- The Washington Times - Friday, June 9, 2000

Single buyers are not limited to the condo market just because they are buying alone.
Many buyers believe they must have a huge salary, have perfect credit and save for a 20 percent down payment. In the old days back when I was in grade school this was the case.
There's something crazy about old business myths: They won't die gracefully. They linger, deluding everyone around them and costing people money. Never was this more true than with real estate. Many of the traditional methods of buying a home remain. But new methods are helping more renters become homeowners.
For instance, take the idea that only a spouse or a parent can help someone buy a house. Actually, any warm body with a good job and some credit can help another person buy a house.
The most common means of assistance is in the form of cash. Plenty of parents, trying desperately to cut the apron strings, will use their personal savings to do it. But if money isn't enough to satisfy the lender, they also could offer to co-sign the loan. This way, the children get into a house, begin building their own credit, and the parents can share in the equity.
Parents aren't the only co-signers available, however. Friends have bought property together, too. All a lender is looking for is a good loan application. Investors buy property with co-owners all the time.
Most single buyers usually don't consider purchasing a home using this strategy. (Single parents, living on a fixed income, may consider linking up with another single-parent family. Using this method of purchasing, both of them would increase their buying power, get back into the wealth-building game and at the same time get a housing partner to help with raising the children.)
Another way of purchasing a house with multiple buyers is soliciting help from the seller who is willing to remain on the loan and title when the house is sold to the purchaser.
I saw this strategy used once where two friends agreed to purchase their first home together. The loan application revealed, however, that one of the buyers' credit was so bad at the time that it would be a hindrance, rather than a help, for her to be placed on the loan.
Instead, the seller, who was moving across the country, agreed to co-sign with the buyer whose credit was good and remain on the title. Once the house was sold (about 10 years later), the original owner then shared in the profit.
As a single buyer, you don't have to go this road alone. Linking up with a second buyer though not a relative can help both of you get a house.
M. Anthony Carr is director of communications for the Realtor Media Center, a clearinghouse of real estate information for the Washington area. He can be reached at 703/207-3226 or by e-mail at [email protected] For D.C. area home sales data, check out www.nvar.com or www.gcaar.com.

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