Single mom- buying property

I'm a single parent  (co-parent with ex) to one young child and  am considering buying a condo/townhome. I neither want nor think I can afford a whole house by myself. I make a low 6 figure income and am about to sell the house which I co-owned with my ex and should have enough for a 15-20% down payment. I'm considering $500K to be my max in terms of purchasing. 

Honestly, if I could rent forever, I would, but the nagging thought that this is financially unwise for the long-term is a deterrant. I love not having to worry about maintenance issues, upkeep, remodeling, or any other of the sundry issues that go along with property ownership, and this is a big reason why I would want a condo/townhome instead of a SFH. I love the Bay Area, love my job, and plan on staying here for at least the next 20 years, climate control willing/knock on wood. Right now, where I am renting, I am close to work (San Leandro), and everything is convenient. I rent in a good school district (not San Leandro), and I know that buying would likely take my child away from that. Renting just seems so much more convenient, but I know that rents will continue to rise, and I just feel this enormous pressure to buy given that I have a good income and desire to stay in the area long-term.

Any single parents out there who have bought recently? How has your experience been, financially and mentally, being the sole owner? Appreciate any feedback regarding how owning affected your proximity to good school districts as well. My child has learning disabilities, and I wish to not take a chance with her school being "up and coming" vs rock solid.

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RE: Single mom- buying property ()

This is the best time to be a renter. Remember California voted in rent control.  That limits rent increases. With covid rents are currently 10 to 20% below market rate.  If you can get into a rental now do it so you can lock in the lower "covid" rate.  Once covid passes your rent will continue to be below market rate for 25 years if not more due to the rent increase caps.  For the next 25 - 30 years you will be paying well below fair market rental rates. 

RE: Single mom- buying property ()

Hi, I'm the OP. Thanks for this reassurance. The more I think about it, the more I lean toward not buying. Financially, logistically, and mentally, I feel like trying to buy as opposed to continuing to rent will lead to much more stress for me. Who knows what will happen in the next 20 years anyway? Anyway, thank you for this information. 

RE: Single mom- buying property ()

I think you are probably better off renting if you are in a rent controlled situation. The cost to rent is substantially lower than buying in the east bay. If you aren't in a rent controlled place, then it is probably better to buy assuming prices and rents will continue to increase as they have for the past 40 years.

Twenty years ago I was single (no kids) and couldn't afford to buy a place on my own. I teamed up with a friend and bought a multi-unit property as a tenancy in common. Years later we were able to condo convert. We both wound up marrying (other people), having children and moving to the suburbs. But to this day, that property purchase remains the best investment either of us ever made. Buying with a friend is challenging but if you both have good financial and people skills, it could be just the thing.