3 things you MUST consider before buying a new home after divorce
You and your soon to be ex-spouse have decided to sell the marital home. So what’s next? Like any big decisions made on the heels of a divorce, you want to proceed cautiously as you make choices about real estate. Should you buy a new house post-divorce? What about a condo? Are there any advantages to renting? As you make decisions about your next home, here are three important points to consider.
Buying a New Home After Divorce: Your Post-Divorce Budget
Of the utmost consideration is what you can afford to spend to purchase a new place. In the majority of cases, budgets need to be tightened post-divorce and the monies utilized to sustain one household will now stretch to maintaining two. Utilize the budget schedules you prepared in during your divorce proceedings and make changes to reflect new realities to better understand what you can spend on housing while still meeting monthly expenses. Make sure that the figure you decide takes into account those one-off big ticket expenses that come with home ownership – ie. a dying furnace, leaking shower etc.
If this seems overwhelming, consider renting an apartment for some time until you get into a routine and have some familiarity with what you need to meet expenses each month. If you have not worked in several years and obtaining a mortgage is an issue, renting for a few years will give you the opportunity to resume working and build credit without the extra hassles that come along with home ownership.
Location, location, location
Should I stay in town or uproot? Those with young children need to consider whether keeping them in the same school system is priority. If the marital residence was in a more costly town, you may want to explore having either you or your spouse remain in that town and the other head to a more affordable area. So long as one parent has an address in town, the children can continue to attend their current schools.
The other consideration is your custody arrangement and level of amicability with your ex. If there is a shared custody arrangement in place, logistically it may be best for both parents to remain in the same town. If there is tension in the relationship, choosing different communities in close proximity may be your best bet. It allows the children to easily go from parent to parent while giving each parent the ability to reconstruct their lives in separate neighborhoods and communities. [Be aware that custodial parents must obtain permission before moving far away from the non-custodial parent.]
House vs. Condo?
Another consideration is whether to buy a house or a condominium. While a house often affords you more indoor and outdoor space, the upkeep of both the actual house, the lawn, snow removal etc. are both time consuming and costly. A condo, on the other hand, provides a bit less privacy and outdoor space but the upkeep is significantly less. A condominium complex may also come with some perks such as a pool and/or gym which you and your children can enjoy without the cost of purchasing additional memberships.
Whatever you decide about buying a new home after divorce, remember that at the end of the day a house is nothing more than a physical structure. It is not a home. You and your children can and will create new routines, traditions and memories that will inevitably create a “home” wherever your journey takes you.
Have questions about what should happen to your house and real estate investments in divorce? We can help. Schedule an initial consultations with one of our highly experienced family law attorneys and get answers to your questions and a clear strategy for your future. Contact us today at 888-888-0919, or please click the green button below.