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Should You Keep the House in Your Missouri Divorce?

Fighting to keep the house must be one of the biggest and most routine mistakes clients make in a divorce. It’s the house the kids have always lived in. It’s the house you are familiar with. It’s in the right neighborhood. You don’t think it’s a good time to sell. It needs too many repairs. I’ve heard all the excuses and here is my argument about why you should consider selling that house in your divorce.

  1. The house is probably too big for you. That means if you keep the house you are overpaying on utilities, real estate taxes, and insurance that you wouldn’t be paying if you moved to a smaller home or just rented. You are no longer sharing expenses with someone so you need to consider whether you can afford to pay all the expenses associated with homeownership yourself. Are you also willing to be solely responsible for all repairs?
  2. Make him/her share in the real estate commission of selling. If you don’t sell the house now, then the full market value without real estate commissions being deducted is what will go on your side of the ledger in the divorce settlement. If you plan to sell the house in the next 2-3 years then you’ve really made a mistake because you alone are bearing 100% of the real estate commission costs when they could have been shared had you struck a deal to sell the house as part of the divorce.
  3. You may not be able to refinance the mortgage and if you do you will barely be able to afford it. In order to keep the home, you will need to refinance the home mortgage in your name. Have you talked to your lender? Can you do it? If you do, will it be sustainable over time? Or will you be strapped financially with making house payments and wish you had a smaller house because you find that you are now more social post-divorce and not home as often?
  4. Change is happening anyway. As you divorce, you will begin to make new dreams for yourself and for your children. The house will be part of your old dreams. Kids are resilient and so long as you give them love and attention they will adjust to living anywhere; so long as they are with you. Sometimes selling the house is the thing that you need to do in order to force yourself into new dreams for your life.

Selling the house isn’t best for everyone so if you have questions about what might be right for you please contact us—we can help.