Anna Mascall pictured outside the Easton, Pennsylvania home she recently purchased. “To be able to say I own a home, I kind of fulfilled the American dream,” she said.
Courtesy of Anna Lee Mascall
After years of renting, Anna Mascall, 30, decided she wanted to buy her own house.
Then the Covid-19 pandemic hit and city dwellers began to flock to the rural Lehigh Valley area of Pennsylvania where she lives.
With inventory low and prices high, Mascall thought her homeownership dreams would be out of reach – but that all changed when the owner of the house she was renting decided to sell and gave Mascall the first dibs.
She jumped at the chance and her dream of owning a house came true. Mascall closed his new home this week.
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“It’s always been a big dream for me to own my own house and to be able to say that I’ve made it,” she said.
Mascall, who is single, admitted she was hesitant to tackle this major milestone in her life without a partner. “But there came a time when this is how my life is now, and why wait for that?” she said. “I’m more than capable of owning a house.”
Society tends to dictate a certain timeline for life events – first comes marriage, then comes buying a house.
However, single women like Mascall are redefining those rules, according to a recent Bank of America study.
According to the study, nearly two-thirds of single women future homeowners said they would rather not wait until marriage to buy a home. In addition, 30% of current female homeowners bought their home when they were single.
“With the delay in getting married and starting a family, I think it makes sense that 65% of prospective single homeowners are choosing to be homeowners without having to get married first,” said Kathy Cummings, vice president Principal of Homeownership Solutions and Strategic Relationships at Bank of America, from Study Discovery.
Admittedly, buying a new home can be a challenge in today’s market due to limited supply, high prices and rising mortgage rates. The median price of existing homes in the United States was $358,000 in December, up 15.8% from $309,200 in December 2020, according to the National Association of Realtors.
But a purchase like Mascall’s is increasingly proving to be a source of pride for women. The BofA survey found that 80% of women are excited about buying a home on their own, while 92% said it would be a great achievement.
Additionally, 60% of potential female buyers said they would feel successful when buying their own home, compared to 52% of single men. Almost half of current single female owners – 46% – said they were proud to tell others about their ownership status, compared to just 35% of their single male counterparts.
Single women also learn the important lesson that owning a home can be a way to increase your wealth.
In some ways, it may also come with fewer strings attached than leasing. Just days after buying her house, Mascall has already made an appointment to get quotes on some renovations she would like to do that she previously couldn’t do as a tenant.
While some women may think buying a home on their own is beyond them, that’s just a myth, Cummings added. “I don’t think women need to be limited by the old mindset that you have to be married anymore,” she said.
Overcome common misconceptions and obstacles
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Other common misconceptions — that you need to have a 20% down payment, perfect credit, and no student loan debt — may also hold some women back.
Bank of America and other financial institutions offer financial products that allow potential buyers to secure financing with as little as 3% down payment, Cummings said. Grants may also be available depending on your income and other circumstances.
Having a strong credit rating will help you get a better deal. But there are options available to borrowers with lower scores, although they tend to incur higher costs.
The key is to do your research and find out what’s out there, Cummings said.
The journey from deciding to buy a home to closing that deal varies from person to person, she said. It can take two months or two years.
By meeting with a financial professional and evaluating your options, you can determine the priorities you need to set to prepare, such as paying off your debts.
“Find out,” Cummings said. “Learn what’s possible and don’t dismiss it just because you’re a single woman. Home ownership can be a very important tool in building your financial future.”