If you’re thinking of becoming a new homeowner after divorce, you may find yourself a little bit overwhelmed. Even if you end it amicably with your spouse, going through a divorce isn’t easy. One of the most challenging aspects is trying to find a new place to live after moving out of the marital home. It can become even more difficult if you have children, pets, or other family members living with you.
But during this trying time, you don’t have to let the idea of finding a new home overwhelm you.
There are tips and tricks you can use to make the house-hunting process easier. Once you find a new place, it’s all about making it your own and starting the next chapter of your life. So, let’s take a look at some of those tips as you become a new homeowner and start afresh.
Helpful Tips If You’re a New Homeowner After Divorce
What to Look for When House Hunting
When you’re looking for a new place to live, does it help to have some basic knowledge about house history, repairs, and all the minutiae that goes with house hunting? Of course. But that doesn’t mean it’s necessary in order to find a place that will work for you.
If you’re starting from scratch on your house search, one way to make it easier on yourself is to make a pros and cons list for each home you’re interested in. Your list should be specific to your needs, but it could also cover things like:
- Distance from local schools
- Safety of the neighborhood
- Cost of other nearby homes
- Is the neighborhood quiet
Having a clear list will make it easier to weed through homes quickly.
Additionally, you’ll want to make sure any potential homes you’re interested in are safe to move into. There’s a lot of interest in “fixer-uppers” these days, as well as old farmhouses and cottages. They can be great if you have the time and resources to restore them to glory. But if they’ve been neglected for a while, they could contain harmful materials, like asbestos, in the walls or lead in the paint. If the home you’re interested in is very old, it’s best to get it tested for asbestos or any other dangerous substances that could be lingering in the air.
Finally, look at your budget. When you were married, you likely had two incomes to work with. Now, you’re going to have to focus on how to purchase and maintain a home on your single paycheck. Your budget should include possible problems and maintenance issues that could arise in the home because they do happen from time to time, and it can be draining if you’re not financially prepared.
Put in the Work
Speaking of home maintenance, you can make general upkeep easier on yourself by creating a checklist of things regular maintenance tasks and projects. Taking care of a house is a lot of work, but you don’t need to do everything all at once. Your home maintenance checklist should include things like:
- Changing HVAC filters
- Testing smoke detectors
- Deep cleaning
- Tuning up equipment and appliances
If you’re not sure what maintaining a home requires, you can talk to a local handyman, plumber, or HVAC technician, and they’ll likely give you some more ideas on how you can keep things in working condition all year long. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. After a divorce, it’s tempting to want to prove your strength and independence. But by asking for assistance in any way, you’re going to create a better situation for yourself and your family.
Make Your New House a Home
So, you’ve bought the house and you’re ready to put in the work to keep it up and running. Now comes the most important part — officially starting this next chapter of your life and turning that house into a home. If you have children, it’s especially important that they feel connected, comfortable, and safe in their new place. Remember, it’s a big adjustment for them, too.
If you’re concerned at all about safety, one of the best things you can do after you move into a new home is install a security system or even a doorbell camera that will keep you in the know about anything (or anyone) around your home. Knowing your house is safe can give you peace of mind to focus on other things.
Keeping traditions alive in your new home is also important. What were some of your favorite things to do in your marital home? Don’t be afraid to continue some of those activities with your kids. At the same time, it’s a great idea to create new traditions that they’ll remember for years to come, too. Whether that means baking cookies with them every night or putting a Christmas tree in the same spot every year, providing comfort and consistency can make this transition easier.
Nothing makes a home feel more complete than an animal. Adopting a dog is a great way to add more life to a new house and to give your children something to love and dote on. While it can be tempting to get a puppy, they can be a lot of work. After a stressful divorce, the idea of training a puppy might be a little overwhelming. Instead, consider a senior dog. Most senior dogs are already trained, mellow, and have a lot of love to give. Yes, they are nearing the ends of their lives and may need specialized care and pet insurance, but they are often the most doting of dogs.
Almost every aspect of a divorce is personal. That includes moving on after the process is over, too. It can be hard to leave the home you shared with your spouse, but instead of dwelling on your memories there, use this opportunity to start anew in a house of your own, and commit to making even better memories as you move forward on your journey.