Feb 24, 2016 · Real Estate

Foreign real estate investment in the United States, both commercial and residential, is a huge phenomenon that is only expected to accelerate, maybe even to skyrocket, in 2016. Read more.


Does Homeowners Insurance Pay Off your Mortgage if the House is Burned Down?
By Amanda Curry · Feb 8, 2017 · Mortgage

In this article, we explore how homeowners insurance works and what happens in the event of a house fire. Read more.


16 Ways to Improve Your Debt-to-Income (DTI) Ratio
By Veronica Nguyen · Nov 29, 2014 · Mortgage

Your DTI is used by mortgage lenders to determine whether you qualify for a loan, and if so, for how much. Improve your DTI with these 16 tips. Read more.


6 Creative Financing Solutions For Your Next Home Purchase
By Laura Agadoni · Mar 22, 2016 · Mortgage

In this article we explore some creative financing options for your next home purchase. Read more.