Despite lower pay, women handle credit more responsibly than men, on average, according to Experian, which reports that men have a 7 percent higher incidence of late mortgage payments and 4.3 percent more debt than women.
Heinze plans to stay in her house for the foreseeable future, but Cook considers her home part of a long-term investment strategy. Cook has a 30-year mortgage with the option to pay it off early with no penalty, so she says she plans to live in the house and pay it off in four to five years before renting it out and moving into "more of a permanent long-term place with ideally a husband, or a boyfriend or whatever happens."
For Heinze, solo homeownership carries a sense of pride. "[I'm] able to have a place that would be truly my own that I could decorate the way I wanted to," she says, "and have some sort of stability."