The single woman's guide to a home loan

Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Home alone — the single woman's guide to a home loan
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All your friends are buying houses with their husbands — so how can you secure a home loan on your own?

Women have been leading the mortgage hunt since last August, when 58 percent of those looking for a home loan were female, a Home Loan Hints survey found.

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Out of these leading ladies, you can bet that many don't need a partner to give them a leg up in paying off their mortgage.

So the question is — how do they do it?

The single's secrets
We often hear of "sexually transmitted debt", where women can be stuck paying off their partner's debts, but dealing with the whole thing alone can prove even harder. In most cases, having two incomes can boost your borrowing and repayment power, but singles tend to borrow less for smaller properties, which can ease the pressure of repayments.

With greater repayment power comes great bureaucracy. Couples on joint home loans will often need to discuss and reach agreements on decisions such as making extra repayments or refinancing a loan, because both signatures are typically needed. The single woman can be more agile in this case, and make adjustments to benefit her loan if and when she sees fit.

Levelling the playing field
Even if two people have better repayment power, this will be wasted if they don't have the right loan. At the time of writing, many Australians will be borrowing from lenders charging around 7.33 percent for a standard variable home loan.

Compared to this, more competitive lenders are charging from 6.79 percent to attract potential home owners. With a $300,000 loan over 25 years, these two rates make the difference of about $104 per month, and more than $31,000 over the life of the loan.

Related: Demand for fixed-rate home loans increasing

Single women need every advantage out there in the market, so comparing rates online regularly can help you refinance and keep your repayments at the lowest level possible while you live comfortably in your new home.

The tale of the single woman and her home loan has a happy ending for the daring, rather than the damsels in distress. The market may be easier for a combined income, but thousands of women are going at it alone and winning the race.

Michelle Hutchison is a consumer advocate at RateCity. RateCity is a privately owned company in partnership with ninemsn, publisher of the Australian Women's Weekly website. The above information is general only and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs.

Your say: Are you a single woman with a mortgage? How did you go about securing the best deal? Who did you turn to for advice?

Video: How to beat your credit card debt and get the best deal for your mortgage

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