Post-divorce — buy out wife or sell house?
This reader question comes from Rick. He's asking for the readers' advice on this common dilemma that many divorced people face.
My wife and I had a pretty good handle on our finances and were on track for meeting all of our major financial and life goals…college for the kids and retirement for us. We are both 43 and have two kids, ages 10 and 8. My wife went through a mid-life crisis last year and told me she wanted a divorce. I didn't see it coming. We have been divorced for four months. We had it in the decree that I could continue living in the house for a few months.
At this point, I am supposed to tell her whether or not I want to buy her out of the house or if we should put the home up for sale together. Zillow says the home is worth $344k; we paid $400k. We have a mortgage principal balance of $260k. Right now, our monthly payments are $1,200. I'm bringing home around $4,500 per month. Property taxes are $5,000 per year. If I were to move into a town home in the area, it would cost around $200k.
Coming out of the divorce, I am not cash heavy. Without the equity in the home, I am probably walking away with about $35k. I'd like the kids to stay in the home to have some stability in their lives. I like that we have a yard for them to play in. We have lived in it for five years. They have friends in the neighborhood. It is overkill in terms of space for a family of three. I have the kids 50 percent of the time. I've been able to live here for the past four months and I'm making it. However, my saving ability for the future has been greatly diminished. Nothing “bad”' has happened since I've been on my own. I haven't had to replace a refrigerator, buy a new car, etc. Should I stay in the home or sell it? What should I consider in making this decision?
So, GRS readers, what should Rick do?