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Divorce the House?

Updated: Sep 28, 2021

Divorce The House? Keep, Sell, Buy or Refi [Coach Annie Allen talks with CDFA Deanna Brown]



You are going to divorce the spouse. Should you also divorce the house? Should you keep it? Sell it? Buy your own house? Refinance the one you have? How on earth are you supposed to decide who’s going to get the house and how you’re going to divide the equity? And what really makes sense in the end for you for the long term?


On June 30, 2021, the Starting Over Stronger Podcast releases an episode to answer all these pressing questions in an interview with Deanna Brown, Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA) and Founder of “BagLady Divorce.” Deanna has been empowering women before, during and after divorce, in her financial planning and investments practice for over 20 years. She helps women embrace the hard fact that divorce is essentially a business decision of splitting assets during divorce and after that, there are strategies to grow those assets for a secure future as a single woman.


As an RCS-D REALTOR®, I also work with clients on providing the often-missing data needed to make a wise and well-informed decision about whether or not to keep, sell, buy or refi during divorce. This doesn’t have to be the purely emotional decision that it normally is. It does need to make sense long-term, so that it won’t lead to regret or financial ruin in the years following the divorce.


For example, as Deanna Brown points out, “many women are adamant about keeping their home. We can’t blame them.  It’s the place they raised their kids, where they feel comfortable. They have security and all these memories that they’ve created in this place. However, sometimes from a financial standpoint it may not be what’s in their best interest or what would fit their new life. This house may not fit in with what they want to be creating, which is a new life for themselves.”

Deanna relates a personal story about her mom and dad’s divorce in her early twenties, and what happened when her mom got awarded the home in the divorce. She still remembers the day when her mom called her and said, “I need you to come to the house, we have to pack everything up. The house is being foreclosed on and they’re coming tomorrow to change the locks.” It was this sudden and heart-breaking emergency that the entire family had to work through, and it didn’t need to be that way. For her mom, or for the thousands of women who face a similar scenario when they keep the marital home without fully informing the decision.


As we have discussed in previous episodes on the show, studies show that one’s ability to reason emotionally and intellectually during a divorce is decreased by as much as 30%. You may think you’re processing things the same as you always have and functioning normally, but you’re really not. That’s why women keep houses they can’t afford, while thinking they will be fine. They don’t yet understand all the factors. That’s why a team of professionals around you is crucial to your emotional and financial well-being during divorce. At the bare minimum, every woman facing divorce needs a well-vetted attorney, a divorce-focused financial advisor (even if they don’t have significant assets), a divorce focused RCS-D REALTOR®, a good (not just any) therapist, and a Certified Divorce Coach® to help them manage everything well. This team will save her time, money and stress. Deanna’s mom’s story with her decision to keep the house during her divorce is a cautionary tale for all of us ladies of divorce. You can avoid foreclosure, bankruptcy, failed loan origination and failed refinance by connecting with the right professionals as early in the divorce as possible. Remember, your attorney is a legal professional. They’re not real estate professionals. They’re not financial professionals. And that’s why you need a team.


Deanna Brown and I dove into some incredibly important factors to consider on this real estate decision. Tune in to the Starting Over Stronger Divorce Survival and Recovery Podcast here on the site at www.StartingOverStronger.com/podcast or wherever you get your podcasts to hear us discuss:

  1. How alimony or child support affect this decision

  2. The emotional and physical factors in keeping the marital home

  3. What really is the biggest liability in divorce

  4. How your credit score makes the difference in every element of this decision

  5. The best timing for informing and making this decision

  6. What high net worth women are doing with the house and why

  7. How to negotiate a fair divorce outcome using the house when you’re the under- or un-employed spouse

  8. How the mortgage and current real estate market affect this decision

  9. Why after the divorce is finalized is the worst time to refinance a home

  10. How much alimony you need to refinance a home

  11. The tax factors of this decision

  12. What is the “social divorce” and how does it affect where you are going to live

This conversation is going to empower you with a ton of outside-the-box tips and tricks to solve your housing dilemmas during your divorce—before you make decisions you might regret. There are a million things to consider. That’s why I like to pare it down to the four elements we need to consider from every angle:

  1. Should you keep the house?

  2. Should you sell the house?

  3. Should one of you refinance the house?

  4. Should the other of you buy a house?

The answers to all these questions and so many more are just a listen away. Tune in on or after June 30th for the help you need to think differently about your divorce real estate decision, and your entire divorce, by gathering the resources and information you need to make smart and well-informed decisions. You can email me your questions at Annie@StartingOverStronger.com. Also let me know if you would like a personal introduction to CDFA, Deanna Brown. Explore the site here at www.StartingOverStronger.com for more about private and group coaching, RCS-D real estate consulting and please book a no-cost Discovery Call there too if you’d like to explore how you can get your needs met before, during and after divorce.


Remember don’t do divorce alone—do divorce differently. Until we meet again, remember there’s help as you divorce and hope as you are starting over stronger.

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