Did you know that women’s buying power tops $2.4 trillion annually and that they control or influence 85 percent of all household purchases? For years, women have been recognized as the chief purchasing officers for their households and they still are the primary decision makers for household goods. But women also drive the big-ticket expenditures for themselves, their families and their businesses. For example, women drive the purchases of:
- 91% of new homes
- 80% of health care
- 93% food
- 65% new cars
- 93% over-the-counter medications
Have you ever had a light bulb moment that you thought could change your life? It actually feels like lightening striking you. That happened to me after I had been in real estate for a short time and again recently when I was trying to figure out how to take my business to the next level. The first time it happened after a very good girlfriend called me and reminded me of the “less than positive” real estate experience she had gone through when buying a home as a single woman. My friend actually had a homeowner say to her “Honey, do you think you can afford this house?” while seeing his home. Unfortunately, that was just one of many hurdles during her journey to finding her dream home. She had recently suffered great loses with the deaths of both parents and her divorce. Added to her worry, she had been diagnosed with cancer and that was the driving reason for her decision to purchase a home. My friend implored me that I “MUST” help single women buy or sell homes. That was the beginning of my journey to create Smart Women Buy Homes, a program for single women.
In my research, I found single women buy approximately one million homes a year. Between 2002 and 2003, women spent $550 billion buying homes. That dollar amount is expected to continue to rise according to a study done by Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing. This information combined with the current housing market and record low interest rates means more home buyers can purchase homes and attain more affordable mortgages. Jenay Bowen, a Senior Loan Officer with Service First Mortgage says, “We often talk about the PRICE of buying a home versus the COSTS of buying a home. Of course, price is a key component of the cost. The other key component is the interest rate of the mortgage. Just a small increase in interest rates can have a BIG impact on your monthly payment. For example, a $100,000 loan at a current interest rate of 4.75% for 30 years would equal a principle and interest payment of $521.65 a month. This exact same home with a $100,000 loan at 8% for 30 years would equal a principle and interest payment of $733.36 a month. This is a difference of over $200 a month just because of the higher interest rate. If you are looking to buy a home and are waiting to see what will happen with prices, remember interest rates will also impact your housing cost”.
So why are so many women buying homes now? Women are earning more money than ever before in our nation’s history. They are waiting longer to get married. Becoming more educated and financially stable has given single women the confidence to procure a home. Single women are now building their own financial nest egg, which includes home ownership. No longer do women feel like they need to settle down with a husband before they buy a home. Purchasing a home gives them a sense of security economically, and a place to live when they retire. Since women understand a good home investment brings equity, many of them are investing in a second home. Single females accounted for 13% of all second /vacation homebuyers in 2001/2003 according to the Realtors Profile.
With the number of women purchasing homes increasing, there is a real demand for experienced professionals to help navigate single women through the home buying process. InCharge Debt Solutions article “Single Women Are Buying Homes in Large Numbers”, points out that the biggest obstacles to single women are the lack of information about the home purchasing process, and understanding the dynamics of credit issues. This leaves many women feeling intimidated by the whole home buying process. Because the real estate market offers many challenges for a novice homebuyer, it is essential to find a real estate professional that understands the wants and needs of single women homebuyers. Single women can realize their dreams of home ownership through Smart Women Buy Homes, a program specifically designed to help women through the home buying process.
I wanted to take my business to the next level. Unsure of which direction to go, I attended the Chairman’s Circle with eWomenNetwork and lighting struck again! I began to understand that women are making buying decisions every day. Though these choices are not all as large a financial decision as purchasing a home, women still are looking for very definite things when making their purchasing decisions and I have the ability to facilitate this process through my business.
While working with women, I learned a lot about them and what they really want. Women want information. They want to know the basics of the product/service and then some. Every aspect of a product/service is important to women. The size, color, material, weight, look and feel, warranties, etc. They want to know it all so they can make an informed decision. Women want to be respected as savvy consumers; supported and educated during the sales process rather than have an advisor take the role of the know-it-all expert using acronyms and terminology they do not understand. Using pictures or showing women in a more visual way goes a long way towards helping them understand and feel more comfortable with buying decision. Going at a woman’s pace during negotiations, without rushing her to close the deal today, will serve all parties. Women generally take longer to make a buying decision, however, once satisfied with their purchase and experience with your business, women statistically are more loyal then their male counterparts, and more apt to go online and write a positive or negative review. Women want to work with someone they trust and respect.
With the knowledge I gained while working with these women, I saw a real need to replicate what Smart Women Buy Homes offered them. I launched Smart Women Buy, a service for women focusing on the consumer experience as well as the provider experience. We help women by providing them insights, clarity, direction, and resources for the products and services that they plan to purchase. In addition, we train and certify those who provide services to our Smart Women buyers. As a consumer, you can count on Smart Women Buy to give you information that is direct, no-nonsense and uninfluenced by advertising. And because there are no sales here, just good information to educate you in your purchasing process, you can make the right buying decision for you. We only align with providers who care about women consumers and treat them the same way “they” want to be treated because we understand that that is how Smart Women Buy.