Author Topic: Questions for single ladies who are homeowners  (Read 10270 times)

jennifers

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Questions for single ladies who are homeowners
« on: November 27, 2016, 03:48:32 PM »
Please tell me about your experiences being homeowners and give me any advice you can based on my situation below. Was it easier/harder than you imagined? What are the things that you didn't know about home ownership before you started? What are your least favorite things about home ownership?


About my situation:
I've lived in a downtown high-rise condo for the past 4 years. I'm considering buying a house, but people keep telling me that houses are way too much work. I'm a single female and I work a lot, but I have a flexible schedule and can work from home sometimes. I'd always imagined that I'd be taking on home ownership with a husband / boyfriend, but I just recently broke up with my boyfriend. At this point, I'm not sure if I want to wait around for 'prince charming' in order to get what I want out of life.

Condo costs (monthly):
446$ mortgage (I owe 94,000 on my mortgage - condo is now worth about 150,000)
190$ condo fees (includes high speed internet)
260$ property taxes
10$ heat
50$ electricity
10$ insurance
_____________
$966



Some of the reasons I want a house:
More space (my current place is 575 square feet).
I'd like to foster dogs for the animal rescue I work with, but my building has a limit of 2 pets which I already have. Dog rescue is my #1 hobby, so this is pretty important.
I'm looking into getting into fostering human children and would need another bedroom for that.
I enjoy gardening and would like to have a vegetable garden and possibly some chickens.
No stupid condo rules / condo association.


Some of the reasons I'm nervous about owning a house:
Yard work (mowing lawns gives me an allergy headache from the grass). I think with a small enough yard this will be OKAY.
Shoveling snow in blizzard like conditions. I think this will be okay and I can buy a snow blower if needed.
I think it's going to end up being more expensive than the condo.
Worried about expensive repairs and dealing with repairmen / contractors.
I'll have a longer commute (my current condo is across the street from my work). The areas I'd look for houses in are 20-30 minutes away in traffic.

Other:
I don't have any debt other than my mortgage.
I'd like to buy a house in the 160,000ish range and use the money I get from selling my condo as the down payment.
I have 50,000 in an 'emergency fund' that could be used for repairs etc after the home purchase.



lizzzi

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Re: Questions for single ladies who are homeowners
« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2016, 04:10:57 PM »
I can speak to the yard work and snow removal: It is no big deal to find a lawn service to do your lawn for you if you have allergy issues. In terms of snow removal, look for a place that has a paved driveway, and that has all concrete work (sidewalks, patios, etc.) in good repair. I use a small electric snowblower on my double-wide, 100 foot long concrete driveway. It is good for 3 or 4 inches of snow, and if the forecast calls for deeper snow, I go out and snowblow a couple times instead of just once, to keep up with it. I use a 100 foot electric cord plugged into a garage outlet, and attach a 25 foot cord to it for the end of the drive...works pretty well, and no gasoline to deal with.

Regarding animals: You're going to either need to buy a house with a fenced yard, or be ready to fence your yard for the dogs. Make sure there are no prohibitions on the deed or anything like that. (I had a deed restriction at one time that said I could have no more than two horses on my property.) Check the town codes, too, in the place you're considering buying.

Regarding bills: I think your heating will go up quite a bit. It will depend on a lot of factors, but no way are you going to heat a house for $10 per month. And homeowners insurance will be more. Again, there will be a lot of variables, so it's hard to quote specifics. My homeowners is $760 per year through USAA on a 1,165 sq. ft. flat ranch style house.

10dollarsatatime

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Re: Questions for single ladies who are homeowners
« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2016, 05:06:21 PM »
I will admit to not being great about keeping up with the yard work.  Either schedule time for it, or plan on paying someone for it.  I'm working on the scheduling time thing.  I'm trimming my hedge an hour at a time after work right now.

I did buy a house with no paved driveway and short walkways on an unimproved street.  Shoveling takes me 10 minutes tops.

It can be expensive.  I had to replace my roof a couple of years ago.  Did the labor with my brothers, but just the materials ran around $2500.  A tree fell on the house last week.  Did just a little cosmetic damage, and I have to get rid of all the tree bits in my yard now.  Doing it myself, but at the cost of days of my time and $8 every time I take a trailer load to the dump (and lunch for my helpers when I have them).  Will have to pay someone to take down the other two trees that I no longer trust.  Home improvements must be made at some point. 

That said, I do love having my own house.  I enjoy working on projects around the place.  Hell, even playing with the chainsaw the past week has been nice... therapeutic even. 

When it comes down to it, I think you need to be willing to do a lot of things yourself, and you need a support network (6 brothers and dad in my case).  Otherwise, you have to be ready to shell out some $$ when things don't go as planned or you can't keep up.

frugaldrummer

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Re: Questions for single ladies who are homeowners
« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2016, 05:43:35 PM »
First anticipate a few hundred dollars more per month in expenses, given higher utilities, a gardening service, and inevitable house repairs.  If your hobby of dog rescue and plan to foster4 children are worth this expense to you, then also add in the additional expenses attached to fostering dogs and/or humans.  If you're still in a comfortable financial range, then it sounds like an appropriate move for you - I think.  How old are you?

If you're in your 20's and likely to meet someone and get married in the next few years, I'd think twice.  If you're older, again - seems ok.

My house has no lawn to mow, and is low maintenance, but even this is a bit much for me alone.  Luckily my mom lives with me and she waters the back (which is not on automatic sprinklers) and my boyfriend trims the shrubs and weeds for me.  I just don't have time.

Friends  in the area have steered me to good repairmen when needed. 

Things to consider when buying:
 - asphalt roofs last about 20 years, how old is the roof on the house you are considering?
 - major plumbing and electrical issues in older houses can add up quickly (my mother's 1950's house had a slow plumbing leak in the bathroom - mold remediation, new sewer line, bathroom gut and redo - about $25k all told.  My house is 20 years old - tile roof should be good for at least another 10 yrs, did need some minor repairs.  Windows and flooring needed replacing.  Painted whole interior. Expect dishwasher to go sooner rather than later. Stovetop needs replacing soon too.
 - fencing (mine needs replacing soon)
 
Just realize there will be a lot of niggly things you don't have to deal with now.  Expenses will be higher.  Single guys will be less available.  But it sounds like you have good reasons for wanting a house too.

lizzzi

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Re: Questions for single ladies who are homeowners
« Reply #4 on: November 28, 2016, 05:41:29 AM »
Have been thinking about this some more, as I have a small house and yard, but also have an apartment in another state. What I like about the apartment is just what Spartana said: low to no maintenance, just empty out the refrigerator and lock the door behind you, and go wherever you want for however long you want. What I like about the house is: more elbow room with the extra bedroom, bathroom, and den as well as living room,  more amenities (gas burning fireplace and screened porch a two-car attached garage); can paint or decorate any way I want, can have multiple pets if I want; I have the yard around me and more of a  sense of living in the natural  world. I can't really garden because the deer eat everything, but if I wanted to put up deer fencing I could grow a lot of vegetables or whatever. There is no question that maintenance and repair on a house will add up, so you need to be ready for that. My big expenses over the past three years since I purchased this house have been remediating a wet basement, $7,000, fixing chimneys, $1,000, fixing roof, $1,000, concrete work in garage, $3,000, painting top to toe with a lot of wall repair, $9,000...new heating/cooling unit $7,400. Plus some charges that you probably don't have in an apartment such as grass mowing, which costs me $25 per week in the mowing season, and quarterly pest control, which runs $30/month; let's see, and a plumbing repair $400. Gutter cleaning, $100 to $200 each time. (Very woodsy yard--gutters full of leaves all the time.) The only thing that may not have been strictly necessary was/is the pest control, but I had an elderly relative on a walker and little children in the house a lot, and just didn't want to take the chance of hornet stings or wolf spider bites. But my point is, there is always something, and you need to budget for maintenance and repair, especially if you're buying an older home or a fixer-upper. I think also, as others have said, that you need to look at your own age and social situation, in terms of whether a house or an apartment would be more sensible. If marriage is in your future, you may not want to commit to a house just yet..but I wouldn't put your life on hold just because you might get married later and the spouse might not like your house. I personally don't like condos, as you have to buy the place and then continue to pay "rent" in the form of HOA fees...but that is just me. I know a lot of people like condo living.

Linea_Norway

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Re: Questions for single ladies who are homeowners
« Reply #5 on: November 28, 2016, 06:40:12 AM »
Please tell me about your experiences being homeowners and give me any advice you can based on my situation below. Was it easier/harder than you imagined? What are the things that you didn't know about home ownership before you started? What are your least favorite things about home ownership?

Some of the reasons I'm nervous about owning a house:
Yard work (mowing lawns gives me an allergy headache from the grass). I think with a small enough yard this will be OKAY.
Shoveling snow in blizzard like conditions. I think this will be okay and I can buy a snow blower if needed.
I think it's going to end up being more expensive than the condo.
Worried about expensive repairs and dealing with repairmen / contractors.
I'll have a longer commute (my current condo is across the street from my work). The areas I'd look for houses in are 20-30 minutes away in traffic.

I am not single. But I am an experienced home owner and can give you some opinions.
By the way, I used to have a lesbian colleague who blogged about how hard it is to be a homeowner with 2 women. You need to fill all the typical man's jobs yourself. She considered it a challenge.

If you are not handy, you will have to hire a repairman regularly. E.g. my mother is living alone and she had called a repairman to fix a tumble dry that didn't work. Turned out it was just the fuse. My mother also hires people to paint the house, repair the roof and to work in her garden. Owning a house is indeed quite a lot of work. I am lucky to be married to an engineer who can fix most stuff. Living alone, I would likely prefer living in an apartment. Maybe a very new house would do the trick, but we just bought a 5 year old house that turned out to have more problems that it should have had.
What we have learned is that owning the correct tools often makes any job at hand so much easier. As a new homeowner you don't have all that stuff and you need to count on making a lot of investments or hiring the tools that you need.

Some of the challenges that we had with our houses:
- Mice in the attic. Solved by setting up mouse traps and emptying them. Can be done by a women.
- Washing and painting the outside walls, also the high parts. Can be done by a woman.
- Replace roof shingles. You need to read up on how to do it. I helped with a lot of the work. But you'll need to be handy for the finishing details.
- Leaking dishwasher. Find the reason it leaks. Or simply installing a new one and connecting it to the water and the drain.
- Replacing a very heavy washing machine or refrigerator. You don't stand a chance to move that on your own.
- Renewing the insides of a room: replacing ceiling plates, painting walls, painting woodwork. Replacing the ceilings is difficult. Painting can be done by a woman if you know how to do it well. In general: internet is your best friend in learning techniques about everything.
- Water flowing into the house. Digging channels around the house for better drainage. Also emergency channel digging in the forest behind our house when there was a lot of heavy rain.
- Our private gravel road flushing partly away because of heavy rain. Working with shovels to repair it. Plus yearly repairs.
- Trees in the garden that grow too high and need to be cut.
- Fighting back the forest that would overtake our garden. Shortening trees and bushes.
- Car won't start. When DH not home, I needed to get the neighbour.
- Repolishing the wooden floor with a polishing machine. Pretty difficult to start with. And painting neatly afterwards.
- Water in the kitchen isn't flowing away like it should. Opening the mushroom neck, empty it and put it back so that it doesn't leak.
- Hanging up a new lamp and connecting the electricity to it.
- Cleaning the chimney.
- Replacing the old kitchen. My DH removed the old one, replace the floor and some of the wall plates. We ordered a carpenter through the kitchen shop to place it for us. That was done in one day and saved us a lot of time. Cost 10% of the kitchen cost.
- Replacing the old bathroom and stripping everything from walls, floor and ceiling. We did everything ourselves. This cost approx 1/3 of what it would have cost if we would have hired someone.
- Redoing the big hall downstairs and building a walk in room. My DH was not working at that time and built the whole thing with a bit of me helping with decorating and painting or just lending a hand. It is very practical to have a second person helping you.
- Just any major renovation. If you are handy, you can do it yourself. Alternatively you need to buy yourself out of it. That costs.

This list above is far from complete. And some of the things are of course also true for living in an apartment.

Cleaning up heavy snow can of course be done by a woman. My DH has been physically inhibited to do this for 2 winters, so I have cleaned snow with a shovel during 2 whole winters, and half the time for another 15 winters. Nowadays we share a big snowblower with the neighbours. As long as it works, I can use it.

Removing grass can be tricky if you are allergic. You can of course take medicine and nose spray before you do it. Or you could replace the grass with tiles.

We have had to hire a contractor a couple of times. I have noticed that they do not always arrive on the agreed time and then come up with some lousy excuse, so that you took a day off for nothing. I usually announce the jobs on a Norwegian website where we can do that and where companies can send you can offer. On the website you can see their rating and feedback by other customers. When we replaced the whole fuse box, this was a much cheaper alternative then the local electrician, like 40% cheaper.
« Last Edit: November 28, 2016, 08:27:51 AM by Linda_Norway »

GreenSheep

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Re: Questions for single ladies who are homeowners
« Reply #6 on: November 28, 2016, 07:20:33 AM »
I owned a townhouse from age 28 to age 36, when I sold it and moved into my fiance's house. If I could go back and do it again, the only thing I would change is that I would have preferred to have a free-standing house with a yard so I could have had a big garden. There's no snow here, so I can't comment on that!

Owning my home was really empowering. Learning how to maintain it, fix things in it, and make improvements on my own was really good for me. I had an absolute blast learning about DIY home improvement and doing all sorts of things, from changing outlets to putting in a wood floor to tiling the back patio. And I was never the handy type, so if I could do it, anyone can. The same agent helped me buy and sell it, and she was floored by how much better the place looked when I sold it. I did hire out some help for certain things (wood flooring on the stairs, for example), but it was neat to see how much I was able to tackle on my own and how great the outcome could be. (Thank you, Internet, for ideas and how-tos! younghouselove.com in particular)

It was also great to have my OWN place to retreat to after a hectic day. No one else's dishes in the sink. No one else's hair in the shower. Everything set up and decorated exactly to my taste. I enjoy sharing a home with my fiance now, and it's fun to make house decisions with him, but it was good to have that period in my life when I was allowed to be a bit selfish.

I'm with you on the dog thing. A huge part of the reason I got a house (even though it was a townhouse, it had an enclosed patio with grass) was that I wanted to get a dog. I had grown up with dogs but never had one on my own. I never thought I'd have an ankle biter, but a large dog wouldn't have been comfortable with such a small yard, so I ended up with a Chihuahua. That was nearly 10 years ago, and she's been just awesome. No ankles bitten to date, and she's super sweet in general. I think it was probably good that the small house forced me to get a small dog, at least for my first dog. She's taught me a lot about how to train a dog, how to share your life with a dog in general, and besides, she's cheap (15 cents per day to feed her really great dog food)!

So I would say go for it! It sounds like a house will really allow you to do all the things you want to do, and it seems like you're prepared for the costs. (Stand your ground on the no-HOA thing! I'm so glad to be rid of the HOA fees for my townhouse!)

LindseyC

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Re: Questions for single ladies who are homeowners
« Reply #7 on: November 28, 2016, 07:32:07 AM »
I bought my house when I was 28, as a single female. It was a foreclosure that required massive amounts of work just to clean it up and then more work to make it liveable. It's also a 100 year old house so updates were needed desperately. I bought it with 20% down, but I had little savings and a modest income of 45k. The house was cheap, owning it has not been. Realistically I should have made double what I do in order to buy this house and work on it, it has been a financial struggle. (And quite the learning curve)

However, in the ten years I have owned it I have made progress and my house is now tripled in value, thanks to my repairs/renovations and also the location which has gone through a massive transition.

I enjoy yard work and have always been willing to learn to use new tools and perform DIY repairs. I have hired people for large jobs (cutting down massive trees, roof repairs, installing a kitchen from studs) but generally I work alongside the people I hire to learn new skills. It can be tricky to hire the right people and not be taken advantage of, women unfortunately are seen as prey but less then scrupulous contractors.

If I did it all over, I would not have bought this house as I could have saved way more money either renting or owning a condo. I spend a lot of time and most of my "free" money on this house, plus it really does tie you down to one spot. I for sure would have moved probably a few times in the last ten years. I do love my house and now am quite attached to it and I am almost at the tipping point where my house actually costs me less then rent would for a one bedroom in the same city.

Hindsight, I would not have bought. Where I am today, I intend to keep my house for at least a few more years as the value is going up quite a bit each year and I am in a better place financially just because most of the big stuff has been done. As stressful as my house and neighbourhood has been, it has been a real growing experience and I have learned some very good DIY skills as well as financial skills. 

hoodedfalcon

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Re: Questions for single ladies who are homeowners
« Reply #8 on: November 28, 2016, 07:59:52 AM »
I bought a house when I was 24. I am 38 now and in a long distance relationship, so essentially I am a single lady homeowner. I haven't found it to be particularly difficult or overwhelming as a rule, but there are of course times when I wish I had some help dealing with stuff around the house. My house is over 100 years old and of course comes with the issues of a 100 year old house.

In the last 14 years I have had to deal with (not a complete list):
- Rat/Possums getting into the crawl space and walls (DIY traps and poison have resolved, but not without many sleepless nights listening to them in my walls)
- Trees falling during storms/tree removal. Lots of $$$ but luckily no damage to my house (I paid a guy)
- New HVAC (I paid a guy)
- Yard maintenance: so, I am a garden person. I grow veggies. I keep bees. I love having a yard. That being said, I hate mowing the lawn. I hate maintaining lawn equipment. I have set mowers on fire (it was an accident....both times).  I found a reel mower helped with allergies. And they don't catch on fire.
- Pipes freezing and bursting (I paid a guy)
- Replaced/rebuilt front porch that was rotting away (I paid a guy)

I tend to ask around and get recommendations for smaller mom and pop repair folks when possible. I find they are much easier to deal with and also much more reasonable with pricing. I have been very happy finding quality repair folks just by asking around.

I am sure there are many other things. I am pretty independent so I don't think any of these were deal breakers for me. I find having extra cash or setting money aside for the repairs helped immensely. It's not hard to plan that shit will break. You just don't always know which shit or when. But a $5K house fund has kept me sleeping at night. Newer houses might be easier/less maintenance, of course.

jennifers

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Re: Questions for single ladies who are homeowners
« Reply #9 on: November 28, 2016, 09:41:03 AM »
Thanks for the responses everyone.  To those who asked I'm 33 - almost 34. 

Miss Tash

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Re: Questions for single ladies who are homeowners
« Reply #10 on: November 28, 2016, 10:22:46 AM »
I'm a single, lady homeowner and love it.  However, you need a stash of cash for the unforeseen events that will inevitably happen.  I've experienced most of the big things that others have noted and for those I just hire it fixed.  For all the smaller stuff, I get on You Tube and figure it out.  That being said, I'm an engineer and find learning new things challenging, especially if I get to buy new tools!  Not everybody does, though.
I just downsized into a mid-century bungalow and did a to-the-studs remodel.  I hired a contractor by using a guy that two friends had success with in the previous year.  I find hiring good workers to be the hardest part of home repair.  Yelp is good but friend recommendations have worked better than anything.
Another thing that is difficult is that sometimes you just need two people to do a thing.  Epoxy coating on the garage floor? Two people minimum!  Fencing? Ditto.  Any work with 4 x 8 sheets of material, like drywall, pretty much requires a helping hand, too.  I have a couple go-to friends for this kind of thing but it took a lot of personal growth to be able to ask.  I'm pretty independent. 
If you do buy a place, get a REALLY good inspection first.  Then call contractors (electrical and plumbing) to get quotes on what it will take to bring the place up to code. 

MVal

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Re: Questions for single ladies who are homeowners
« Reply #11 on: November 28, 2016, 11:01:02 AM »
I am very glad to have found this thread. I'm considering moving out of my roommate's house into my own place and trying to decide if renting or buying is the best move for me right now. Since I've not lived alone in many years, I think renting alone for a while might be the right move for me judging by what you all have said so far.

Cookie78

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Re: Questions for single ladies who are homeowners
« Reply #12 on: November 28, 2016, 11:26:21 AM »
Single female homeowner checking in.

I do not regret buying my home(s) one bit. Yes, it is a lot of work, but I have really enjoyed learning how to do most of it myself (and who to call when I can't do it myself). As someone said earlier, it is really empowering. I could never go back to renting an apartment*, as I spend so much time in my yard gardening, relaxing, playing with the dogs (I also foster dogs), and hosting BBQs and back yard fires. I also spend many summer evenings in the garage building things.

I took care of the extra cost issue by renting suites, which comes with it's own pain in the ass, but sure helped tons financially. Currently renting both suites in the first house and the basement suite in the second house.

HOWEVER, now I'm ready for a change. More freedom, less responsibility. I want to sell my houses and FIRE in 2017, but the housing market here sucks and it's better if I wait a couple years. So I have to come up with some unique plans to make things work. It's a risk you take with buying. That said, if I'd just rented this whole time the chances of me being ready to FIRE next year would be slim to none.

*I could, and may, go back to renting a house.

KMMK

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Re: Questions for single ladies who are homeowners
« Reply #13 on: November 28, 2016, 11:53:55 AM »
I'd look into renting a house first, or completely.

I've owned 2 houses on my own and 2 with a partner. Home ownership is a lot of work and a lot of cost. It depends whether you like home maintenance stuff. I don't. And if you have to hire it out, it's $100 minimum every time, just for someone to walk in your door. It's okay with a partner, since I don't have to worry about everything myself, but it's still a pain.

I think if I didn't have my partner, the only way I'd own a house again is if I acted more like a tenant, and found a tenant who wanted to act more like the home-owner. I don't like to be stuck in one place. I'd like to wander off and experience different areas and visit different people around the world. The house ties me down too much.
I like gardening, and a few other house things  but can get the experience of these in other ways if I had to.

Sibley

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Re: Questions for single ladies who are homeowners
« Reply #14 on: November 28, 2016, 01:26:45 PM »
Thanks everyone! I'm planning on buying a house next year, so this has been helpful :)

dreams_and_discoveries

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Re: Questions for single ladies who are homeowners
« Reply #15 on: November 29, 2016, 07:08:47 AM »
It doesn't matter if you're a man or a woman when it comes to home repairs, just your skills. Lots of women can, and have done, many of the things on your list - even very heavy lifting tasks as there are always ways to do things to make it easier if you are doing something solo or aren't very strong. I did all my home repairs and improvements myself and they are generally easy to learn and do for most women (and men too). Of course even though I have the skills to do those things I still hate it ;-)! Its really not how I want to spend my free time so am looking forward to the day I get rid of the house and can move into a small apt. No more working on a house. YAY!

Agree Spartana, It's 2016. I hadn't realised people were still so conservative and believe women can't do things. Heavy lifting is more physics than brute strength!


<retreating back to my feminist utopia now>

MrsDinero

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Re: Questions for single ladies who are homeowners
« Reply #16 on: November 29, 2016, 08:59:13 AM »
Spartana nailed it.

I owned 2 homes as a single woman.  My first home was a 3 bed/2 bath on .25 acres.  the things I learned in the first year, how to replace a sump pump, how to do some basic plumping and electrical, and how much I hated yard work.

Along with power tools, I would recommend buying something like this:

http://www.homedepot.com/p/Bosch-Metal-Breaker-Hammer-Dolly-Hauler-T1657/202691146

In my opinion this is a single woman's best friend.  It makes anything easy to move without having to call people for help.  This is especially important if you like to rearrange heavy furniture in the middle of the night like me.

My second home was a condo which required no outside maintenance, but I learned how to fix a washer and dryer, tear down walls, hang drywall, etc. 

My 2 cents on power tools.  When buying them don't cheap out.  Get the good heavy-duty ones.  Buy good drill bits and screwdrivers. 

dreams_and_discoveries

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Re: Questions for single ladies who are homeowners
« Reply #17 on: November 29, 2016, 09:17:22 AM »
Haha I didn't realize I was going on a feminist rant as I was just trying to let the OP know that those skills can be easily learned and done by most people and not to let them disaude he from getting a house just because she's single or female. The dudes who have those skills had to learn all that stuff at some point too and I know lots of guys who have no skills in home improvement or the like at all.  Also tools and equipment can be rented by the day for big jobs but nice to have some basic hand and power tools around. They are cheap to buy and easy to use and maintain.

Agree 100% - it's all learnable. Loving the independent women on this thread.

Khaetra

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Re: Questions for single ladies who are homeowners
« Reply #18 on: November 29, 2016, 10:50:01 AM »
I'm a single gal who also owns a home.  Spartana is right, we can do just about anything! <flexes muscles>

I agree with the poster who said to make sure you read the rules carefully before buying in a HOA neighborhood, especially if you want to do dog rescue/fostering as some have limits.  Even then, if you have yappy dogs your neighbors may complain so keep that in mind when house-hunting.  Good luck!

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Re: Questions for single ladies who are homeowners
« Reply #19 on: November 29, 2016, 10:57:11 AM »
Agree Spartana, It's 2016. I hadn't realised people were still so conservative and believe women can't do things.
Well, not 100% true. I couldn't help my husband restain the deck because I was pregnant and my ob told me to stay away from high concentrations of those kinds of chemicals. I have to avoid them the whole time I'm breastfeeding, too =/ It sucks to not be able to tackle the next big project for a while, but them's the breaks!

use2betrix

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Re: Questions for single ladies who are homeowners
« Reply #20 on: November 29, 2016, 11:30:05 AM »
It doesn't matter if you're a man or a woman when it comes to home repairs, just your skills. Lots of women can, and have done, many of the things on your list - even very heavy lifting tasks as there are always ways to do things to make it easier if you are doing something solo or aren't very strong. I did all my home repairs and improvements myself and they are generally easy to learn and do for most women (and men too). Of course even though I have the skills to do those things I still hate it ;-)! Its really not how I want to spend my free time so am looking forward to the day I get rid of the house and can move into a small apt. No more working on a house. YAY!

Agree Spartana, It's 2016. I hadn't realised people were still so conservative and believe women can't do things. Heavy lifting is more physics than brute strength!


<retreating back to my feminist utopia now>

I couldn't agree more. In a day and age where women expect equal job opportunities and pay, I'm surprised to see a thread and responses like some of these.

My wife and I live full time in a fifth wheel, which arguably requires as much if not more maintenance than a house. At our last RV park we were required to do our own lawn care. My wife went to the store, bought a lawn mower, assembled it on her own, and mowed our grass herself. I didn't mow a single time (i work a ton, she stays at home)

We recently needed 6 new tires. She took our big heavy 3 ton floor jacks out of storage, and changed the tires out to go get replaced, 3 at a time. When she got back she used our impact to tighten them. We had a flat on our last move on the middle of an insanely busy interstate. A police officer got behind us and turned on his lights to slow traffic then got out to help. As my wife is gturning on our generator, pulling out the impact, air compressor, and floor jack, he joked that we were the fastest pit crew he's seen.

Before we move, she pulls our 100ish lb air compressor out of storage and checks and fills all the tires.

She re-caulks the roof when needed.

When we were up North she had no problem shoveling snow.

The list goes on. All this from my 5' 115 lb 23 year old wife.

Nowadays, damn near anything can be learned off the internet, and if it can't and you don't feel comfortable doing something, you can always pay someone that will. Men can't do everything either.

lizzzi

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Re: Questions for single ladies who are homeowners
« Reply #21 on: November 29, 2016, 12:13:14 PM »
I'm a single gal who also owns a home.  Spartana is right, we can do just about anything! <flexes muscles>

I agree with the poster who said to make sure you read the rules carefully before buying in a HOA neighborhood, especially if you want to do dog rescue/fostering as some have limits.  Even then, if you have yappy dogs your neighbors may complain so keep that in mind when house-hunting.  Good luck!

Check with the town about any animal rules or restrictions, such as how many animals and what kinds can you have on your property, (can you have beehives, can you have chickens, whatever), and also what the town's rules are about animal noise. Then also, when you've picked out your house, check carefully about deed restrictions. It can be something above and beyond the town's regulations, that is tacked on to your deed and restricts or limits certain things specific to your property only.

Linea_Norway

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Re: Questions for single ladies who are homeowners
« Reply #22 on: November 29, 2016, 12:51:03 PM »

Agree Spartana, It's 2016. I hadn't realised people were still so conservative and believe women can't do things.

I hope it is not me you are referring to as conservative, because I don't think I am.
I only think you need to be quite a handy person m/v to maintain a house. And you'll an assistant m/v from time to time for an extra pair of hands.

I was referring to myself as not being very technical and handy. There is no way I could have done to the house what my DH and I did together, or at least not with the same quality. That is just me. i know of course that there are other women who are more handy than I am. Maybe in my opiginal post I was thinking too much from my own perspective.

The OP needs to decide for herself how handy she is or wants to become. But it is good to be aware of the amount of possible work.

oldladystache

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Re: Questions for single ladies who are homeowners
« Reply #23 on: November 29, 2016, 01:00:12 PM »
When I was about 65 I began to dislike my house. Soon after that I hated it. It had served me well for many years and it seemed worth it to do all the things that needed to be done.

Now I'm happy to live where I can just call maintenance if something goes wrong, and the lawn gets mowed and the roof gets repaired without any effort from me.


WootWoot

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Re: Questions for single ladies who are homeowners
« Reply #24 on: November 29, 2016, 01:13:42 PM »
Following.

Khaetra

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Re: Questions for single ladies who are homeowners
« Reply #25 on: November 29, 2016, 01:35:58 PM »
When I was about 65 I began to dislike my house. Soon after that I hated it. It had served me well for many years and it seemed worth it to do all the things that needed to be done.

Now I'm happy to live where I can just call maintenance if something goes wrong, and the lawn gets mowed and the roof gets repaired without any effort from me.

This is a very good point too.  I just turned 50 and while I can still do quite a number of things, I have to admit looking forward I'm not sure I want to be doing those things when I am 60 or older.

snacky

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Re: Questions for single ladies who are homeowners
« Reply #26 on: November 29, 2016, 10:51:47 PM »
I'm single, have kids and dogs and also foster dogs for a rescue. I own my place. I love it 98% of the time, and hate it the other 2%. That 2% is when sudden, expensive things happen. The basement floods or the furnace dies and it's -40 out or the plumbing under the kitchen sink fails spectacularly. These things are horrible and happen at regular intervals, because that's what happens when you own a house.

On the other hand, I have put down paving stones in most of my yard to reduce mowing/ make cleaning up after dogs easier, painted the porch bright purple because I like it, and more. I love owning this place and not giving a shit what a landlord might say. Also I couldn't have a huge number of pets plus foster dogs in a rental. In a condo I would have fewer freedoms, more noise from neighbours, and condo fees. No thanks.

In my situation the numbers work and it fits my needs. Plus I feel badass for owning it on my own.

AliEli

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Re: Questions for single ladies who are homeowners
« Reply #27 on: November 29, 2016, 11:23:43 PM »
Hello :)

I bought a home, and then an additional home, while I was single.  I had 2 dogs and no assistance to do it.  My advice is to make a decision based on which is the bigger thing for you.  If home ownership is very valuable to you as a person (I'm in this camp), then you will find a way around all of the upkeep stuff.  If you don't want to put time and effort into a house more than you want to own your own home, then it's better to put your money somewhere else and continue renting.

I don't think that you should be put off bc you are female and/or single - you might be surprised by how much you are able to do on your own, and how much you can learn with time and the opportunity to practice.  I did feel that the real estate agent didn't take me seriously when I was purchasing, so I got an older male to come with me when I was doing inspections prior to settlement.  But otherwise, I've not found any significant obstacles in home ownership that I couldn't overcome.  There are creative ways around things too - if you have multiple bedrooms, you could rent one out to someone who enjoys gardening, or you might find that your neighbours are willing to teach you what you don't already know :)

use2betrix

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Re: Questions for single ladies who are homeowners
« Reply #28 on: November 30, 2016, 04:54:31 AM »
It doesn't matter if you're a man or a woman when it comes to home repairs, just your skills. Lots of women can, and have done, many of the things on your list - even very heavy lifting tasks as there are always ways to do things to make it easier if you are doing something solo or aren't very strong. I did all my home repairs and improvements myself and they are generally easy to learn and do for most women (and men too). Of course even though I have the skills to do those things I still hate it ;-)! Its really not how I want to spend my free time so am looking forward to the day I get rid of the house and can move into a small apt. No more working on a house. YAY!

Agree Spartana, It's 2016. I hadn't realised people were still so conservative and believe women can't do things. Heavy lifting is more physics than brute strength!


<retreating back to my feminist utopia now>

I couldn't agree more. In a day and age where women expect equal job opportunities and pay, I'm surprised to see a thread and responses like some of these.

My wife and I live full time in a fifth wheel, which arguably requires as much if not more maintenance than a house. At our last RV park we were required to do our own lawn care. My wife went to the store, bought a lawn mower, assembled it on her own, and mowed our grass herself. I didn't mow a single time (i work a ton, she stays at home)

We recently needed 6 new tires. She took our big heavy 3 ton floor jacks out of storage, and changed the tires out to go get replaced, 3 at a time. When she got back she used our impact to tighten them. We had a flat on our last move on the middle of an insanely busy interstate. A police officer got behind us and turned on his lights to slow traffic then got out to help. As my wife is gturning on our generator, pulling out the impact, air compressor, and floor jack, he joked that we were the fastest pit crew he's seen.

Before we move, she pulls our 100ish lb air compressor out of storage and checks and fills all the tires.

She re-caulks the roof when needed.

When we were up North she had no problem shoveling snow.

The list goes on. All this from my 5' 115 lb 23 year old wife.

Nowadays, damn near anything can be learned off the internet, and if it can't and you don't feel comfortable doing something, you can always pay someone that will. Men can't do everything either.

I think I read the question more like "single home ownership" than "single lady homeownership."  Even married now (and we both work a lot of hours) I am the one to re-tiled the front entry, shovels in winter, etc. etc.  But my husband does stuff too.  To me it is less about "can I do this as a lady?" and more about "can I do this on my own?" Houses come with a lot of work and the ability to split the labor with another person is valuable regardless of gender.

Ah, I read it as "single ladies," because that's what it said.. If gender wasn't part of the equation it wouldn't have been brought up.

chasesfish

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Re: Questions for single ladies who are homeowners
« Reply #29 on: November 30, 2016, 04:55:51 AM »
I'm not a single lady...but we're on house #4 we've owned and only 34.  I'm lucky that my wife has gotten VERY good at home repairs/renovations thanks to youtube.  She wears the toolbelt in the family.

House #1 was a townhouse with small yard.  We loved the house and it was about 15 years old when we bought it.

House #2 was a 16 year old, mass produced large house.  In general, stuff starts having issues in a house 12-20 years in then on-going maintenance.  It cost us a significant amount of money and we weren't that handy at fixing things ourselves.

Bought a small 1950's house that was only partially renovated and we got good at fixing stuff ourselves.  Didn't enjoy the experience then, but it was amazing life experience.

Now we own a 1950's house that was completely gutted/renovated in 2006 and was in an area where the lots are REALLY expensive, which meant anyone who lived here had the financial means to keep up with repairs and maintenance.   We went through 60-70 houses before we settled on one, including pulling out of one in due diligence because of the lack of maintenance we found.

All that being said - I would recommend doing one of two things:

1) Buy something new or almost new.  Don't go over 12 years old and it'll keep the maintenance down.

2) Buy a solidly built house that's post WW2, but be prepared and commit to learning home repairs/improvement.

Avoid anything before 1946.  The money pit of home ownership is owning a well-used house and not maintaining it or having to pay someone else to repair everything.

NinetyFour

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Re: Questions for single ladies who are homeowners
« Reply #30 on: November 30, 2016, 05:28:30 AM »
Following!  Single female homeowner here.

Playing with Fire UK

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Re: Questions for single ladies who are homeowners
« Reply #31 on: November 30, 2016, 06:04:09 AM »
I was a single lady home owner, and am pretty handy, agreeing with Spartana and Dreams and Discoveries that being female has very little impact on DIY (if you are operating the tools with your lady parts or man parts it's gone horribly wrong). However, there is a big difference between doing a big DIY project alone and with another person. If you have a handy friend this will solve a lot of the single person problems. I am of the tiny hand persuasion, finding work gloves that fit me properly is a bit of a chore. Costco (at least in the UK) do a great rubberised work glove that fits me well and makes everything else easier.

However, both my grandmother and good friend (early thirties) are female and not handy, and tend to scare easily from DIY projects. From this limited sample size I think they are more likely to get ripped off by handypeople than men are. It could also be that it is their personality or visible incompetence in the homeowner realm and not strictly gender that is the difference.

So if I was a single home owner who was going to be using tradespeople rather than doing it myself, I'd spend more time asking for recommendations from people I trusted and checking up on the internet how much something should cost and whether a secondary job actually needs doing.

Roots&Wings

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Re: Questions for single ladies who are homeowners
« Reply #32 on: November 30, 2016, 06:12:29 AM »
In your situation, unless you can work from home regularly, the commute alone would not be worth it for me for the house.

thedayisbrave

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Re: Questions for single ladies who are homeowners
« Reply #33 on: November 30, 2016, 07:40:47 AM »
Yes! I have found my people :)

Single girl homeowner here.  I have a townhome so exterior maintenance is outsourced to the HOA/landscapers.  I just bought this place, but have owned properties since I was 21. 

Huge +1 to "have emergency cash".  That has saved my butt numerous times.  Even though I have experience in this area, I still underestimated the costs of my current place.  It wasn't in bad shape before but just not updated - old smelly carpet, faded paint etc.  So I paid a guy to pull the carpet out and replace with Pergo (they look great).  Painted myself which took a while but made myself paint a little bit each night after work.

The hot water heater is in the pull-down attic and I'm terrified that one day I'll hear a big explosion and have water just gushing down and ruining my floors and all my stuff.. so I'm replacing it with a tankless water heater which is another $4K.  I didn't have that much budgeted honestly, since the upgrades took up most of my money.  Thankfully work has been good this year and I got another client under contract that I didn't think was buying until next year, so the cash flow next month will go toward the hot water heater (yay adulting).

Before I bought, I'd been living in a condo in a college area with 2 other college aged roomies.  I'm 26 so not that far off, but I was ready for my own place, and I'm a homebody too.  NOTHING and I mean NOTHING beats the feeling of waking up in your own house that is decorated to your tastes, walking downstairs in your PJs, and feeling so at home.  I love this house and will be sad when I sell it, but hopefully that won't happen anytime soon.

I debated for a while between buying a place of my own (the others were investment properties I lived in) or waiting until I had an SO before making a big decision like housing.  However I am happily single and don't know when that will happen (most guys I've dated have been absolute duds so haven't even gotten close to talking about my future with a dude) so I decided to do what was right for ME.

All in all I'm happy with my decision.  I'm extremely fortunate that I make enough money to outsource anything I don't want to do.  Since I have a fenced yard (it was a non negotiable since I do want my own dog in the future), I picked up dog-sitting as a side hustle and that's actually lined my pockets pretty well (it was great timing with the holidays and I've been booked ever since I moved in).

It's such a personal decision though.  Having a house is a lot of work.  If that doesn't seem like a big hassle to you, it may be worth it.  It's certainly been worth it for me.

Dicey

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Re: Questions for single ladies who are homeowners
« Reply #34 on: November 30, 2016, 08:35:28 AM »
I live in a HCOLA, am a homeowner and was single until I was 54. I was always employed, but never a super-high wage earner. I was frugal before Mustachianism was invented (Thanks, Pete!). I had cancer in my early twenties and owning my own home was a key bucket list item. Post-cancer, it represented stability and security. I was determined to achieve the goal and live the dream, even without a partner. From ages 30-54, I owned 1 condo, 1 townhouse and 2 single family homes. All of that is just to illustrate that even though I'm married now, (Who'da thunk? Certainly not me after all those single years and frogs kissed.) my thinking was a lot like yours and I have the chops to impart the hard-earned, been-there-done-that wisdom I'm about to share.
 
First, I am envious of your low housing costs, well done! However, your post is missing some key data points.
- Do you wish to FIRE?
- If so, how close to the goal are you?
- Do you enjoy your job and are you well compensated?
- Does your job require you to take work home with you or do you leave it all behind at the end of a clearly defined workday?

Depending on your answers, I'd propose you do something completely different. Stay put. Save your ass off. Really, really, save so you can FIRE asap. Then do all the things you want to do.

Once all of your time is deliciously your own and your finances are squared away, you can do All.The.Things. Most of what you want to do is pretty complementary.  Bigger house, space/time to foster children+pets+gardens are all good pursuits for a FIRE single gal (or anyone), provided they don't have the burden of answering to an employer. Instead of doing things in bits and pieces, you can have it all, just by adjusting the sequence.

Would you rather have it all, or struggle to tick all the boxes? I think that's the real question. Answer that and you'll know what to do next.
« Last Edit: November 30, 2016, 10:02:52 PM by Diane C »

FLBiker

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Re: Questions for single ladies who are homeowners
« Reply #35 on: November 30, 2016, 08:38:56 AM »
I'm a man, but I personally wouldn't buy a house if I was single.  We bought our first house when we started trying to have kids.  If it was just me, I'd absolutely live in a condo or apartment.  For me, it comes down to what I'd like to do in my free time.  If you like projects / DIY, having a house is good.  Otherwise (in my experience) it can be a pain.

calimom

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Re: Questions for single ladies who are homeowners
« Reply #36 on: November 30, 2016, 07:04:25 PM »
I bought a house as a 31 year old widowed single mom 9 years ago, and very happy I did. I am not by nature a handy or mechanical person, but have learned a lot in the past few years. Youtube and friendly hardware store workers are your best friends here.

The good: Building equity, tax deduction, having a garden, having a place for a swing set, treehouse, dog to run. Painting murals for my kids' rooms, chalkboard paint in the playroom. There are lots of things you can do in your own house you simply can't do in a rental.

The not-so-good: Septic tank repair. New roof. Driveway washing out in the first big winter storm. All of those were suddenly my problem alone and required some hefty check writing.

But I got to like the idea of owning property and invested with relatives in a rental duplex and bought on my own a warehouse condo, along with two houses that were flipped.

jennifers

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Re: Questions for single ladies who are homeowners
« Reply #37 on: December 01, 2016, 09:04:10 PM »
Hey All. Just an update- I applied for a mortgage yesterday.  Haven't heard back from the loan officer yet.

To the person who asked, I'm not looking to F.I.R.E. soon.  I like my job and working in general a lot.  I do try to live very frugally though (I donate a lot of money to charity).

Also, I wasn't trying to be sexist when creating this thread. I work in the computer/IT field and I know very well how woman are treated differently in traditionally male-dominated areas. Just wanted some women's perspectives on the matter but not trying to bar any men from chiming in.

snacky

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Re: Questions for single ladies who are homeowners
« Reply #38 on: December 01, 2016, 09:51:34 PM »
There are differences because of gender.  I fired a real estate agent and have to be picky with hired tradespeople because many of them refuse to take me seriously or try to rip me off.

As well, many women weren't taught house repair and maintenance stuff as kids. I was taught to sew and clean things, but never to unclog a drain or patch drywall. I've learned, but it was daunting and frustrating.

Gender makes a difference.

letired

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Re: Questions for single ladies who are homeowners
« Reply #39 on: December 01, 2016, 10:14:52 PM »

I think I read the question more like "single home ownership" than "single lady homeownership."  Even married now (and we both work a lot of hours) I am the one to re-tiled the front entry, shovels in winter, etc. etc.  But my husband does stuff too.  To me it is less about "can I do this as a lady?" and more about "can I do this on my own?" Houses come with a lot of work and the ability to split the labor with another person is valuable regardless of gender.

This is pretty much how its working out for me. The most annoying part is  the 'single' part of not having someone else around, either to help lift, make the thing go faster, or just offload some of the decision-making. If you are getting into something that is going to need work, having handy friends is very .... handy. I redid most of the flooring DIY style, and the help from friends, especially in the rush before my roommate was moving in was a huge help, both to speed the project and to bring knowledge and experience that I didn't have.

dess1313

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Re: Questions for single ladies who are homeowners
« Reply #40 on: December 01, 2016, 10:35:33 PM »
First step for me would be to calculate the added costs of buying a home as a single owner, female or not.  I am currently in the same boat as you, and female as well.  do you have friends who live in the area you can ask about utilities costs, and such?  Heat and electricity costs are likely going to be higher.  Depending on the way the condo is set up some can be very heat/AC efficient. 

You also have to consider the higher driving costs, plus wear and tear.  Have you ever lived that far away from work before?

For me, the house taxes here are much higher than in my condo.  The difference is canceled out though when you consider my condo fees are equal to the difference in the taxes.  So its something to consider, but not a deal breaker

Are you willing to do a little work yourself?  Would you paint a room?  or do you want to never have to touch anything?  Are you at all handy?

I bought a fixer uper of a condo, and learned a lot.  I changed lots of things and learned lots of new skills.  i have fixed drywall, painted, laid laminate flooring etc etc.  But i got a cheap place and didnt't want to pay someone else to do all the work.  But that's me

Things to consider are, even if you get a ready to move in home, you should look at building a house emergency fun, and a maintenance fund.  Shingles wear out over time.  appliances break.  weird sh*t happens.  You might not see it as much now being in a condo, but that's what part of your dues will go towards.  You should dedicate a small portion to that monthly.  Then when a furnace dies, you're not stressed because you have your house emerg fund

If you want freedom, condo's are not so much the way to go.  The one you are in sounds tiny. 

Repair people can be good or bad.  If you ever need something repaired, ask for referals from neighbors.  you can often find good quality people that have good reputations.  Otherwise always get 2 or 3 quotes and don't let them push you around.  if anyone you know is handy, have them come with you when looking at serious houses, and see if they notice anything bad showing

Lawn services are easy to find, and often there are neighborhood kids who are looking for cash and will cut lawns.  Snow blowers are also cheap, and or services can be hired

Linea_Norway

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Re: Questions for single ladies who are homeowners
« Reply #41 on: December 02, 2016, 01:54:20 AM »
There are differences because of gender.  I fired a real estate agent and have to be picky with hired tradespeople because many of them refuse to take me seriously or try to rip me off.

As well, many women weren't taught house repair and maintenance stuff as kids. I was taught to sew and clean things, but never to unclog a drain or patch drywall. I've learned, but it was daunting and frustrating.

Gender makes a difference.

Also in average body strength, although there are some women who are stronger than some man.

I have also experienced an electrician tried to rip me off by sending a bill twice as high as agreed on. Luckily I had the agreements well documents in several e-mails. I am not sure if it is only gender. They might have tried with elderly people as well.

dess1313

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Re: Questions for single ladies who are homeowners
« Reply #42 on: December 02, 2016, 11:34:31 AM »
A lot of things come down to either brawn or brains.  I have moved entire rooms of furniture by myself.  How?  yes i am female and strong but not strong enough to lift a 200lb dresser all by myself.  Instead i used leverage to put sliders under the feet, and let physics win.  Brain wins over brawn most days. 

There are a million and one videos on youtube about how to paint.  how to replace a toilet or taps.  how to troubleshoot appliances.  Men, women, doesn't matter who does it.  as long as you do it with a little forethought and are willing to learn or take directions from others who do know.  Have a handy friend?  invite them over to teach you the basics, give em some pizza and beer then use your new knowledge to repeat what they did.

I have some friends who wouldn't want to ever use a power tool.  great for them.  Me?  Bring it on!  I grew up on a farm, so going into my home ownership i knew a lot of basics already.  But i still learned lots as i went.  I find a lot of it is about your attitude, and if you are willing to learn and try new things.

One other thing i will mention for the possible home owners on here is to not pick too old a house.  Here there is a variety from houses built in 1900 to 2015.  There can be a few problems with older houses. 
1.wiring is often old and may even be knob and tooth which is illegal here.  often in houses before 1950ish.  VERY expensive to remove, and requires experts to do so.
2. Insulation improved a lot around 1560-1980 and houses tend to be much warmer and better insulated here.  its a big deal when dealing with -40C/-40F winters
3.Watch out for freshly renovated basements.  It can be a sign there was a leak or flood that's just been repaired.  I actually prefer the old 1980's basements because i know the house with shag carpets in the basement has not flooded or been mouldy or damp in YEARS then

badasswizard

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Re: Questions for single ladies who are homeowners
« Reply #43 on: December 07, 2016, 08:01:42 PM »
Do you like doing house projects? Then buy a house and use the University of Youtube to educate yourself! Stores like Home Depot also have pretty good classes on specific topics (free). Plenty of men aren't handy either--you can definitely learn the skills for what you need to do. If you have to hire repair people ask if you can watch and ask questions while they work. If they say no, find one who says yes.

Preventative maintenance and pot of money for sudden huge expenses are really important-see my washer story below.

If you don't like doing house projects, and don't want to pay someone to do them, then I recommend sticking with renting.

From my personal experience, it feels great to complete projects by myself and I have learned a lot about the house and become more handy from doing it. I just replaced a tile in my kitchen floor that had been broken since I bought my house and it felt awesome to complete the project and blend my tile floor to wood floor with a nice transition molding. Every time I walk on that tile (20 times a day at least) I think about how great it is that I fixed it all by myself. Great ego boost.

Don't underestimate the power of a work party with friends or relatives. Just because you're single doesn't mean you have to do it alone. I had several work parties for removing carpet and staining/sanding my deck where I provided food, booze, and tools and we got a lot done. Maybe save the drinking for after the work is done!

Here are some projects I've done myself since buying a house ~1.5 years ago:
One thing to note is I did not do them all at once! For your sanity, don't expect too much work out of yourself in one day.

+tore out disgusting wall-to-wall carpet and removed 100,000 carpet tacks (with friends)-I did pay a contractor to install new flooring because it was 1000+ square feet, but you can do it yourself if you want to spend the time, not the money
+demolition of a bathroom before renovation-removed sink, toilet, creepy linoleum and the rotten part of the subfloor before contractors renovated; replaced underfloor insulation after renovation. I learned a lot about how bathrooms work  with a low level of risk for screwing up since it was all going to be replaced
+painted the entire inside of the house including trim (with my mom)
+repaired floor tiles
+sanded and refinished back deck (power tools are fun! this was a work party)
+replaced light fixtures
+installed programmable thermostat (easy!)
+garden fencing and landscaping
+SURPRISE! Washer decided to catch fire which resulted in a super-fun weekend of bailing the water out of the washer, using a hand truck and levers to move dead washer/dryer away from wall so I could remove old cabinets, paint and fix holes and the burned wall. I did it with my mom for moral support. Hired a plumber to fix an issue discovered with the water heater and to update washer hoses. When the new appliances were installed, they couldn't use the existing dryer venting. My mom and I rerouted the dryer vent with all new material because the old one was a fire hazard. I spent $2000 in a weekend for supplies, plumber, and the appliances and didn't bat an eye because of my house pot of money. My mom and I had never done any of this before, except painting. It was so BADASS. I went back to work and told my story and everyone there freaked out about the unexpected expense aspect and shared stories of their money woes and having to hire contractors to fix everything. If you're living paycheck to paycheck everything is an emergency.

YOU CAN DO IT IF YOU WANT TO!


RunningWithScissors

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Re: Questions for single ladies who are homeowners
« Reply #44 on: December 09, 2016, 10:26:14 AM »
Lots of good advice here.  I bought my first house as a young (28) single gal and I remember how scary it seemed.  The mortgage seemed huge at the time although in retrospect it was actually very manageable (I'm just leery of any debt as my industry is prone to economic cycles).  Keep in mind this was back in 1997, but my house cost just over $110K, and I put down a 25% down payment.  Before moving in, I renovated the main floor and finished the rest of the house over the next 10 years doing it mostly myself with help from boyfriends and family.  Because I bought the house at a bargain price due to its dated cosmetic condition, did most of the work myself, and benefited from getting into the market before a huge upswing, I walked away 15 years later with $250K in gained equity.  Disclaimer:  most home owners don't account for all the costs of upkeep, repairs, property taxes etc and just measure house value.  Oh, and when I had a live-in boyfriend, I made it very clear that he was not entitled to half of my property after 6 months per local common-law marriage legislation.  Put that down on paper, if necessary.

If I were entering the market now however, I'd probably just stick with renting.  Most of Canada seems to be in a housing bubble and we're not likely to see those types of gains again.  The 'Millennial Revolution' blog has a good post on comparing advantages of renting + investing to home ownership - it's well worth a read.

What I didn't know when I bought?  Well, repairs and maintenance are a never-ending money suck.  Being handy and not afraid of getting my hands dirty helped, but there's always something that needs fixing.  Plus, with a house you may find yourself entertaining more, which leads to buying more stuff and even Keeping-Up-With-The-Joneses-itis.  Also, more space = room for more stuff.


cheddarpie

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Re: Questions for single ladies who are homeowners
« Reply #45 on: December 09, 2016, 02:33:21 PM »
I'm a single lady, bought my house when I was 33. I agree with what others have said that it is both harder and easier than I imagined, but overall I couldn't be happier with the decision. (It helps that I live in an insane real estate market, and I wouldn't be able to afford the same house now, five years later...)

Best things:
 - Feeling strong and competent and independent and secure
 - I will never get evicted
 - It's upped my Mustachianism about 4,000%
 - Learning new skills all the time, from painting to installing light fixtures to basic refrigerator repair on YouTube
 - Freedom to do whatever I want, or not do whatever I want
 - If my dog destroys something, I am annoyed but not worried about what the landlord will say
 - Paying off my mortgage as fast as possible with rental income from my roommate and tenants in basement apartment, knowing even if I lose my job or all hell breaks lose I will always have a place to live, with enough space to offer a temporary home to friends or family in need
 - I take better care than I ever did in a rental (and I thought I was a pretty good tenant)
 - Having a garden and a beautiful yard with abundant fruit and vegetables
 - Providing regular work (albeit small) to my monthly landscaper and cleaning lady -- I was surprised how satisfying this is
 - Neighbors can be wonderful, owning in a community is a very different vibe from renting, folks are more welcoming
 - Building camaraderie with fellow homeowner friends. The first few years, about 10 of us (about half of us single ladies) had a home improvement co-op (we called it HICO) where each month we would spend a day at another person's house doing big projects. This makes the individual work load much easier and is a fun chance to get a lot of work done, learn new skills, and have fun bonding.
 - If shit gets crazy and I need to bail on my life and move to Panama, my house will be my golden parachute


Worst things:
 - Paying mortgage interest to the bank feels like a waste
 - Lack of flexibility to pick up and move on a moment's notice
 - Expenses that pop up everywhere
 - It's negated my Mustachianism about 2000%
 - Caring about tangible/material things much more than I ever did before, inexplicably
 - Broken pipes in the middle of winter, emergency plumbing calls
 - Always responsible -- to tenants, guests, city, etc. There's always a little bit of worry when going out of town.
 - So much stuff. I love my home, but I hate that I own so many THINGS.
 - No landlord to call to fix things when they break.
 - Neighbors can be difficult
 - Upkeep is hard, and I like to be lazy sometimes. A lot of things just don't get done.
 - Project burnout
 - There is always more to do or "improve" -- contentment is fleeting
 - Regular yard maintenance/mowing -- I've outsourced this, so now it's not so bad. But to do it myself is an annoying time suck and kills my back.
 - So much to clean. I've also outsourced this with a monthly cleaning lady, who's wonderful, but it's still a lot of day to day upkeep.

Good luck! Let us know what you end up doing ...
« Last Edit: December 09, 2016, 02:52:17 PM by cheddarpie »