Tips for Divorced Women Looking to Buy a Home
Article by Brittany Fisher 8/17/2017 http://financiallywell.info/
Only about 20 percent of homebuyers in the U.S. are single women, making them an underrepresented minority. If you are in this percentage, don’t let the small number scare you. Like the air you breathe, home ownership is for everyone. This time around may be a little scarier, as you don’t have a spouse to turn to for help. Instead you have an ex, and not only are you without a home, but you have to face the pain of moving your stuff out from what was once your happy home. Use these tips to take some of the worry out of the home buying process, and soon, you’ll have those keys in hand.
Know What You Are Getting Into
When you bought a home with your ex, it is likely that the two of you split the cost, including the purchase price, mortgage, utilities, and insurance. Having that extra income was a nice cushion, but now that it’s back to just you it will take a little extra thought and planning to purchase your own home. The biggest home buying tip is to take a good, hard look at what you can actually afford. A first-time single female buyer spends an average of $135,000, while a repeat buyer spends $170,400. Don’t be fooled by the excitement of a purchase price that you can afford. Affordability should take into account the down payment, mortgage, taxes, insurance, and home maintenance. If you fail to consider these additional expenses, you could wind up being house rich but cash poor.
A good rule of thumb is to put down 20 percent for the mortgage to avoid the extra fee tacked on for private mortgage insurance, and have enough saved up to cover at least six months of expenses. Make sure you also have money saved up to cover any necessary repairs and costs. You’ll quickly learn that buying a home comes with both expected and unexpected costs such as moving expenses, utility deposits, and appliance purchases. Be sure to research your moving options and how much it will cost you.
Since you are buying a home alone, it is now more important than ever to have adequate insurance coverage including life, disability, and health care. If you haven’t already done so, establish a new beneficiary to receive the proceeds from your insurance policies so you don’t end up mistakenly benefitting your ex-spouse and leaving them the house you worked so hard for. If the divorce is not yet finalized and the proceedings are currently underway, you will have to wait until the divorce is finalized. If you don’t fall within the time frame and are in the clear, get to changing! Keep in mind that changing your will does not disinherit your spouse, as their beneficiary status supersedes your will. The status must be changed on each policy on which your spouse is listed.
If the thought of your ex inheriting your assets isn’t terrible enough, the thought of having to face them to retrieve your stuff might be, especially if the separation wasn’t amicable. Hiring movers will not only create a buffer between the two of you, but give you the assistance you need when it comes to lifting that heavy sofa and loveseat. However, before you start retrieving your things, make sure you know what you are actually entitled to take. All marital property other than real estate is personal property, which includes everything from investment accounts to your purple hair dryer. While personalty falls under personal property, if the property was bought with marital funds it is subject to division in a divorce. While you might have spent hours deciding what sofa
would go well with your living room décor, and even were the one to swipe the credit card, if it was purchased with joint funds you’ll have to wait for the proceedings to determine who gets it.
Buying a home on your own is one of the first steps in taking back your independence, but don’t let your new freedom cloud your judgment. Know what you are getting yourself into before you sign the dotted line, and protect yourself at all times.