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To keep or not keep the house

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sleepless34 posted 5/3/2014 17:56 PM

I thought for sure I was going to want to keep the house. I am going to meet with a "certified Divorce financial planner" as apparently they can tell you the value today vs 10 years out on the various assets you are splitting up. My L said that women always want to keep the house, and sometimes for emotional reasons vs financial reasons.

I want to keep it because I really like this house, want the kids to have the stability, like my neighbors, have a lot of equity so the mortgage is cheaper than renting a smaller place, and moving is a hassle.

There are some benefits to moving into a smaller place because I could cut down on maintanence and electric bills, and have fresh start in a new life. I am not so concerned about the last one, because I am the one that decorated, cleaned, loved, cared for our house and it has my mark all over it vs his, not a lot of demons for me at all.

Anyone know the pros and cons of trading 401K dollars to buy out house? Thanks

nekorb posted 5/3/2014 18:24 PM

I wanted to keep the house because my teenaged kids don't want to move. I consulted my accountant to make sure I could afford it and how much spousal support I would need to be able to afford it.

Donyou have an investment advisor you can talk with?

TrustedHer posted 5/3/2014 22:00 PM

Advice I heard that is in my focus right now goes like this: Own your house, don't let your house own you.

Which boils down to trying to let go of the emotional part, and look at the long-term dollars. What is the upkeep and maintenance cost? Energy efficiency? Resale value? Is the neighborhood stable, or improving, or declining? Major repairs looming?

Right now, 401k dollars look distant, but when you get closer to retirement age, will you have enough?

crazynot posted 5/4/2014 01:26 AM

I knew the house thing would be very emotional and keep me chained to the village where the A took place and where WH would be with his girlfriend. I wanted to stop being his 'ex-wife' and start being me. We have had a long separation now, he walked out at the start of 2010 after false 'R' was exposed. We have never had the $ to finalise the divorce, although decree nisi was obtained 2 years ago. Hopefully we'll do that this year. The great thing about the length of time (during which so much has happened not related to him or the A) is that it's allowed ALL, 100% of the anger and resentment to vanish. But the biggest and best decision I took was to leave the area, move into a gorgeous rented house 70 miles away in an area where I could pursue my career, which has flourished. My two kids (now both at college) absolutely embraced the idea to put the whole thing behind them. When it's college vacation, they spend 98% of the time here and scarcely ever visit the home where they grew up. The house is going on the market now and will, I hope, be sold by summer. I can't say what's right for anyone else, and in the beginning I couldn't imagine anyone persuading me to leave my home, my safe place. But for us starting a fresh chapter has been liberating and wonderful.

neverbeokay posted 5/4/2014 06:49 AM

When I was negotiating the settlement, I read that even thought the value is the same today, 401K money increases value (hopefully) without any further investment but a house requires continuous investment (maintenance) to retain or increase value.

On the other hand you have to live somewhere. In my case we sold the marital home and I was able to buy a smaller home in the same school district. The kids and I love our house and it is far easier for me to maintain.

strad posted 5/4/2014 07:11 AM

I knew early on that my new life was going to require new living space, one without the stench of his betrayal hanging in the air. So now I'm renting a sweet little house that I can't wait to come home to every time I leave it. Our family home was quite large and would have required substantial upkeep. The property distribution money I got from our divorce will, in the end, be much more useful to me than the house itself.

norabird posted 5/4/2014 11:55 AM

I would be very careful about raiding the 401k.

norabird posted 5/4/2014 11:55 AM

I would be very careful about raiding the 401k.

FaithFool posted 5/4/2014 12:10 PM

I opted to sell the house, bought a condo, sold that and went back to renting. Found my dream apartment in an old mansion with live-in owners who keep it immaculate.

No surprise "special assessments," no maintenance, no worries really.

It works for me right now.

I live in one of the most expensive areas of the country. The only way I could have a house is to have a suite, and then I'd have to deal with maintenance and tenants, on a Sunday, when I'm not in the mood...

As an introvert I don't think that lifestyle would work for me.

FlySomeday posted 5/4/2014 16:11 PM

I had to weigh in the exact same options except for me it was Pension vs. equity in the house. Pension isn't as 'safe' as everyone thinks it to be. He can retire early...he can also go out on disability etc... Equity in the house isn't predictable either. SFH is steep for most single parents. Would you consider renting a room/basement to help ease the financial burden. I am staying in the house for now until a good option presents itself. Love the idea of talking to a specialist who can break it down for you. Please remember, it is OK to choose the house if you can make ends meet and it is healing for you.


devistatedmom posted 5/4/2014 17:34 PM

You really need to look at it from all sides, if possible.

I kept the house. I hate the house. It's too big, it needs someone to put a ton of cash into it to fix things, I can't maintain it, I hate the house. However; my x put us in a ton of debt before leaving. He was unemployed many times that I managed to keep us out of debt, but then he got his real estate licence, which costs money each month, and didn't do a thing with it. I went back to college to be able to up my salary, then he left without looking back.

I talked to money people, trying to figure out what to do. The way it worked for me, by the time we would sell and pay off the debt, I would have had NOTHING left to put a down payment on something else, and rentals here are almost non-existent, therefore very expensive, like, more than my mortgage, plus utilities. By keeping the house, I was able to "buy" him out by taking more of the debt while he left the equity to me. It was the only way I could keep a roof over the kids heads.

Once DD is finished high school, I will move north to a smaller town to something I can afford better. I would move sooner, if I could figure it out. I can now keep DD in her present school, as I work there too, and they would let me transfer her in. However, I have to be there by 7:30, and I can barely get DD out the door for 7:20 for the 7 minute drive. I can't imagine how I would get her out of the door at 6:50 if I moved to the other town. I would do it though.

I'm working on a 3 year plan at the moment...decluttering to get this place show-ready. I will have to sell it "as is" and lose a ton of cash because i don't have the money to fix the things that need to be fixed.

If I could go back...I would do the same thing. I really don't see what other option I had at the time. However, I should have done a better job keeping it clean and decluttering, therefore maybe if something presented itself I could manage to do it.

Yeah, I'm feeling kinda screwed on the housing front.

homewrecked2011 posted 5/4/2014 17:44 PM

I kept the house. I wasn't working full time, so I knew I could not qualify for a new mtg and the kids and I had to live somewhere...If you have great neighbors,,, that's a BIG plus.

I'm glad I've stayed here and let my children and I heal.

What I wish I would have done was to put money back for home repairs which can cost alot---like the leaky shower handle and a squeaky dryer.

What I have come to realize is that in 15 years my home will be paid off and I will have no rent/mtg payment -- I'll prob be able to pay if off early, also.

I also got some 401K money and put it into a retirement account at a bank--a trustee to trustee transfer, so no tax penalty. It's there if I need it.

We had the house appraised ($250.00 appraisal fee) -- I WISH I had done this w/o my H knowledge and NOT at the last minute. I would have had a couple of different appraisers come out and take the lowest! Anyway, so it shows I have 30,000 equity in the house so I got 15,000 less from the 401k.

I'm happy I stayed here, it's the best for my children, and I will either stay here long time, or when they go to college move all depends on my life at the time.

[This message edited by homewrecked2011 at 5:44 PM, May 4th (Sunday)]

Lola2kids posted 5/4/2014 21:12 PM

I kept the house. He took the condo and the cottage.
He has since bought another condo for his parents and is always looking for a house.
I have quite a bit of equity now and hopefully that will not change. I could have it paid off in 15 years or less.
He will likely never be mortgage free.
We would have owned this house by now or close to it if he hadn't strayed.
The kids love the house. They are more attached to it than to their father ironically enough.
I had my stamp on it for sure and any trace of him has been almost scrubbed away.
It was a good choice for me.

ThisHell posted 5/4/2014 21:56 PM

Well, I never really WANTED the house...12 years of family memories, but EX let the mortgage go for so long that when we were finally sent a document stating he had a court date set to show up and pay or go into foreclosure, I took the bull by the horns and moved out. Was a full time student and only got grocery money from him at the time because we were in our separation period and the terms were that he would take care of the mortgage and bills as we had previously until school was done. So moving was hard. My friend had a house in the next town over that let me rent super cheap, furnished. In the D, I gave him the house. Its better that way. Too much upkeep for me. it was close to 20 years old and I knew I couldn't afford maintenance should something happen.

Now though, I realize it was the best thing for my kids too. When SO came into the picture, they were very accepting of him and our relationship. They love him to death... their dad on the other hand, they have a harder time seeing with a different girl around. They've only seen her when he has invited her to hang out at the old house. I firmly believe they have a difficult time with this because they associate that space with us as a family, and me. Not this chick (ow, btw). So him bringing her in what I had made our home has made it harder on them to accept and be ok with.

Acer0112 posted 5/4/2014 22:24 PM

We thought we would keep the house thinking what was best for the kids. Less change, same schools. We need to look at finances more. Our mortgage is on the higher side, utilities add up, and unless I get a much higher paying job, we will be paying out more than we make with WH renting a place.

He has also made comments on why he's the one out if the house. Really? He is choosing D over R, he's still in A, he's the one that wants out. So I'm now recommending we look into selling the house. I just hope we can stay in the school feeder we are in. Tough.

sleepless34 posted 5/5/2014 14:29 PM

Thank you for your comments. I know, it is a hard decision. I am going to see a financial person that specializing in divorce stuff...get some additional advice.

I am warming up to the idea of moving to a smaller place in the same school district. I can use the equity to put alot down and have a low mortgage, of course, need a JOB first. The kids will be pissed, but it is too big a place...and many of the neighbors seemed to be moving lately...for one reason or another.

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