After a divorce, you may feel tempted to keep the house. If you have children, the temptation may feel even stronger. You might even feel guilty about uprooting the children out of the family home or you worry about downsizing and how it may affect your social standing and access to good schools.
The good news is that there are about as many good reasons to keep the house as there are to give it up. It all comes down to your personal preferences and your financial situation. Fidelity examines both sides of the ongoing debate.
Selling the house
If you bought your home years ago and have made improvements since then, the property may have appreciated in value. To get an idea of how much more it may have appreciated by, get an appraisal done. If you meet certain requirements, you may get the opportunity to include the profit as a non-taxable form of income. When deciding on whether you will make or lose money on the sale of the home, consider closing costs, the cost of the appraisal and any other fees.
Keeping the house
If you prefer to keep the house, there are a few good reasons to do so, as long as you can afford it. In cases where you may not have the income to pay the mortgage on your own, you may make arrangements with your ex for the mortgage and upkeep. The upside of keeping the home is that you maintain stability for the children and can move on at your own pace. When the children grow up, you may consider selling the home at that point. You may even get to keep the profit for yourself.
If you cannot afford the home, you may remain at the mercy of your ex to pay the mortgage. Even if you can afford the home, the upkeep and maintenance for a larger home may become too tedious. When it comes time to sell, you may also find that the market may not be in your favor. Consider the pros and cons of your situation and then decide.