Like most people, buying a home in Alaska might have been the largest financial and emotional investment you ever made. As a homeowner, you cared for your home and made every effort to preserve that initial investment. Considering all of this, the idea of saying goodbye to it during a divorce is probably devastating.
As a mom, you also need to take your children’s needs and well-being into account. Will leaving the house make their parents’ divorce even harder? If staying in the home would be best for you and your children, prioritizing your financial understanding of the situation is a great place to start.
Start with a professional valuation
Home values are not static and actually change quite often. Even if you recently had your home valued, it is still a good idea to work with a professional real estate appraiser to see if things have changed. You might be pleasantly surprised to learn that your home is worth less than you initially thought, which can help you get the best possible price.
Getting the best possible price is important as you will have to buy your soon-to-be ex-spouse out of his or her share of the home. The professional appraisal also doubles as a shield against arguments, too.
Move on to your budget
You will need to secure a mortgage in your own name, but you must be sure that you can afford the monthly costs. Depending on your situation, you might also need to seek out a lender who is willing to work with you. If you did not work during your marriage or earned significantly less than your partner, you may qualify for certain niche mortgages available to those with significant assets — such as your divorce settlement, but limited income.
There are more costs to homeownership than just the mortgage, though. Be sure to account for some of the following costs when looking at your budget:
- Homeowners’ insurance
- Real estate taxes
- Upkeep and maintenance
- Monthly utilities
- Homeowners’ association fees
Although every family is different, many women choose to prioritize keeping the family home for themselves and their children. This can be a great option for providing a sense of security for your children during a period of time when it might feel like there is none. However, it is still important to weigh the benefits of keeping the home versus what you might have to compromise on during property division.