Investing in a home is one of the most important steps you can take to create a more secure financial future. But did you know that single women are at a disadvantage to single men when it comes to buying and selling homes? We’ll explore this housing gap, why it may exist, why it matters, and how we can close it.
What’s the women’s housing gap and why does it exist?
The difference in returns on homes between men and women is known as the women’s housing gap. A Yale study found that single women pay around 2 percent more than men when purchasing a house, yet sell it for about 2 percent less.
That’s a loss of $1,600 per year on average, varying depending on the cost of the house and additional factors. Additionally, there was no notable loss when women bought from and sold to other women. So why might the gap between single mena and single women exist?
Women may pay more for a house because of differences in their negotiation results and market timing. A recent study found that even when women ask for just as much or more than men, they still receive less. This suggests that if women want to achieve equal or better results, they must have better negotiation skills than their male counterparts.
The Yale study also found that single men had better market timing than single women on average, yielding them greater returns on their homes.
Why does the gap matter?
Because of the gap, women likely earn less than men through property investments, one of the most frequently mentioned ways to build wealth. The difference in returns also contributes to the gender wealth accumulation gap at retirement age, leaving women with less money to enjoy the rest of their lives and pay for medical bills.
This inequality reaches beyond property investments. Typically, when women face financial inequality, they can’t access the same opportunities as men. Women can work towards equity in the home buying arena by educating themselves on how to get the best value.
Tips to Improve Your Negotiation Outcomes
Many of the tips for how to improve your negotiation outcomes when buying a home can be boiled down to doing your research and accurately evaluating the property. You should do research on comparable properties, know your home buying rights and your loca discrimination laws, and learn more about the seller’s situation.
You can better determine the home’s value by paying for a home inspection (this is a must), looking beyond aesthetics, and looking at statistics such as unemployment rate, historic prices, and job and population growth. Exploring a variety of negotiation tactics that you can use depending on your research and house evaluation can also help you achieve a positive home buying experience — things like:
- Asking a seller to cover closing costs
- Using issues found in the inspection to leverage a better deal
- Bartering services if you have something of value to offer