9 Things to Consider Before Buying a Home Post-Divorce

Buying a home after divorce can be a little more complicated than it was before or during marriage.

Where are you in the divorce process?

This might be one of the most important questions. If you’re still legally married and working your way through the divorce process, it might be a bad idea to buy. Depending on your state’s laws, buying a home before you’re officially divorce may make that home community property and thus give your soon-to-be ex a claim to your new home.

Are you still named on the family home’s mortgage?

If your name is still on the mortgage from your marital home, a new lender may need to consider that loan as one of your debts. Even if your ex has agreed to take on those payments, the lender may need a court order that says that before they’ll be able to exclude that loan from your debts.

What’s your income look like?

There can be a huge difference between the mortgage you can get as one-half of a couple and the one you can get when you’re a single earner on your own. It would be a good idea to take a good hard look at your income and crunch some numbers to see what kind of mortgage you might be able to get before you start saving dream homes for sale on a Pinterest board.

Can you afford to buy without including child or spousal support?

While you may have a court order that says your ex needs to pay child or spousal support, getting that enforced if they choose not to pay or run into financial difficulty can be very hard. So when it comes time to buy a new home, you should make sure you can afford it without including child and spousal support payments. You don’t want to end up drowning because your ex doesn’t live up to their financial responsibilities.

Photo by Morning Brew on Unsplash

What does your credit look like?

Usually in a divorce, joint credit card and bank accounts are closed out. Unfortunately, the closing of joint credit cards can cause your credit score to take a hit — sometimes a pretty significant one. And if your credit score dropped, that could have a huge impact on a potential mortgage. You might have a higher interest rate or be declined altogether.

What kind of assets do you have?

Ideally, you’ve got an emergency fund, a retirement account, and some extra savings on top of that. If you want to buy a house, you’ve got money for a down payment as well. You don’t want to close out a retirement account or cash out investments just to buy a house if you can avoid it — you shouldn’t spend your future funds on the present moment.

What debts did you inherit in the divorce?

Some things, like student loans, will stick with the person they belong to. But others, like the mortgage, car payments, and credit card bills, are often considered marital debt and end up getting divided between the two spouses. Before you start planning on your new home purchase, it’s a good idea to sit down and evaluate exactly which debts you got in the divorce, as well as what other debts you’ll have going forward.

Can you afford new appliances, furniture, etc. when buying?

Debts aren’t the only thing that get split in a divorce. You usually also have to split the furniture, pots and pans, and all the other things that make up a home. And when you move into a new home, you might find that it doesn’t even come with appliances. So you need to know if you can afford to buy all the things you’d need to get that new house in living shape.

Photo by Tierra Mallorca on Unsplash

Are you sure you want to make that commitment?

Buying a home might seem like a natural step after divorce. You owned one before, you should own one again. But do you really want to make that commitment? There are several aspects to consider here. Aside from being responsible for all repairs and problems when you own, there’s also the fact that you’re locked in unless or until you can sell.

Don’t get ahead of yourself

After a divorce, it’s understandable that you want to return to a sense of stability as quickly as possible for both yourself and your kids. Buying a house naturally seems like one of the best ways to do that. But you need to make sure you’re not getting ahead of yourself.

Single Mom Coach | Meditation Teacher | Relationship Writer | www.mindfulsinglemom.com | Newsletter: http://mindfulsinglemom.com/subscribe

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