Statistically, divorced women are at a disadvantage when becoming homeowners. Women usually earn less than men in comparable jobs, and only about 15 per cent of them receive alimony or spousal maintenance to fill in the gap, according to the Divorce Source website. But "USA Today" says that new government lending laws, as of May 2011, have made it easier than ever before for divorced women to get mortgages, and mortgage companies are willing to help out because single women are more likely than single men to spend their money on housing.
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The federal government qualifies a divorced woman as a first-time homebuyer if the only other home she ever owned was with her husband. As a first-time homebuyer, some mortgage companies will finance you with no money down. This can be an attractive alternative if you want to keep the safety net of your savings or retirement benefits now that you're on your own; you won't have to cash them in to come up with a down payment. As a first-time homebuyer, you can also put down a smaller down payment rather than none at all, if you prefer. However, both options work best if you don't plan on selling for a while. You'll need time to build up equity, especially if real estate values drop.
Adjustments to Qualifying
Federal law also now allows divorced women to include child support as part of their income to help them qualify. If your ex-spouse is paying you even £81 per week in child support, that bumps your income up by £325 a month --- income you don't have to pay taxes on. If you've never had credit in your own name, lenders will consider other regular payments you've been making as part of your credit history, such as utility bills.
Some mortgages are assumable. If your divorce isn't final yet and you're still in the negotiation stage, check with the lender who holds the mortgage on your marital home. If you can assume the mortgage, you might be able to negotiate to keep the house rather than finding another home that's suitable at a price you can afford, which can help you avoid incurring moving expenses and utility hookup fees. The mortgage company might still want documentation from you to prove you can afford the payments on your own, but qualifying to assume a mortgage is generally easier than qualifying for a brand new mortgage.
Once you get a mortgage, look into the possibility of taking in a roommate to make the monthly payments easier to manage. National "matchmaking" services such as CoAbode link single mom homeowners with other single mothers who need housing based on personalities, interests and compatibility. Not only can you pool your finances, but you can pool your parenting resources as well.
Resist the temptation to stay in the marital home while your ex makes the mortgage payments. There's no guarantee that he will keep up with the payments, and if he doesn't, this tarnishes your credit history as well. If you want to stay in the marital home, but your lender doesn't offer assumptions, try to qualify to refinance the mortgage into your own name.
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