by Pat Burgess
Don’t sell your house right away or agree to who is going to take the house…Possession is 9/10ths of the law…distinction between “where you are going to live now, and where are you going to live in the future.”…You are not ready to make future, life decisions of where you are going to live permanently. Take your time. The issue of your home will be addressed later, NOT NOW!
Your BIGGEST ASSET
Your home typically represents more than just a commodity. It is where you may have raised your children…you bought it with hopes and dreams of happy things to come. So dealing with the dissolution of your home may be a daunting task.
You also need to realize that typically your home is worth about 60% of the family asset. So, as harsh as this may sound, I have to recommend that you work at viewing your home from a “business” perspective. I know this is hard to do, but in the long term you will appreciate this advice. Many use the house as a tool during a divorce to sling hurt. So, try not get wrapped up in either the nostalgia or the mud slinging. A “home” is where your loved ones are. A “house” is just a building. Now you need to look at your “home” as a “house”. You need to be practical. You can create a “home’ in any “house”, so please keep that in mind.
If you are thinking of keeping your house, getting just an appraised value is not enough. What if the furnace is old? Do you have irrigation problems? How does your home do during heavy rainfalls? Any hidden pest or plumbing problems? Have you put together a budget for basic monthly house maintenance expenses? The appraiser doesn’t take any of these maintenance issues into consideration. But if you don’t, these major and minor maintenance issues could financially destroy you going forward.
Do you know who else owns equity in your home? Do you know if there might be any liens on your home? Have you heard of a “Quit Claim Deed”? That may take you or your spouse off from the Title to your house, but what about your mortgage? Can you qualify for a mortgage independently? Are you aware of what your property taxes are and when they are due? What about Homeowner’s Insurance? How much does it cost? Who is the policy holder? And what does it cover?
So, before you go agree to take the house or leave it behind, before you sign the Marital Settlement Agreement dealing with the fate of the house, you need to do a lot of investigation.