When it comes to divorce and mortgages, many people struggle with figuring out how to wrap their heads around how they will afford a mortgage on a single income.
There's no question that divorce can be a rocky, stressful, or upsetting road to head down. It can also make navigating certain things, such as affording a mortgage independently, much more difficult. If you have gone through a divorce and are starting to work out the logistics of an existing mortgage or trying to secure a new one, you might be wondering if there's anything you can do to make the process easier, more successful, or easier to manage. The good news is that you absolutely can make it happen. What's key here is being prepared, informed, and proactive. The last thing you want or need is to add more stress to your life, right? Keep reading for four things you can do to make affording a mortgage on your own a reality.
Here's What You Need to Know About Divorce and Mortgage
1. Seek out Professional Guidance
When it comes to finances, you know how important it is to be informed and prepared. While there are some things you can manage independently, such as your budget, others require more guidance. Dealing with a mortgage is one of them.
Whether you're curious about mortgage refinance rates or where to begin because your ex-spouse bought you out of your home, you'll appreciate and benefit from their professional guidance throughout the entire process. This could also save you time and money, especially if you have a firm understanding of what's available.
Additionally, staying on top of your credit score will be a huge deciding factor when it comes to your mortgage, no matter your ultimate goal. While this might seem simple enough to do, don't forget that credit is extremely sensitive and can be negatively impacted easily.
For instance, if you and your ex-spouse had joint accounts, removing yourself if possible or staying involved in the accounts until they are totally dissolved will be critical in protecting your credit and building it. Even if you're in an amicable situation, this should still be part of your plan. Remember that taking control of your credit is one of the most important things you'll do, so don't think twice about establishing ownership and independence.
2. Know Your New Numbers
Once you decide to pursue a new mortgage, make sure you're familiar with your new financial situation before you dive in.
Adjusting to one income instead of two will undoubtedly take some time and will likely mean you qualify for a smaller mortgage as well if you remain the only borrower.
However, including all other sources of income such as child support and alimony will have bearing on your approval and allowance. Proof of these items will be required to be factored into the determination.
Just as with your credit score, knowledge is power and will serve you well here.
3. Have Official Documentation Available
While saying there is a long list of things to take care of when going through a divorce is an understatement, the necessity of completing all these things is essential. One huge piece to the puzzle is finalizing documentation of the process.
When trying to secure a new or revised mortgage, having a divorce decree to present is an important part. Wondering what one is? It's what allows you to move forward in life as an individual who is no longer tied to your ex-spouse once your divorce is finalized. Changing other important documents such as your driver's license or Social Security is also necessary.
4. Examine Your Habits and Lifestyle
As with all big changes, being able to adapt can make all the difference in your success. And with a divorce, it's no surprise if you're left feeling lost, overwhelmed, or scared of what the future might hold. But since life must go on, coming to terms with your new normal will be essential.
This might mean re-evaluating your spending and saving habits, or finding ways to consolidate current debt. This could also mean being realistic when it comes to making decisions about your home. Even if you are the one to stay, you might decide that it's too much to handle. Or, when you begin the house-hunting process, do your best to search within your means. Staying honest with yourself is always important, and it's especially important during and after a divorce.
Don't be afraid to reach out for help. If you have any questions about divorce and mortgage, contact a financial professional or realtor to give you insight and help you better understand the process.
While it might be hard at times to move on independently, keep in mind that it is entirely possible. It's done every day. Plenty of resources are available to make the process easier and less complicated, which will be invaluable as you work through this chapter of your life. Get yourself organized. Make a plan. And, most importantly, be confident in yourself.