Deciding to purchase a home is a significant decision, but so is deciding to keep one that you already own. It might not seem like anything that requires that much consideration, either. Like many women in Alabama who are going through a divorce, keeping the family home might simply feel like the right thing to do.
There are many good reasons for keeping a home, too, especially if you have children. Keeping the house is a good way to provide a sense of stability in their lives. Or maybe you initially chose the house for its proximity to your work, favorite outdoor areas or more. But to justify these good reasons, you have to be certain that you can afford the responsibility of owning a home.
Get an appraisal
It has probably been a while since you have had your house properly appraised. Maybe the last time was when you put in your offer to purchase it. Whether it has been years or maybe even just a handful of months, it is a good idea to bring in a professional real estate appraiser. He or she can help you determine the correct value of your home.
Knowing your home’s correct value is about more than just deciding whether you can afford a mortgage. Getting an appraisal can cut down on unnecessary fights between you and your ex over how much your home is worth. This does not mean that you will not have to deal with any conflict regarding the house, but there will be at least one less thing to potentially argue over.
Check your budget
Once you know your home’s correct value, you have to determine whether you can afford the monthly mortgage. However, there can be complicating factors. For example, if you can afford the mortgage but your primary sources of income are from child support and alimony, a lender might be hesitant to work with you. Luckily, some lenders offer niche products to people in this situation.
The mortgage is not the only thing to worry about, either. Utilities are a necessary monthly cost and, depending on the size of the home, could run quite high. You should also consider whether you can reasonably handle maintenance costs, taxes, insurance and more.
Consider your feelings
A house is a sizable investment, so you need to be sure that this is what you really want. Staying in a home you have come to love can be important, but you may also want to consider whether you would be happy creating new memories and traditions in a new home. If keeping your marital home is still your priority, you should consider turning to an expert for help.
Divorce is a complicated legal and emotional process. It is easy to make small mistakes that can lead to larger, unintended consequences. Whether you plan to keep the house, are fighting about custody or need help securing alimony, you need the right advocate on your side. An experienced attorney can provide the support and guidance you need during this difficult period of life.