Many people prefer to stay in their marital home after divorce. You’ve built a life there, maybe friends and family are nearby, it’s comfortable! However, in the long run, it may not be the best real estate decision that one can make.
For some, it may be feasible to stay in their marital home. However, for others it doesn’t make much financial or logistical sense to stay. It’s challenging to take a new lead on life, but it may be your best option. Below, we’ll look at the top 6 things you should keep in mind when deciding to stay (or not) in the marital home.
1. Determine if you can afford to keep the house
You will need to qualify for a new mortgage and be able to make the monthly payments which may be more than you’re paying now. Part of the equity in the home may be taken out when you refinance. It’s important to connect with a lender who is familiar with the divorce process, so it may be best to go with a Certified Divorce Lending Professional (CDLP) who are experts in this area.
It’s probably one of the most important pieces to consider: can you keep up with the mortgage payments without the help of an ex-spouse’s income to supplement as well? Make sure you’re in a financially stable place to take on this new expense.
2. Make a list of all the costs associated with keeping the house. Interior and exterior maintenance, real estate taxes, utilities, etc.
Coinciding with the above point, there are a lot of expenses associated with maintaining a house. One spouse may have taken over with the budgeting and the other might not be aware of just how many costs are required to keep the house up and running. It’s important to hash out all of the costs on a monthly basis that can occur, and leave a buffer for unexpected incurred expenses. Remember, if you decide to stay post-divorce, you will most likely be solely responsible for all closing fees, buyer’s inspection requests, etc. when you do eventually sell.
3. Adding Children to the Mix
If you have children, this process will be even more difficult. Depending on their age, you’ll need to determine if it’s best to remain in the home or get a fresh start somewhere else. Switching school districts or moving away from friends and family during this time might be disadvantageous to them in the future. However, only you will know what is the best decision for your family.
4. Create a team of divorce-related professionals who will work for you
Always consult your attorney for legal advice regarding property division, an accountant for tax implications, a CDLP for your financing needs, and a CDRE for your real estate goals. It is crucial to enlist the professional help of trusted individuals to help make the best decision for your financial future.
5. Decide whether it is best for you to stay in your home as part of a settlement agreement
Is it best for you and your former spouse to include the home as a part of the settlement agreement? Whether because of sentimental value or logistical purposes, it might be best for one to remain in the house rather than selling it during a divorce. If one party adamantly wishes to stay in the house, this can be a point of negotiation between both parties.
6. Document everything! You may need it later when filing taxes or dealing with other legal matters related to divorce proceedings
As always, remember to keep records of everything. Divorce is difficult and messy, but as time goes on it gets easier. What will not get easier is reliving this painful part of your life in search of a bill or legal agreement every time something comes up. Keep everything organized for easy access!
It’s a lot to digest. Oftentimes, people will stay in their marital homes and then realize that they in fact cannot afford to take on the mortgage payments and maintenance costs without their former spouse’s income. Or, they find out it’s not the best option for them when it comes to negotiations. That’s why it’s crucial to take the above steps and then decide what is the best option for you.
If you decide that staying in your marital home is not an option, there are professionals here to help you sell and find your new home. Leslie Glazier is one of Chicago’s top CDRE’s (Certified Divorce Real Estate Expert) who has helped hundreds of clients in their next stage of life. If you would like more detailed information from LGG’s divorce real estate E-book or set up a consult, get in touch today!