Women’s Homeownership Journey: Overcoming Financial Challenges and Achieving Property Ownership

While women have made significant progress in breaking the glass ceiling, achieving pay parity with their male counterparts remains an ongoing challenge. According to the Department of Statistics Malaysia’s 2021 report on Salaries and Wages, there is still an 8% variance in monthly wages earned between genders.

The persistence of such inequalities not only undervalues women’s contributions but also discourages their participation in the labor force. It ultimately reduces their purchasing power and their contribution to the nation’s gross domestic product. However, these challenges have not deterred women from pursuing homeownership.

With the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and the “Developing Malaysia Madani” initiative emphasizing gender equality and equity, there is hope for change on the horizon.

For women embarking on their maiden homebuying journey, here is a checklist to help establish a strong financial foundation:

1. Know Your Net Worth: As a woman relying on a single income, it’s crucial to demonstrate your net worth to qualify for a home loan. Create a spreadsheet to track your assets (e.g., cash in the bank, pension fund, investments) and liabilities (e.g., credit cards, loans). Your net worth is calculated by subtracting your liabilities from your assets.

2. Have a Savings Plan: Evaluate your lifestyle to determine how much you can afford for your property purchase. List essential expenditures, such as food, clothing, transportation, healthcare, utilities, and more. Assess if you can reduce spending on non-essential items to achieve a balance between spending and saving. Additionally, maintain emergency and retirement funds to ensure financial security.

3. Find the Right Property: Once you’ve determined your affordability, consider the type of property you wish to purchase, whether strata or landed. Safety and security should be top priorities for single women purchasing properties for personal use. Research property options, locations, growth potential, and engage a reputable real estate agent.

4. Prepare Upfront Costs: Apart from the down payment, be prepared for upfront costs like stamp duties and legal fees for sale and purchase agreements, loan agreements, and memorandum of transfer.

5. Update Your Credit Score: A strong credit history is essential for securing a home loan. Clean up your credit history to present yourself as a responsible borrower.

6. Shop Around for Financing Options and Incentives: Explore mortgage options and evaluate lenders that align with your needs. Consider government schemes and incentives like MyHome, PR1MA, and Housing Credit Guarantee Scheme (SJKP). The Employee Provident Fund (EPF) also allows withdrawals from Account 2 for housing financing.

Navigating the homeownership journey as a single woman may have its financial challenges, but with careful planning and the right strategies, it’s possible to achieve your property ownership goals.

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