Real Estate Considerations During the Divorce Process
They say relocating, divorce and death of a family member are the 3 most stressful events one can endure.
I’m not sure what order those fall in but when it does happen to you, there is little time to prepare. From a real estate perspective, divorce is the without question the most difficult. Not only the need to sell a home during a divorce, but the aftermath of buying a home as a single parent. This is why I educate my clients to try and prepare even before the divorce is final. Sometimes there may be some negotiating that can be done during the process to better prepare you for an eventual purchase of a new home.
When asked, “What should single parents consider when buying a new home after a divorce,” I always include the common mistakes, what to consider, how to better position themselves during the process and, if possible, how to prepare even before the divorce.
This simple outline will help get you started.
Prepare for a purchase before the divorce is final.
This is probably the most difficult. Depending on the relationship and level of conflict between the parents, it may be possible to structure the divorce in a manner that leaves both soon to be single parents a home of their own. I often hear, “I’ll just rent until I get back on my feet.” Completely fine and in some financial situations, that is all that can be done. However, explore the options of setting aside a down payment for your new home in the divorce. In other words, if one parent keeps an existing home, it seems fair to structure the finances in a way that helps the other parent get into a home soon after the legal dust has settled. Don’t underestimate the financial benefit of owning a home, especially as a single parent. You will need all the benefits you can get and most times once you start renting, it is difficult to get back into a home of your own.
Many single parents want to replicate their previous lifestyle, if nothing else for the children. In most situations this is simply not possible. Divorce is a very difficult process and the children are going to have tough times. Don’t make things worse by purchasing a home you can barely afford that may lead you having to sell it or not having extra funds to live and provide for your family. A small home is better than no home. Know your budget!
The children should be part of the process.
I have not personally been part of a divorce but I have worked with many clients and their children who have. Sometimes a new home, even if it is smaller, is a new adventure for your kids. The process of picking their rooms, paint colors, new neighbors and friends can be exciting. Make them feel like they have a say, you may just discover they have some pretty good suggestions.
Keep your commute time low.
A single parent will soon find out just how limited their time is. Having lost the support of the spouse can be a rude awakening. Don’t make things more difficulty by setting yourself up for failure by purchasing a home that increase your time in the car. All those doctor’s appointments, soccer games, gymnastics practices and recitals will add up. Your ex-spouse may be the best ex in the world, but prepare for little help.
One final bit of advice to leave you with is this, talk! Find the professional Realtor you trust and talk. Every question, problem and obstacle cannot be resolved at once. This is a process that needs to be discussed and planned out. A Realtor can help ease the stress of this process and hopefully make it a fun transition for you and your children.
Kreg Hall, owner of Hall Realty Group, has been awarded the Platinum Club, Customer Service Award, and is a two-time RE/MAX “Realtor of the Year.” With more than 20 years working with clients in the real estate and relocation process. Kreg’s goal is to provide knowledgeable representation and assist clients in making a complex process easier.
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