News & Press: The Road Home Newsletter

AHA Salutes Women in America!

Friday, March 23, 2018  
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March 23, 2018

AHA Salutes Women in America!

March brings Women’s History Month in the US to recognize the contributions of women to events in history and contemporary times.  A proclamation by President Jimmy Carter in 1980 stated, in part, "From the first settlers who came to our shores, from the first American Indian families who befriended them, men and women have worked together to build this nation. Too often the women were unsung and sometimes their contributions went unnoticed. But the achievements, leadership, courage, strength and love of the women who built America was as vital as that of the men whose names we know so well.”

History is rich with contributions made by women over time – in fact, women are the mothers of all mankind.  And amazingly it has been less than one hundred years that women have been full citizens of the US by gaining the right to vote and the right to own property.

In spite of continuing inequalities in opportunities and compensation, women have made extraordinary strides in homeownership and other areas of accomplishment.  Representing slightly more than half of the US population, women now represent more than half of students entering college and more than half of college graduates.  In advanced degree careers like medicine and law, women now represent 48% of medical graduates and are approaching a majority of graduates in law school.

Nationally, single women now own homes at a rate of 1.03 times that of single men.  In 2016, single women represented 17% of new homebuyers, up from 15% in 2015, according to NAR (the National Association of Realtors).

At Your AHA, our mission is to protect and promote sustainable homeownership for allsegments of America and of course, this includes women.  We salute their progress in homeownership, whether single or as one of a couple.  But in spite of these significant gains, significant challenges remain:

Some Stunning Information about Poverty Levels (According to the U.S. Census Bureau)

  • More than 1 in 4 families with children under the age of 18 are headed by a single parent and more than 3 out of 4 single parent families are headed by a female
    •  In the U.S.
      • 29 percent of families headed by women with no husband present are below the poverty level
      • 39.2 percent of these households have children below 18 years
      • 43.9 percent have children under five
    •  In California
      • 27.9 percent single female households are living in poverty
      • 37.8 percent have children under 18 years
      • 40.6 have children under five

Help for women to turn their homeownership dreams into reality:

  1. The Veteran’s Administration (VA) offers mortgage guarantees with no down payment requirement and other assistance for women who are currently serving, are retired, are reservists, in the national guard or a surviving military spouse in active duty.
  2. First-time homebuyers can get loans from Lenders using the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), a division of HUD. The FHA insures loans, making it possible to get lower down payments as well as reduced closing costs. FHA loan down payments can be as low as 3.5 percent of the home price and often closing costs and other fees can be included into the loan amount.  These loans generally require at least two years of steady income with an employer, no recent bankruptcy or foreclosures and a minimum credit score of 620 or higher.
  3. Low income women have the option to speak with reputable real estate agents or mortgage brokers in their community. They may be able to provide information about local programs that support women’s homeownership by providing special financing options.  Home Investment Partnerships (HOME) is a program that provides down payment assistance to low-income women and families.

Tips for Female Homebuyers

  • Make sure your home payments fit into your budget; an emergency should not send you into a vicious circle of debts.
  • Compare renting and buying:  you might be surprised to see similar payment ranges.  It might make sense to buy.
  • Consider your future; find a home that see yourself living in through your old age.
  • Spend as much time looking for the “right” area as you do looking for the perfect property.  Things like commute time, quality of schools, the church of your choice being nearby, access to medical care or day care are a few things to consider as you chose the right community for you.
  • Always have enough savings in your account to get you through multiple home payments, to get you through tough situation like layoffs.
  • Research home warranties and understand if your home needs it or not; in most cases it is useful especially when the home needs major repairs.
  • If you have a particular type of home in mind, a condo, a townhome, a single-family home etc., stick to your plan and do not be swayed by other people’s opinions.
  • It is not wrong to buy a basic looking home, if it is a good value. Once you settle, you can take your time to decorate it as and when the budget allows.
  • Take a homeownership class: learn about preventing foreclosures, home inspections, etc.  Most areas have non-profit housing counseling agencies.

 

Spring has Sprung!

Whether you are into March Madness, spring break, the beginning of gardening season or upcoming Easter or Passover holidays, do not miss the savings opportunities at AHA Member Rewards – discounts, cash back and other special offers are not to be missed.