Real Estate and Divorce Question: Should I Buy a New House Or Renovate Before my Divorce is Finalized?

The simple answer to both is that you should not, and you should wait until the divorce or separation is finalized. It may not be a good idea to renovate the family home or buy a new home while the divorce process is ongoing. The reason being is if you buy a new house before you are divorced, your soon-to-be-ex can claim interest on your new home if you didn’t purchase it as separate property. There are ways around this–so you should speak with a professional Realtor and divorce lawyer before putting anything in writing. 

Ideally, you want to avoid a full-on renovation if you are divorcing because the costs of such can be unequal and can be hard to recoup upon separation. Of course, this is discretionary, as some couples can be separating amicably or are paying for the renovations 50/50. 

At a bare minimum, you want to ensure that you fix the old house before selling so that you can get the most bang for your buck. If you decide to do renovations before separating, you want to make sure that you have a written agreement that clearly states how/when the spouse footing the bill will be reimbursed later.

We recommend that you consult an experienced Realtor and lawyer about how these actions could negatively impact you – or for ways to ensure that they can’t come back to haunt you – before starting on any renovations or making an offer on a new property.

Getting a divorce is always tough, both emotionally and economically. To alleviate some of the stress, please check out our book Navigating Selling Through Separation. Click the link below to learn more about how you can get a copy, and uncomplicate the process. 

Adam Mills and his team have been in business for over ten years and have a proven track record for success. Our team is comprised of knowledgeable and experienced professionals who are happy to help you navigate the ever-changing Ottawa real estate market. Please contact us at 613-825-7653 or email us at