Boston Homes
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Some do’s and don’ts for single homebuyers



Q: I am 25, single with a good job and nearly $20,000 saved for a down payment. I want to start looking for a home to buy this spring. Do you have any tips that apply to single homebuyers?


A: It looks like you’ve done some good work in preparation for buying a home.


As a single buyer, you should be conservative. Unlike a married couple, you do not have a second income to fall back on if something should happen – an accident, illness, unexpected expense, etc.


Don’t put all of your money into a home. Choose a smaller or less expensive home that will be cheaper to afford and also leave you a good rainy day fund. Likewise, choose a fixed rate mortgage. As a single buyer with likely just one income, best to be conservative and also fix your costs whenever you can.


Consider buying a home with roommate potential. I am sure getting out of roommate situations is a major reason you want to buy your own place. I am not saying you have to take a roommate in your new home, but choosing a property that might enable you to do so at some future date could be a good hedge against any unforeseen financial constraints.


Just knowing you have the right kind of home to share can relieve a lot of stress and homebuyer anxiety. Look for a home with an extra bedroom and bath and a layout that would give each of you sufficient privacy and autonomy just in case you might want or need to find a roommate in the future.


Also, look for energy efficiency in a home. Many young singles are unpleasantly surprised by the size of their heating bills in their new home. Ask the seller to give you copies of his/her heating and other utility bills for the last couple of years. Ask your home inspector to rate the energy efficiency of the home – furnaces, appliances, windows, insulation, doors, etc.


Consider carefully your location and where you buy. As a single buyer, you may have to look farther away from your job and friends in order to find an affordable home. Be sure to carefully weigh your commute to work and also how far away your friends and social circle are. You don’t want to be stuck out in the middle of nowhere, far from your friends. This is probably more true for singles than married couples, who at least have each other.


Linda Goodspeed is a longtime real estate writer and author of “In and out of Darkness.” Email her at: