How to Choose a New Home After Divorce

February 20, 2023

So, you’re divorced. Now what?

Once the legal proceedings of your divorce are done and you and your ex-spouse have settled the bills, it’s time to start thinking about next steps. Specifically, it’s time to decide what you’re going to do for permanent housing.

Your first step will be to explore your financial situation and determine how much house you can afford.

Here’s how that’s done:

Evaluate Your Financial Health: How Much Can You Afford?

Step 1: List Out Your Assets and Debts. Don’t leave anything out or you’ll risk facing an unpleasant surprise when you get to step 3. The more honest you are with yourself at this step, the more successful you’ll be when you’re ready to turn your homeownership dreams into reality.

Step 2: Use an online calculator to get a ballpark idea of how your financial situation compares to the reality of purchasing of a new home. If the results look good, move on to…

Step 3: Apply for a loan. Once approved, you’ll know exactly which price range you can shop in.

Step 4: Hire a great REALTOR®, preferably one with divorce experience, like a CDRE. Hopefully, you’ve already worked with one to help you sell your marital home; if that’s the case, she can help you buy your new home too.

Write Your Must-Haves List

You’re going to buy your own home! Congratulations!

It’s time to decide which qualities your new home must have—and must not have. Moats and turrets aren’t available at every price point, so keep your price range in mind while you write your list.

Here are some qualities to consider:

  • Square footage
    • Not only how much space you’ll need now, but how much you could potentially grow into (consider your shopping habits, your desire to expand your family, your work-from-home aspirations, etc.)
    • Will a family member ever need to move into your home? If so, would you prefer they lived in a separate structure, like an ADU?
  • Lot size
    • When a house is beautiful, it’s easy to ignore things like zero lot lines—but those can matter a lot once you’re actually living in the home
    • If you like to entertain outdoors, is there space for that?
    • If you’re a sunbather, will you have privacy?
  • Location
    • Consider proximity to childcare, employers, desirable school districts, family members, and neighborhood amenities
    • Keep in mind any child custody agreements or restrictions
    • If you work from home, will you have a quiet work space free from road noise and bouncing basketballs?
    • Will you have enough room to toss a ball with your kids or play with your dog?
  • Cost of borrowing
    • Can you afford a nice house (with all your must-haves) using a 15-year mortgage or will you need to stretch your budget with a more expensive 30-year loan?
    • Will your monthly mortgage payments prohibit you from contributing to your retirement accounts?
    • Will your mortgage payments prohibit you from living comfortably day-to-day?
  • Income potential
    • Would you be comfortable living in one unit of a multi-family home while earning rental income on the rest? (This is a great way to let someone else pay your mortgage for you!)
    • Are there neighborhood restrictions that would inhibit the use of your property for an at-home business?

Once you have a clearer picture of how much you can afford—and know what you want your lifestyle to look like—it’s time to get down to the business of actually shopping for a home. It’s time to call a real estate agent!

Call a Real Estate Agent You Can Trust

As a Certified Divorce Real Estate Expert, I know what you’ve been through. The past few months have been hard on you, and these next steps are critical to your financial and emotional wellbeing. I’ll work diligently to help you get back on your feet and in a fantastic new home that fits your budget (I can even refer you to great agents who can help if you want to move away from the area). Call me to schedule a free chat to explore your situation and assess how it fits into the current real estate market—there’s absolutely no obligation to move forward if you decide it’s not right for you.


Shannon Rose
DRE# 01422955
Los Gatos, CA


DRE #01422955

DRE #01526679

16780 LARK AVE.

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