New York State Funeral Directors Association

It goes without saying that losing a spouse is an incredibly difficult part of life

Throughout all of the heartache and the headaches of dealing with everything that needs to be done, you have to figure out what your living arrangements are going to be like following your loss.

While many will remain in the home they shared with their significant other, others will look to move on or face the harsh reality that they simply must.

1. Determine If You Really Want To Move

As this difficult process begins, the first thing you'll need to do is decide if you really want to move. Your situation gives you a lot to think about, and there's no simple answer. If you can't decide how you want to proceed, seek advice from friends, loved ones, or some kind of counselor.

Ultimately, the decision should be your own, provided you're financially and physically able to keep the home, but talking out the pros and cons can help you reach it.

2. Determine If You Really Want To Buy

If you've given it all the thought you need to and have decided that it will indeed be best to move, you next have to decide if you really want to buy a house or if you want to rent.

You may prefer the flexibility of renting at least in the beginning of this new phase of your life. You have enough to get used to with your new life that you may not want to rush into buying a permanent home.

On the other hand, turning around and buying a new home might turn out to be just the thing you need to settle into life after your spouse. Having a home of your own may offer you some comfort in an otherwise sorrowful situation.

Other factors like children and jobs may also sway you one way or another.

3. Figure Out What You Can Afford

Once you've decided that you want to buy a house, you'll need to figure out what your price range is. This will be determined in part by your spouse's assets that have been left to you, the terms of their life insurance policy, etc. If you need help figuring out how to deal with power of attorney and related issues, read this article from LegalZoom.

Start by using a home affordability calculator and getting pre-approved for a mortgage. This will help you look in the right direction when you're actually seeking out potential homes.

4. Look For The Right Home

Finally, we get to the part of this that actually lets you have some fun. Go to open houses, search real estate listings, and get a real estate agent who can take you to look at the potential places you might spend your coming years.

Make a list of factors that are important to you. Is home security a concern? Then, you may want to look for homes in gated communities.

Does your home need to have universal design elements due to a family member’s or your own disability? If so, be sure to bring that up with your realtor right away.

5. Make An Offer

When you've found the home you want to be yours, it's time to make an offer to the seller (your real estate agent will help you with this). Provided an agreement can be reached, you can move on to inspections, closing, and start moving when you're ready.

Bonus Tip: Aim For Lower Closing Costs

After the loss of a loved one, it's likely that you have enough costs to deal with. If you're going through with buying a new home, there are ways to reduce near-term out-of-pocket expenses.

You may be able to get lower closing costs if you choose a lender with low fees, don't pay to lower your interest rate, or negotiate with the seller to get them to pay some or all of the costs. Many sellers will be willing to do this just to get a deal done.

JennScottJennifer Scott

Jennifer shares stories about the ups and downs of her anxiety and depression at SpiritFinder.