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Should I keep the house?

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stungbytravel posted 10/27/2013 08:42 AM

I originally wanted the house. However, now I am questioning whether I should keep it. I started the refinance paperwork to get him off of the mortgage and it looks like the appraisal is going to come in a lot higher than I expected. So I could see and take the cash and run. Begin a whole new life, but since he traveled so much and was never here - the memories are not there and that house really feels like mine.

How did you all decide? I know I am very blessed to even have the option of keeping the house.

Merlin posted 10/27/2013 08:47 AM

You don't give much 'back story'. I kept the house so that my kids could have some familiarity and stability in their lives. I do like the place.

It is an expensive proposition, maybe not a smart one.

But for our kids, I would have left and started over.

inconnu posted 10/27/2013 09:05 AM

My house was paid off already, with money I inherited during the marriage. As it turns out, after ex had been cheating.

Had I known that, obviously I would have made different decisions on how to handle my inheritance. I feel like ex defrauded me at the time by giving me false information about the state of our marriage. So I wasn't going to let ex have any part of "my" house. (we worked it out in the settlement mediation. he kept his full pension. I got the house, free and clear). It was also very important to me to keep life as stable for my kids as possible.

That all being said, it has been a struggle for me to pay the property taxes every year, and try to keep up with the basic maintenance. So even if you can afford the mortgage, don't forget to factor in the other expenses before you make your decision.

I can't exactly say I regret keeping the house, and I know I'm extremely lucky that I don't have a mortgage or rent payment each month. But I never signed up to be a single person homeowner, and it's stressful as hell at times.

myperfectlife posted 10/27/2013 09:52 AM

I am not keeping the house for a few reasons.
I do not want the hassle of refinancing. We just refinanced last year and we owe exactly what it is worth. Money will need to be paid to refinance to get anyone's name off the mortgage. I don't want to pay for that.
The house is too big for me to maintain. It was overwhelming when I was there, and I don't want the responsibility of doing it on my own.
The house payment is more than I want to afford, even with child support it would leave me almost nothing. It wasn't an expensive house when I had my WS income. However, he makes 8X more than I do. He can afford it much better than I can, and the kids will still be there 50% so they don't lose their "home".
I had money set aside from my mother and am using that to pay cash for a fixer upper about 4 blocks from WS house. It's a block from my work and I've already been approved for a project loan at a very low interest rate to do everything that needs done. This means my "monthly payment" will still be less than what I am paying in rent right now, and half of what my house payment was at the old place.
The new house is smaller, less yard, more manageable. And yes-it will be ALL MINE. I will paint it the colors I want, do the fixes myself without wondering "Am I going to make WS feel like a lazy ass because I am doing this and he is not even though I've asked him?"
Et cetera.
Also I will say that buying a new place has given me a lot of momentum. Something to keep my mind off my marriage/divorce. When I lay in bed at night I don't think about what he did or who he did it with. I think "I am going to put a pool table in the dining room, and french doors in the bedroom."
So, consider all aspects before you really commit.
Sometimes when change is presented to you, you can grab it by the horns and do EVERYTHING you always wanted to do. Don't be afraid to step outside your comfort zone.
Do you want to stay stagnant where you are, comfortable, living the "same" life but without him? Or would you rather have the adventure you always wanted and never took because you had to consider someone else?
I am just throwing these things out there.
For me, it was a better financial and personal decision to give him the house. And honestly, it will be a burden to him to upkeep and I kind of feel sorry for him. But I am super excited for my new life.
Just take a few days and imagine what you would do if you were NOT a home owner.
Good luck and let us know what you decide!

Darcy3 posted 10/27/2013 10:15 AM

I am asking for the house out right, but only because it makes the most sense for me.

I still have 2 kids at home so my house payment isn't that much more than I would have to pay in rent, and I have lots of family close that can and will help me with any maintenance issues that I have.

That being said, owning a home by yourself is a lot of work and time, and mine has a lot of property to keep up with, so once my kids have moved out I will definitely sell.

lifestoshort posted 10/27/2013 10:51 AM

depends on if its a sounds payment, you have investment into it like work or emotions. if you have kids that live in it, how long have you been there? do you like the house, etc. if it will be hard for yout o buy another house after due to low scores etc, perhaps keep it to build credit back up.

I kept mine cause it was the only house i owned cause I had kids and their school is in the area. I knew if I sold it, i would not get another house for a long time. no way I could afford a new down payment.

Take2 posted 10/27/2013 11:11 AM

Like you, my X hadn't left much of an emotional or sentimental impact on the house -- which after 20 years was rather shocking to discover. Guess that's what happens when your heart isn't at home with your family (or because you just don't have one.)

So my decision really came down to economics and weighing my viable options:

In my case I waived alimony (he was never going to actually pay) in exchange for the house. X did a quitclaim - but kept his name on the mortgage. (Is this a possibility - or might he agree to pay for part of the closing costs...?)

There have been financial challenges: yard maintenance, house maintenance, removing a plaster ceiling that was coming down, replacing a hot water heater, the cost of snowplowing...

You don't want to end up "house poor" with your budget stretched too tight - just to keep the house if you have a better options.

peacelovetea posted 10/27/2013 12:11 PM

I have mixed feelings about having kept it. I did it for financial reasons (monthly is half what rent on an apartment would be) and mostly to keep things stable for the kids but in some ways I wish I could have moved and started new, and gone closer to my school. But I wouldnt have wanted to disrupt the kids' lives that much.

I did do some changes immediately -- new furniture to replace what he took, repainted the bedroom and got new bedding, etc -- to make it mine.

Its a lot of work to maintain but I realized when he moved out that the only thing I added was putting the cans to the curb on garbage day. He never did anything else consistently enough to matter. So the reality is I've been doing it on my own for a decade.

If I hadnt had the kids I would have made very different decisions. But then everything would have been different anyway so who knows.

Nature_Girl posted 10/27/2013 12:42 PM

I will be awarded the house outright when the divorce is final. I will not have to refinance as I would never qualify (SAHM, now unable to find a job after a year of looking). Somehow STBX will have his name removed from the title (quitclaim? I dunno).

The mortgage is less than I would pay in rent for an apartment, even including property taxes and bills.

I'm keeping it because I have three young children. We would have no where to go if we did not stay here. I really like the house & the neighborhood, anyway, and I do not have any "they cheated in that room, they cheated in this room" memories to taint it.

Phoenix1 posted 10/27/2013 12:59 PM

I wanted the house for several practical reasons, and got it free and clear.

1. It is cheaper than rent in this area.
2. It keeps DD in her school until she graduates.
3. There are no tainted memories of any OW being in the home.
4. XPOS was gone more than he was here so I have done all decorating, renovations, and maintenance anyway.
5. We have three very large dogs that no rental would ever allow, and this property has a lot of room for them.
6. I cannot get a new house right now because XPOS destroyed my credit and I need time to repair it.
7. XPOS quit claimed the deed but will remain on mortgage until I can refi with an equal or better interest rate than the current mortgage with no time limit to do it.
8. It is an investment while I repair my financial damage from the D as I know some relatively basic improvements will increase value dramatically for when I am ready to move on (I am estimating five years).
9. I can afford.

I put a lot of practical thought into it to determine that it was the best option for me.

jemimapd posted 10/27/2013 18:14 PM

I disagree with the comment that staying in the house represents being stagnant. I am staying put and I am going to redecorate this house from top to bottom and I certainly will live a very different life here.

Moving and working on a new house can be exciting but also expensive and stressful. At least I know this house, what needs doing and there are not any big surprises in store. I know so many people who fail to budget realistically for house remodeling. Materials prices have really gone up. Then they run out of money and half a half done house. That is no fun.

I think it comes down to what you want personally and your own situation, there is no fixed formula.

Williesmom posted 10/27/2013 18:22 PM

I got the house's mine. My family helped build it for me. Wxh was here also, but I saw it as a labor of love to me.

I was the primary wage earner, so it made no difference monetarily when wxh left.

I don't have children, but it gave me some comfort to not worry about moving.

I replaced flooring and my bedroom furniture to purge it of wxh. I'm very content here.

Abbondad posted 10/27/2013 18:47 PM

It is proving a tough choice for me as well. I have flip-flopped so many time. But in my case I have two kids, whose home and neighborhood friends have been their world all their lives. After the terrible upheaval after STBXWW left, I have felt that the best thing for the kids is to avoid any and all additional trauma brought on by change.

But I must heal from this trauma myself. And if I stay here it will postpone it possibly indefinitely. Too,many ghosts in our marital home. (I still can't sleep on any side but the one I've slept in with her for,ten years.) And this will affect the kids, as I want to be a happy, emotionally contented dad for them.

So I reason that my fresh start will affect them as well.

Plus, financially I just can't do it and still save any money. I may not get spousal support, so,I can't rely on that.

In any case, I can relate. You must weigh the pros and cons and in my opinion do what is best for your emotional well-being.

HeartStings posted 10/27/2013 20:05 PM

Ok, that's 3 of you who said you get the house but the ex quitclaims but keeps the mortgage. How is this possible?! I suggested this to my lawyer and she said a judge will give me 2-3 years, at most, to refinance in my name; that all finances have to be completely severed. If ex still owns the mortgage, they could take out a home equity loan, no? And who gets the tax write-off for property taxes? Very confusing.

Take2 posted 10/27/2013 20:35 PM

From the final D - there was about 4 years left on the mortgage in my case. His name is off the title (quitclaim does that.) Can't take out a loan on someone else's property - he doesn't own it.

What he does own is half the debt here - although the D paperwork holds me entirely responsible for it. There is a clause that grants him some protection (written into the D papers) should I default on the loan.

(*HeartStings) If you want the wording on that PM me and I'll dig out the paperwork. I get all the write offs, but at this stage of the mortgage - it is less than the standard.

As for finances being permanently separated.. SS and CS can be modified - nothing permanent there. But I'm in MA and that might make a difference. I also stayed on his health insurance for a year, and could have continued if I'd paid the difference...(until he remarries). These things were all negotiated by us and the judge signed off on it.

myperfectlife posted 10/27/2013 21:15 PM

To clarify I didn't mean for the word stagnant to be negative. I am sure many people find comfort in staying in their house.
OW was not in my house either, but for me personally, it would have been "stagnant" for me to divorce and stay there. I could move on much easier by moving out.

Housefulloflove posted 10/27/2013 21:43 PM

At first I really wanted to keep our house. OW was never there (as far as I know) and I really liked my house. It had enough rooms for our kids to each have their own, the layout was wonderful and we even had a fenced in yard that led us to finally getting a dog for the kids a year prior. We were only there for 2 years on DDay but we had plans to spend the rest of the kids childhood there.

But the mortgage was more than I could comfortably afford even with a full time income and that would leave me dependent on Ex's support for as long as we were there. An increasingly horrible situation as Ex continues to screw himself over financially. Also the extra cost of upkeep and repairs would have made it impossible to build a good safety net. Only having 2 years of mortgage payments meant that there was no equity and refinancing wouldn't have made a big enough impact to make a difference in affordability.

So a fresh start in a new location became an increasingly appealing option as time passed. I found a place in a that is literally half the size of our home but is also 1/3 less in price. That has allowed me to depend less on Ex even though I don't yet work full time and it's in a much more convenient location. Where we are now is very temporary. I'm not even sure we will be here more than a year.

The only reason I considered keeping the house is for the kid's sake. I probably would have kept it if it wouldn't have been such a huge financial struggle. If I didn't have kids I probably would have left that house on Dday and never looked back.

thenon-goddess posted 10/27/2013 21:46 PM

Hey Stung, haven't seen you in a while - hope you are faring okay.

In your situation I think I'd lean towards selling and just starting over. You don't have little kids to consider and even if you don't have a lot of "together" memories there, it was still the marital home and you may find it easier to move on if you can just dump it and start new.

I'm staying in the house, but I have 4 kids who have all grown up here and their grandparents (ex'a side) that live next door. They are a huge help to me and the kids visit them often. Otherwise, I'd want to just sell and start over elsewhere.

Phoenix1 posted 10/28/2013 02:30 AM

Ok, that's 3 of you who said you get the house but the ex quitclaims but keeps the mortgage. How is this possible?! I suggested this to my lawyer and she said a judge will give me 2-3 years, at most, to refinance in my name; that all finances have to be completely severed. If ex still owns the mortgage, they could take out a home equity loan, no? And who gets the tax write-off for property taxes? Very confusing.

We have a joint mortgage, but I am obligated to make the payments. XPOS is still on the hook for half the debt though because lenders don't recognize divorce decrees. This is simply what we agreed to, and it is specific that XPOS can't make any claim on the equity (can't do it without his name on the deed anyway). I get the tax deduction because I am making all the loan and tax payments. The judge had no problem with the indefinite timeframe for me to refi, but I don't think XPOS realizes that means he will never qualify for a mortgage of his own while his name remains on our joint one. Poor baby! He put me in the bad financial position so I don't feel the least bit bad about tying up his credit!

[This message edited by Phoenix1 at 2:32 AM, October 28th (Monday)]

phillygirl posted 10/28/2013 06:09 AM

I basically gave him the house, quit claim deed and walked away.

The mortgage was in his name only and both of us were on the deed.

I did this solely because it was the best thing for me financially and logically.

We bought the house because he wanted it (I already had owned a less expensive home alone that I had suggested we move into after marriage, but he didn't want to live there)

The house was in an area he wanted to live in that I wasn't very fond of.

The mortgage was super expensive.

We bought at the top of the market and the house is now worth about $100K less than what we paid for it.

The house had tons of maintenance issues. It was a money pit.

So it made sense for me to leave it and move to a place closer to my friends, family and job with a payment that I could manage.

My ex also had his holemates in the house, but that really didn't go much towards my reasoning for leaving it. If it had made more financial sense to stay I would have fought for it.

I think whichever way comes out better for you financially you should strongly consider. Divorce seriously hurts financially, so you should look out for yourself in this matter.

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