Should I Rent or Buy a New Home After My Divorce in New York?

So, you’ve decided to move out of the marital home as a result of your divorce. Now, you’re faced with the decision of whether to rent or buy your next home. Renting temporarily while the dust settles from your divorce may give you the time you need to make a more permanent decision from a more stable emotional and financial state. On the other hand, leaving a home you own and moving to a rental could feel destabilizing. We hear many clients in this situation say they would feel as if they were “flushing money down the toilet” if they choose to rent.

We recognize that each client has different needs and various factors should be considered when making decisions about your post-divorce living situation. In this blog, we'll guide you through these considerations to help you make the best choice for your post-divorce life in New York.

Rent or Buy new home after divorce
  • Renting: An apartment or house rental allows you to test different neighborhoods. It also removes any pressure you may feel to find a home that will be the right fit for you in the long term. You get to enjoy flexibility and adapt to your living situation as your needs evolve.
  • Buying: If long-term stability is your top priority, buying a home provides a sense of permanence. You have the freedom to personalize your space and create a stable environment for yourself. If you have children, you may feel that buying a home will provide a greater sense of security for them because they won’t need to move again any time soon.
  • Renting: When renting, initial costs and the barrier to entry are both lower. After signing the lease and paying 1 or 2 months of rent and a security deposit, you will be handed the keys and can move in. Once you’re settled, you won't have to worry about property taxes or upkeep. However, rent payments can exceed some mortgage payments and you can expect your rent to increase over time, which can impact your long-term budget. Finally, you are not building any equity when you are paying rent.
  • Buying: Purchasing a home requires a significant upfront investment of 10, 20, or even 30 percent of the purchase price. However, it can be a valuable long-term asset. Mortgage payments are often comparable to or lower than monthly rent. Getting pre-approval for a mortgage will allow you to make faster decisions when you find that perfect home. And, if that mortgage is at a fixed rate, it may offer more financial stability in the long run. On the other hand, unexpected assessments if you live in a co-op or condo, or extraordinary repairs needed to a single-family home could seriously impact your budget.
  • Renting: Keep your finger on the pulse of New York's dynamic rental market before, during, and after your divorce. Watch for trends to make informed decisions about when to rent and which neighborhoods will meet your financial and lifestyle needs. This will help you secure a living space that aligns with your post-divorce goals.
  • Buying: Find a reputable real estate broker who can help you navigate the nuances of the New York housing market. Understanding current trends and future projections of both housing prices and mortgage rates will empower you to make a wise investment for your situation, allowing you to create a home for yourself that stands the test of time.
  • Renting: When you rent a property, it may provide a sense of freedom and detachment. This allows you to focus more on your emotional well-being since you won't have the responsibilities of home ownership. Additionally, the immediate change of scenery will help you create a fresh, new life for yourself, and you won’t be reminded of your divorce every time you walk into your home. Even if you’d prefer not to rent in the long run, this option can buy you time to make more thoughtful decisions about a permanent residence if you do decide to buy in the future.
  • Buying: Home-ownership often comes with a sense of security and pride. This contributes positively to your emotional state. Creating a stable and comforting environment may be helpful in getting your life back together after a divorce. However, keep in mind that this option can easily become more stressful down the road if you start to experience buyer’s remorse. If you choose to buy, be sure to picture yourself there long-term and predict whether you will be happy with the property itself, your neighborhood, and your proximity to your children, family, and friends for years to come.

Whether you choose to rent and savor the freedom of flexibility or buy and build a lasting foundation, remember that the decision you make regarding your living situation is a personal one. Consider your financial situation, emotional needs, and future aspirations as you embark on this new chapter of your life. You may feel intimidated and overwhelmed, but you should try to embrace this as an opportunity to shape your new home according to your desires.

As you begin your divorce journey, discuss with your divorce attorney what you should be considering in your search for a new home. By understanding what matters most to you, your attorney can offer tailored advice to help you make informed decisions about whether to rent or buy. The attorneys at Vacca Family Law Group regularly help clients navigate issues involving renting or buying a new home during and after a divorce in New York. Call us at (212) 768-1115 or contact us online to schedule your free introductory call.

Vacca Family Law Group is located at One Grand Central Place, 60 E. 42nd St., Suite 764, New York, NY 10165.

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