If you’re getting divorced, you may be interested in keeping your home. Traditionally, many couples sell their house because they need to divide their assets and it’s easier to split up the money that they make via the sale. But it is certainly possible to keep the home, potentially by purchasing your ex’s share and keeping it yourself.
That being said, there are some challenges associated with embracing this approach. It’s a big decision, and you need to consider it carefully.
Refinancing your mortgage
To begin with, if you’re buying your partner’s share of the home, you’ll probably have to refinance your mortgage along the way. Your ex won’t want to be potentially liable if you miss any payments in the future. If you refinance the mortgage to get their name off of the paperwork, then you’ll move forward as the sole owner. But there’s no guarantee that you will qualify for the same mortgage terms. Maybe you and your spouse applied for your original mortgage together, on two incomes. Are you still going to be able to get the terms you need on a single income? The home may also be worth much more now than it was when you bought it. Will that complicate getting the funding that you need to move forward?
Creating a new budget
Additionally, you’ll need to think about all of the costs of owning a home on your own. It’s often best to make a post-divorce budget to see what you can afford. This can keep you on track financially. After all, it is not just the mortgage that you will have to pay. Other costs include paying for utilities, like electricity or gas, paying for water and trash services from the city, paying property taxes every year, staying current on your home insurance policy and more. And that doesn’t even include the general costs of maintenance and upkeep that come with homeownership.
This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t keep your house. But you’ll just have to consider this opportunity carefully as you look into all of your legal options related to property division.