Having divorced after twenty years of marriage, Shelby Miller of Keller-Williams Realtors has real life experience with the issues many Americans face while going through and coming out of a divorce. With two teenage boys in tow, Shelby was faced with finding employment, selling her family home and relocating herself and children into their new home. Originally taking a job in a local Keller-Williams office on the administrative end, Shelby was able to learn the backend of real estate and learn the legalities of the business before become a licensed agent herself. She truly enjoys working with people, especially parents, going through the divorce transition in finding affordable homes in good neighborhoods.
When deciding if renting or buying is the better choice following a divorce, Shelby recommends meeting with a mortgage consultant to assess the feasibility of obtaining a mortgage as an individual. A good consultant can evaluate a potential buyer’s current financial situation in terms of income, assets, and debts and can help clarify the unknowns. This could include determining whether child or spousal support can be considered income, how long an individual re-entering the work force must be employed before the income will be allowed, and what assets can be utilized in terms of joint accounts. Divorce often means taking on some amount of debt and obtaining outside financial advice immediately can eliminate the mistake of panicking and running up credit because an individual feels they must quickly obtain “this, this, and this.”
Aside from determining whether it is fiscally responsible to purchase or rent, individuals must decide on a personal level how long they are going to want to stay in a particular area. It may make more sense to purchase if a potential buyer has small children that they want to keep in a certain school district; whereas an individual whose children will be leaving for college in the next few years may want to rent until they are certain where they want to plant permanent roots.
Another major decision is determining where to live after a divorce. In Shelby Miller’s case, she knew she wanted to remain within the same school district that her children were already in but acknowledges that not everyone may want to or have the means to stay in the same area as prior to divorcing. For those making the move to a new location, Shelby offers excellent advice on how to go about researching the prospective new neighborhood. She sites online resources that can show the neighborhood crime rate in comparison to the national average, she recommends checking out Megan’s Law, and researching how the school district compares to nearby districts and if it can accommodate a special needs child should there be a need. Shelby also recommends contacting the township’s local police department to see if there is high activity in the perspective neighborhood. While the police won’t be able to tell you whether or not an area is safe, they can answer if their presence in the area is frequent.
After completing the move, Shelby offers some great advice to save the client from unneeded stress. Remember to change the locks and electronic garage door codes, update license, car registration and voting card addresses and make sure the utilities are all switched to the new owner’s name.