Buying a Home When You're Single: Part Two

Erin OsterhausNovember 11, 2022


Checkboxes of marital status

More and more people are deciding to buy a home on their own, without waiting until they’re partnered up or married to purchase a property. While there are certain steps you should take to ensure that you’re ready to buy a home when you’re single, paying the mortgage can be its own challenge.

In life, the only constant is change. So while you’ve ideally bought a house you can afford with just your own income, you might find yourself struggling at some point to make the monthly payments. Maybe you need help figuring out how to pay the mortgage note when you do pair up with someone, or perhaps you find your life partner and decide your solo home will work better as a rental property. No matter your particular situation, here are a few tips to help you comfortably pay for a home on your own.

Safeguard Your Income

As a single homeowner that relies on just one income to pay the monthly mortgage payment, it’s a good idea to take out some protection on that income. Without the cushion of a second salary in your household, it becomes even more important to ensure that the money you earn every month remains steady. If your employer offers disability insurance, make sure you know the terms of the company plan. Alternatively, if your employer doesn’t offer disability insurance, or the plan is very minimal, you might consider looking into more robust coverage. These plans provide replacement income should you become ill or experience an accident.

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Get a Roommate

If you’d like some additional security on top of a disability insurance plan, you might consider getting a roommate. There are many benefits to getting a roommate as a single homeowner, with added financial security and the ability to save money topping the list. With that in mind, there are several situations where you might decide a roommate is the best option to help pay for your home.

1. Low Emergency Savings

Before you buy a home, it’s recommended that you set aside enough money in an emergency fund to cover at least three to six months of expenses—including mortgage repayments. However, life doesn’t always go to plan, and you may find your emergency fund depleted before your financial emergency has passed. In cases like this, getting a roommate can be a great boon. By splitting your mortgage with a roommate, you can continue gaining equity in your home and get back on track financially.

2. Save Money for Other Goals

Even if you don’t find yourself in a difficult financial situation, getting a roommate can help you get ahead with other financial goals. By sharing costs with a roommate (or multiple roommates), your portion of the mortgage payment can shrink dramatically — and you can still reap the benefits of gaining equity in your home! And the money that you would have had to put toward that monthly payment can do work for you in other areas.

If one of your goals is to live debt-free, you can use the monthly savings to pay off any remaining student loans or outstanding credit card debt. Alternatively, you can choose to use that money to maximize your retirement savings, potentially allowing yourself the opportunity to retire a few years earlier than would have been possible without roommate(s).

3. Fast-track Repayment

Finally, if you’re one of those people who dream of owning their home outright, a roommate could be your ticket to living mortgage free in half the time it would take traditionally. As an added bonus, by paying off your mortgage ahead of time, you can potentially save thousands of dollars in interest payments.

For instance, if you take out a 30-year fixed mortgage loan for $240,000 at a 6.9% interest rate, your monthly mortgage payment would be approximately $1,600. If you paid the full mortgage monthly on your own, you would end up paying almost $330,000 in interest over the 30 year term. However, if a roommate paid you half the mortgage every month and you added that $800 on top of your regular $1,600 payment, you could save almost $210,000 in interest payments. As an added bonus, you’d be able to pay off your home 17 years faster!

Share Payments When No Longer Single

What if, after owning your home by yourself for a while, you find a partner and decide to get married? Your new spouse may want to be included on the mortgage for your home to have a sense of ownership, the two of you might decide to move to another area for professional or personal reasons, or perhaps the home doesn’t fit the needs of a growing family. Ensuring the home you bought while you were single can still serve you well even as part of a couple isn’t as difficult as you might think.

Add Your Partner to the Mortgage

If your spouse works or contributes to the household expenses, you’ll likely want them to help pay for the mortgage as well. Unfortunately, you can’t add your spouse to a mortgage loan you qualified for on your own, but you can refinance the mortgage under both your names. This would make them legally liable to repay the loan, just as you are.

Sell and Buy a Home Together

If refinancing seems too complicated and you’re ready to move anyway, you might consider selling the house you bought while you were single and using the proceeds toward a home you buy together with your spouse. This could be a great way to move up the property ladder while simultaneously finding a home that works for both your needs and any plans you may have for the future.

Keep as a Rental Property

Finally, if you’re lucky enough to be in a position where you can buy a separate home with your spouse without the need to sell the home you bought on your own, you might consider retaining it as a rental property. Renters can pay off the remaining mortgage balance, and once the loan is paid off you and your partner will have an investment property that provides you with income every month. Not everyone is ready or able to be a landlord, so consider this option carefully!

Feel Comfortable with Your Monthly Payments

A home is likely the most expensive single item you will ever purchase in your lifetime. Undertaking such a purchase on your own may feel overwhelming at times, but with these tips you can set yourself up for financial success now and into the future — no matter what changes life sends your way.

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Erin Osterhaus

Erin is a personal finance writer based in Austin, Texas. Her work has been featured on TechRepublic, Yahoo Small Business, and She’s been passionate about helping others manage their money since she successfully paid off $60,000 in student loans in four years. When she’s not writing, Erin loves reading, studying languages, and spending time with her family.