RADIO SHOW/AUDIO PODCAST
Solutions...with Courtney Anderson! (SwCA)
Episode 184 -
Originally aired 9/05/2014 9:00 AM -
COURTNEY! I AM CURIOUS series -
“How did you buy your first home at age 27 as a single woman?”
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TALK SHOW EPISODE NOTES
This is our COURTNEY! I AM CURIOUS™ series wherein you ask and I answer! Specifically, this is a series for questions about my personal experiences, perspectives and life lessons.
Incredulous. Dubious. These are some of the reactions I have had over the years to my advice when it deviates from the expected norm. If I advise a person to consider something that is “outside the box” or without a box at all they may reject it simply on principle (too outrageous!). The challenge for me is that I often am simply sharing my own life experience and at times am hurt when it is scoffed at by skeptics.
If I am discussing traveling around the world on your own, or starting a new business, or applying for a job that in a new industry; it is because I did so and found it to be a wonderful start of a new adventure in life. Yes, you can! I have received questions over the years that illustrate that there may be a benefit from me sharing my direct experiences that are different from the norm (in some aspect).
Nothing I have done is unique. Going to school, working, buying a home, having fun, etc., are normal events in most of our lives. Going to school and graduating in three years, working for your own firm, buying a first home at age 27, working in live television, having fun in South Africa, Mexico City, Rome, Mumbai, Brisbane, Tokyo, Madrid, Hong Kong, Quebec, and many other places around the world are a bit of an unusual slant on life (apparently from the feedback I receive). So, this series is my attempt to address your curiosity! I hope that my journey through life helps you more fully explore what is probable in your life! This episode is, “How did you buy your first home at age 27 as a single woman?”
I purchased my first home at age 27. I still own it today as an investment property (over 15 years later as of the time of this show). I bought it on my own. I used money I earned working (as an employee and from my own business) for the down payment, closing costs and fees. I received no money from anyone else (family or friends, etc.). I borrowed the remainder of the purchase funds from a bank.
NOTE: I discussed how to buy your first home in another show: Solutions...with Courtney Anderson! (SwCA) Episode 047 - Originally aired 2/26/2014 9:00 AM - FINANCIAL FIERCENESS! series - “How to buy your first (or next, or best) home!”
I discussed credit scores (and reports) in a two part show: RADIO SHOW/AUDIO PODCAST Solutions...with Courtney Anderson! (SwCA) Episode 022 - Originally aired 1/22/2014 9:00 AM - FINANCIAL FIERCENESS! series - “'Credit score, who cares?!' You should...here's why. (Part 1 of 2)” and RADIO SHOW/AUDIO PODCAST Solutions...with Courtney Anderson! (SwCA) Episode 024 - Originally aired 1/24/2014 9:00 AM - FINANCIAL FIERCENESS! - “'Credit score, who cares?!' You should...here's why. (Part 2 of 2)"
1) How did I buy my first home?
With money I earned and saved, 2) use of my credit report and score 3) and income verification to qualify for a loan from a lender for the balance. The home was priced at approximately $115,000 USD. It is a single family, unattached, three bedroom, two bath brick home that was brand new when I purchased it (from the builder). It was fulfillment of one of my dreams when I received the keys!
2) Was I limited by my age?
No. We are what age we are. I was aware of it and we discuss in the show that younger people have smaller rates of homeownership than older age groups.
In the US: “The average age of a first-time homeowner is 34, according to the most recent American Housing Survey data collected in 2009.” (http://universe.byu.edu/2011/10/11/average-age-of-first-time-homeowners-remains-high/#sthash.Jhy9NwVQ.dpuf)
“For the second quarter 2014, the homeownership rates were highest for those householders ages 65 years and over (80.1 percent) and lowest for the under 35 years of age group (35.9 percent).” (http://www.census.gov/housing/hvs/files/qtr214/q214press.pdf)
3) Was I limited by my gender? What about the fact that I was single (unmarried, no partner or other co-signer for the home)?
No. We are the gender identity that we are. I was aware of my gender and we discuss in the show that females have not been able to own homes on their own until recent history (in the US and many other parts of the world). I was single. There was no one else to purchase the home with and I was aware of that! My goal was to purchase a home. Just as I was (that age, that single, that gender, that color, that entire person).
“It's hard to remember that just a few decades ago it was difficult, if not impossible, for a woman alone to take out a mortgage. Federal legislation changed that. And yet, it's still surprising to learn how dominant single women have become in the housing market today: Their share is second only to married couples, and twice that of single men.” (http://www.npr.org/2013/04/22/176837073/moving-out-and-buying-in-single-ladies-emerge-as-homeowners)
“Many single women couldn't buy their own homes 20 or 30 years ago because lenders saw them as credit risks.
Delois Baskin tried to purchase her first home in 1974 and was turned down for a loan. She asked why, and the chief executive officer of the bank told her that her status as a single woman kept her from the mortgage.
"It was unheard of that a single black woman would buy property," said Baskin, 57, who lives in a five-bedroom home and sells real estate. "You weren't expected to be doing those kinds of things.”” (http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2004-07-07/features/0407070139_1_black-women-unmarried-women-men-and-white-women)
As we often discuss, data is our friend. As of the time of this show, more and more single women are buying their own homes!
“In Canada, 25% of buyers are single women... only 10% of buyers are single men.” (http://canadaam.ctvnews.ca/open-house/sandra-rinomato-why-more-single-women-are-buying-property-1.1809935#ixzz39vk5RC6J)
“Recent Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) figures also show that across the age groups more women than men own their own home.” (http://news.domain.com.au/domain/real-estate-news/more-women-own-their-own-home-20130729-2qtl8.html)
4) Why did I want to buy a home at that time?
Because I did. I had wanted to do so for many years. I wanted to be able to control more of my life (no landlord, etc.) and I was excited to potentially have more stability in my life (short term and long term).
I am not alone in feeling that home ownership provides more stability!
“[T]he National Association of Realtors reports that since the mid-1990s, single women have purchased homes at nearly twice the rate of single men. Last year, single female homeowners made up 18 percent of household composition in the association's Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, compared to 10 percent for single men. […] For Heinze, solo homeownership carries a sense of pride. "[I'm] able to have a place that would be truly my own that I could decorate the way I wanted to," she says, "and have some sort of stability.”” (http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/articles/2013/07/08/more-single-women-buying-homes-than-single-men)
5) What about eminent domain, property taxes, adverse possession, etc.? You don’t have complete control or stability due to these potential issues.
That is accurate. Someone may take possession of my property by simply physically staying in it for a period of time and in a manner required to legally gain possession (adverse possession). There may be a government action to take my home due to lack of compliance with property tax mandates or my property may be taken by a government for public use (eminent domain). Also, as I borrowed money from a lender there is a mortgage on the home and if I did not pay the agreed amounts the lender could take the property (foreclosure). We also discuss in this show that I will have to comply with any restrictive covenants and/or association or community mandates (HOA. co-op, etc.) regarding my property appearance and maintenance. I still chose (and choose) to purchase my property that I live in versus renting it from someone else.
6) Was I limited by my race, color, ethnicity, or any other similar trait?
No. I am the race, color, ethnicity, that I decide I am (as per the current law in the US). I also am aware that society will have their own interpretation of “what I am” based on local custom, tradition, culture and practices. I have met people with my similar color in India, South Africa, Mexico, Spain, Australia and many other parts of the world. Most of them have different terms for what that complexion represents in their part of the world in terms of group identity. I listen and understand. I continue to define who I am and other people have their own interpretation.
7) But, be realistic, you did not fit the “normal” first time buyer profile or even the “normal” single female profile.
“This is how the National Association of Realtors profiles homebuyers: […]
Median household Income: $52,200
Type of home purchased: 65% Single Family
Median age: 48
Median square feet: 1,500
Buyer purchased home: 89% purchased with an agent
Reason to purchase: Desire to own”
This is accurate. I had much higher income than the profile figure above. I was 21 years younger than the median age. I did not use a real estate agent.
Yet, I did purchase a single family home (so that was “normal”). I did purchase a home close to the median square feet. I did have a desire to own.
This single female profile is not from the same time period that I purchased my first home yet I doubt that I was the “normal” purchaser at that time. I am not the normal purchaser today (and I have purchased two additional homes since my first home purchase).
8) Was I impacted by my age, gender, color, ethnicity, single status, etc.?
Yes. I was not limited by any of these issues in that I had a defined goal (to buy my home) and surpassed it. I had a plan that I executed (regarding saving money, raising credit score, etc.). I found a home I wanted to buy. I found a lender that I wanted to work with (who wanted to accept my business). I bought my home and have owned it for over 15 years. I had control over these events.
I was not in control of how my age, gender, color, ethnicity, race, single status, etc., were perceived by others (and all of these impacted my purchase and my life, for that matter). People told me ‘no’ (that I would not be able to buy a home at all).
I knew that some business would love a customer (i.e., money) more than they would love their own stereotypes. I also had additional confidence of my rights and options as I was an attorney and owned my own law firm. I don’t limit my dreams or my goals by who I am. My dreams and goals are impacted by who I am. If I was trying to buy a home in 1974, as per the quote above, I would not be able to do so at all. Now, I am able to have a chance to do so (changes in laws and culture) and so I assertively take action to realize my goals (and surpass them). We must take individual responsibility to educate ourselves (regarding laws, interest rates, purchase terms, etc.) and then be relentless in asserting our value in society.
“While 57 percent of single white women own homes, only 33 percent of single black women
and 28 percent of single Hispanic women are homeowners.”
“African-American borrowers were 3.8 times and Latino borrowers 3.6 times more likely to receive high-cost loans. The numbers are most shocking for high-income people: a high-income African American was almost twice as likely as a low-income white borrower to have a sub-prime loan. They are less likely to receive information about the full range of housing choices and are pushed into segregated neighborhoods less likely to have quality schools or rising home values. […] Asian Americans also have been targeted for sub-prime loans. Sub-prime loans grew 181% for Asian borrowers between 2004 and 2005; $6.5 billion in loans are now at risk of foreclosure in Asian American Pacific Islander communities.” (http://www.insightcced.org/uploads/CRWG/LayingTheFoundationForNationalProsperity-MeizhuLui0309.pdf)
My intrinsic value is equal to any other human. I will use data as my friend to know what the costs are for a loan based on my credit and income prior to any interaction with professionals in the home buying process. I will thus recognize when someone tries to sell me a high-cost loan based on illegal criteria (my gender, race, ethnicity, etc.) or simply a greedy desire to take advantage of an uninformed purchaser.
Arm yourself with knowledge (data on interest rates, home prices, etc.) prior to any other professional interaction (realtor, lender, builder, etc.). It is your life. Indulge in your desires (size, yard, decor, school district, commute, etc.). Understand your financial goals (if you want to sell it or rent it out in the future). Accept that we are have judgments made about us by other people. There is nothing we may do to stop that.
If you have an desire and an opportunity to satisfy the desire (e.g., to buy your first home). Do it. Now. At any age, any gender, any family definition, any color, any size, etc.. This is your life. Seize the day!
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