The Greenhouse
by Pine

All the single ladies: Your guide to becoming a homeowner

British Columbia was the first province to offer loans to women without a male co-signer.

You can make it happen.

As Beyoncé famously said, all the single ladies–it's time to take control of your finances and become homeowners.

Buying a home can seem like an overwhelming task, especially if you're a single female. But don't let that discourage you! No longer is homeownership primarily seen as a rite of passage for couples after marriage. Instead, with many women waiting to get married–or even choosing not to—timelines are different, and so is the housing market and the stigmas surrounding it. 

With the right information and preparation, securing a mortgage in Canada isn’t just manageable, but it’s also achievable (in fact, here’s how 11 women across Canada did it!). 

By the numbers, single women are making their mark

According to the 2019 Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) Mortgage Consumer survey, 61% of first-time and repeat home buyers in Canada were female. And in 2016, 27% of all Canadian homeowners were single females—and this is a number that continues to grow. In some cases, it might be because women in general are viewing home buying as an investment, trying to get their foot in the door early to build equity. 

This is a number even reflected in older single women as well. The National Association of Realtors in the US reported that single female buyers, with the highest percentage being over 72 years of age, were on the rise. This trend showed that the number of women purchasing homes increased as they grow older, while the number of single male buyers declined.

From “homemakers” to homeowners 

Gone are the days where women couldn't secure a mortgage loan without a male co-signer. Up until the early 1960s, banks often found it “unstable” to loan women money, given they assumed the housework would keep women from the workforce. In fact, British Columbia was the first province to offer loans to women without a male co-signer. 

And to think that was just 62 years ago that was a reality, but today, women are poised to become a powerful segment of homeowners in Canada. Despite earning on average 26% less than men, according to the latest data from Statistics Canada, women are continuously making strides and taking control of their financial futures. 

So, what do you need to do to secure a mortgage in Canada?

Homeownership is a significant milestone in anyone's life, and as a single female, you may be wondering what you need to do to secure a mortgage. The good news is that there are many options available, and with some preparation, you can become a homeowner in no time.

Get your finances in order

The first step to securing a mortgage is to get your finances in order. This means creating a budget, paying off any outstanding debts, and building up your savings. You’ll also want to consider saving as much for a down payment as you can. While most lenders will accept a 5% down payment, the higher your down payment the less your monthly payments will be. Similarly, by putting down 20% you can officially opt out of getting mortgage insurance

Overall, your lender will want to see that you're financially responsible and have a stable income, so it's important to have these things in order before you start the mortgage process.

Have a credit score in good standing 

Your credit score is an important factor lenders will consider when it comes to getting a mortgage. It's important to know your score and take steps to improve it if necessary. You can get a free credit report from Equifax or TransUnion and use this information to make any necessary improvements to your credit score. Or you can also do soft checks with other credit companies so you can keep track of your score on a recurring basis. 

Shop around for a lender

Once you have your finances in order and know your credit score, it's time to start shopping around for a lender. It's important to compare options and find the best rates for you. Don't be afraid to negotiate with the lender to get the best terms possible. In fact, it’s also beneficial to get pre-approved for a mortgage. 

This gives you an idea of what you can afford (or you can always calculate ahead of time to get a quick snapshot of potential buying power) and it shows sellers that you're a serious buyer. To get pre-approved, you'll need to provide the lender with information about your income, assets, and debts.

Work with a real estate agent (who also empowers you)

Working with a real estate agent can be a big help when it comes to buying a home. They can help you find the right home, negotiate with the seller, and guide you through the entire process. Find a real estate agent you trust and who has experience working with single female buyers, as they’ll empower you to understand this large investment and to feel confident in your purchase. 

Remind yourself it’s okay to walk away 

Finally, when it comes to making a purchase, it's important to be smart about it. Make sure you buy a home that you can financially afford. Don't be afraid to walk away from a home if the deal isn't right for you.

Consider your deal breakers when it comes to buying a home

Think about your lifestyle and what you’re looking for when it comes to where you plan to live. Will proximity to work be a factor? Is your place easily accessible by transit? If you’re choosing a condo do you want one with security and/or a concierge system? Does your space require extensive renovations or would you rather want a place that requires minimal work? All these questions will help empower your decision as you find the perfect space for you to call home. 

Turn your home buying dreams into a reality 

In conclusion, becoming a single female homeowner in Canada is a big accomplishment, and with the right information and preparation, it's a goal that's within reach. Don't be intimidated by the mortgage process, and don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it. With determination and a bit of effort, you'll be well on your way to achieving your dream of homeownership. And if you’d like more assistance in figuring out exactly what you can afford, fill out some information at Pine and we’ll be happy to connect you with a mortgage agent to help you on your home buying journey. 

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