Renting vs. Buying: Searching for Post-Divorce Housing

  • After a divorce, choosing between renting and buying a house can be challenging.
  • You need to thoroughly understand your financial situation before making a decision.
  • Each come with their own positives and negatives.

When you are going through a divorce, it can feel like the one part of your life that kept you grounded is no longer there. You no longer have a spouse to rely on and the same type of family to come home to after a long day at the office. You may not necessarily have the home you once did either.

You may be sticking it out in your marital home after consulting with your family law attorney. You may have read the book, “The 10 Stupidest Mistakes Men Make When Facing Divorce,” by Cordell & Cordell Co-Founder and Principal Partner Joseph Cordell and decided to follow the advice that unless you were ordered to by a judge, you stay in the house so marital abandonment cannot be used against you.

That said, when the dust settles and your divorce decree is finalized, you will have to decide where to live. For some, they may have received the marital home in the divorce, but you may not necessarily be able to afford that much living space.

You may have to decide between buying or renting a new living space, which can be a difficult decision that requires a deep dive into your post-divorce financial situation. You need to understand what you can and cannot afford, what type of mortgages are available to you, and what the market is like for houses, apartments, and other types of living spaces.

Analyze your finances

In order to do that type of deep divorce that will offer clarity to your post-divorce finances, it may require you to seek the help of a financial advisor, who can help you navigate the tax implications of the divorce process and how you may be able to save money as you budget, save, and recover.

Having an idea of what your living expenses entail requires you to have a firm grip on what you may owe in alimony or child support per month. You may have to adjust other expenses in order to fit that responsibility into your monthly budget.

Once you figure out what you can afford per month to pay in rent, you can begin to look into mortgage rates and payments, if you feel that you can qualify for them. Deciding between renting and owning requires understanding the benefits of ownership.

Owning as an option

Owning a home can be advantageous. Along with greater privacy and the emotional aspects of homeownership, homes typically increase in value and build equity, according to the nonprofit financial organization, InCharge Debt Solutions. The interest and property tax portion of your mortgage also is tax deductible.

In order to buy a home, you need to be realistic about whether or not you can afford the upfront costs. Whether it is new furnishings or improvements that you would like to make on the home, not to mention the down payment and other transactional fees, buying a house can be pricey.

Factoring in any legal fees you may have, as well as your alimony and child support, you need to decide if this is financially feasible. Additionally, you need to make sure that whether you are renting or owning a home, you have room for your children. They need to think of your home as their home, just as much as they need to think of your co-parent’s home as their home.

Renting as an option

When it comes to renting a home, it often can be cheaper than owning the home. Depending on the market and the individual situation, utility costs may be a part of the overall package. It also allows you to remain flexible with your living situation. If you feel like the place that you are renting is not for you and your children, you can move once your lease is up.

With all of the change occurring in your life during the divorce experience, you can benefit from the transitional essence that renting can offer. It allows you the opportunity to think about what is next for you after the divorce process is over.

Whether you choose to buy a home, rent an apartment, or stay in your marital home, you have the option of deciding what your life looks like after your divorce. You get to make a home for yourself and your children, and as you move forward, you get to leave the challenges of transition and adjustment behind.

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