Homeownership after Divorce: An Introductory Guide

By Karen Ranquist, Karen Ranquist, Broker Associate, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Chicago

Embarking on the path to homeownership after divorce is a transformative journey- one that holds both challenges and empowerment. With 24 years of real estate and development expertise and personal experience overcoming divorce, I am here to provide compassionate insights and practical advice to help you embrace independence, build confidence, and open a new chapter in your life through the purchase of your own new home and/or selling the family home.


First, you must acknowledge your emotions. Facing divorce is emotionally challenging. Recognize the mix of emotions, fear, uncertainty, and excitement all coming together while you work through the process of divorcing. As your Realtor, I offer guidance through the real estate process and if needed, can connect you with approved and vetted professionals for financial, mediation, legal advice and coaching or therapy.


Together, we will navigate this emotional time with a supportive network. I will be your partner, offering expert guidance and insights to empower your informed choice. In addition to my divorce professional team, I will include my real estate team of lenders, inspectors, designers and more to support your unique needs and help foster confidence in making one the biggest financial decisions.


Overcoming your financial fears is step two. Financial stability is a significant concern during and after divorce. You are not alone, and there are strategies to address these fears. We’ll establish a realistic budget, explore financing options, and prioritize your needs for a financially secure future that includes home ownership after divorce. My extensive network of lenders and financial planners provides unique insights tailored to the impact of divorce on your buying or selling position. Once your financial position is defined, we can move on to step three and set out helping you find and purchase a home post-divorce.


This new home will symbolize your newfound independence. The journey is an opportunity to create a space reflecting your personality as well as your needs. I know that one of the most exciting days for me was the day I closed on my home – by myself. Together, we’ll explore neighborhoods, and I will hone in on meeting your particular housing needs and wants. I’ll work with you to find the perfect fit, considering neighborhood, location to work, transportation, schools, restaurants, cafes, shopping, dog parks and other amenities to meet your specific needs– you name it I’ll help you find it.


Shannon Lindstrom, Realtor, Certified Divorce Real Estate Expert (CDRE), RE/MAX Results, Minnesota, St. Paul

Practical considerations for home ownership after divorce:


Know your finances. This sounds much easier than it often is while going through a divorce. Whether your divorce is amicable or complicated there will be important things you need to be in front of. What are your assets? If you are a double income family or a stay at home mom your income will likely be lower when you embark on a solo home purchase. Here are some simple steps to jump start the process and begin to consider:


1. Review your credit and know your assets.
2. Talk to a lender and get a pre-approval letter (this will require having a good deal of personal financial information to share with the lender).
3. Set a realistic timetable. You will likely need at minimum a temporary settlement in place and often a final settlement to purchase your home.
4. Finalize your divorce settlement – this will ensure there will be no unexpected expenses that will impact your ability to close on your new home.
5. Decide what to do with your family home. A sale if often the best option and the cleanest. There are other options (my ex bought me out but that was complicated…) understand your best option.
6. Ensure you are off the mortgage and the deed. Be sure the title of the marital home is settled.

I know first-hand that homeownership after divorce signifies freedom and liberation – a space to redefine and rediscover yourself. Having gone through a divorce myself, I understand its impact and importance. Let’s work together to ensure your home becomes a sanctuary fostering personal growth, independence, and freedom.


Embarking on homeownership post-divorce is a significant step toward reclaiming your independence and building a promising future. I am committed to turning your dreams into reality. Let’s make your new home a haven of empowerment, confidence and freedom marking the beginning of a new empowered chapter in your life.

Karen Ranquist

Karen Ranquist started her real estate career in 1997. Prior to that, she worked for five years as a licensed social worker in Chicago Public Schools. She became a full service agent in 1999 and was instantly recognized as a Rookie of the Year at her initial company.

Since then, she has worked her way to the top of the ranks in Chicago’s competitive real estate market. In addition to being a broker with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Chicago, Karen was the primary real estate broker for a highly regarded builder of custom properties in the city. This extensive insight gives her an unparalleled background in home construction, materials, and design, in addition to her thorough knowledge of the Chicago housing market.

Karen’s expertise lies in working with contemporary single-family homes, condominiums, row homes, and new construction projects throughout the city, with a focus in Bucktown, Wicker Park, Logan Square, Ukrainian Village, Lincoln Park, and Lakeview neighborhoods.

Decades of experience have taught her the value of superior brokerage and impeccable customer service. Karen has been an annual Top Producer throughout her 20+ year career, is consistently a top producer in the Chicago Association of Realtors, and has been a Hall of Fame member at Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Chicago for the past 7 years. Among being honored by a variety of awards and in publications detailing her distinctive success, in 2018-2020 she has been honored by Crain’s Custom Media as “Most Influential Residential Real Estate Broker” and featured “The Who’s Who in Chicago Real Estate” by Chicago Agent Magazine.

She has remained active in the community and served seven years on the Chicago Association of Realtors Grievance Committee and as former Vice President of the Women’s Council of Realtors.


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