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Selling a House While Getting a Divorce: What You Need to Know

By Bill Gassett | March 10, 2019

What to Understand About Divorce and Home Sales

Going through a divorce is one of the most difficult and stressful experiences you are ever likely to go through. Knowing what to do with the marital home can be a real problem. Should you sell it and divide the proceeds or follow another route?

What You Should Know About Selling a House While Getting Divorced.

One person may want to buy the other one out or keep the home to rent out. There is an endless number of case scenarios, however, a home sale for property division during a divorce is still the most popular option.

Do you know all of the other considerations of selling a house during divorce? In the article at Maximum Real Estate Exposure, you'll see a detailed run-down of all the options you can take when ending a marriage.

It is important for both spouses to be on the same page. Sometimes that is easier said than done. In the long run though it will be best for everyone especially if there are kids involved.

Picking a Real Estate Agent is Critical

Selling a property during divorce is different than a traditional sale. You need to make sure you pick a real estate agent with some divorce experience. The Realtor needs to not only have a thick skin but be able to deal with two conflicting parties.

A great real estate agent handling divorce understands you can never play favorites. You need to be a voice of reason and a neutral party. The best agents treat the sale as a business transaction. Playing an emotional counselor for one spouse is not a good idea.

You can read more exceptional tips for picking a real estate agent in the article at Active Rain. It is important to understand that the Realtor you hire can make or break your sale. Don't fall for one of the common real estate agent myths that we all do the same things to market a home. That could not be further from the truth!

There is a reason why some real estate agents excel year after year and others don't. There is no better recommendation than a track record of success.

The Advantages of Selling Your Home When Going Through a Divorce

There are obvious benefits of selling your home during the actual divorce process. The proceeds from the house sale will allow both parties to move on quicker and maybe even invest in a new home. That's just one of the benefits of selling your home in the midst of a divorce.

Secondly, it will be easier for you to handle other joint financial matters. Most couples will find that they have some joint debts such as loans, outstanding credit card balances, and perhaps even pension arrangements that need to be agreed on.

Consider the affordability of the home as well. Could you keep up with ongoing maintenance payments such as repairs and servicing of HVAC systems on your own? Sometimes one spouse has their heart set on keeping the property. If it's for the right reasons that could be a good thing - such as stability for the kids.

If on the other hand, you're keeping the house out of spite to your spouse that could be a critical long term mistake. The win at all costs attitude gets a lot of people going through a divorce in hot water.

Not too long ago, I was selling a home in Holliston Massachusetts where one of the spouses disagreed with the other on almost every point possible. Instead of using common sense they let their emotions get the better of them.

The only ones who win are the real estate attorney's who get paid handsomely the longer the divorce proceedings drag out.

Preparing to Sell Your Home During a Divorce

A home sale is not easy at the best of times, and during a divorce, it is likely to be even more difficult. There are some things that you need to agree on apart from how to split the proceeds. The fact is that you are not going to sell your place unless you make it ready for sale. That means going through the home with a fine tooth comb to make sure it looks outstanding.

You don't want your home to look sparse, however, you do want to de-clutter it. See this a chance to sort of what each party is going to take away with them to their new home. Divide the music collection, box up any unnecessary ornaments and clean it up.

After you have done all of that, take a step back and see if you need to do anything else. Perhaps the walls need painting or a carpet with stains needs to be professionally cleaned. All of this takes time and money to do, and you need to agree where the money is going to come from.

An experienced divorce attorney can help you if you can't agree. But, if you want to achieve a great selling price, you need to get it done.

One additional tip: You never want to make your property look a divorce is taking place. Buyers will use this information to their advantage when it comes to making an offer. Try as best you can to keep it looking like a joined family lives there.

Accepting an Offer When Going Through a Divorce

This is perhaps the trickiest part of the home sale. You need to make sure that your real estate agent is on board with you. You want to get as much money for your home sale as possible, and that means working together with your agent.

Spending time discussing all of the aspects of your home sale with your attorneys will cost you a lot of money. This is something you really want to avoid. Listen to the advice of your real estate agent all through the sale process and he or she will help you to achieve the best price for your home.

If for some reason you priced the home incorrectly, you should make adjustments quickly. The number one mistakes homeowners make when selling their home is overpricing it. There will be some distinct signs you need to reduce your home price. Some of them will include a lack of showings, no interest or offers, negative feedback, and days on market that have gone above the average for your city or town.

Get the price to where it should be!

Dividing the Proceeds From a Home Sale

Most States handle the proceeds from a home sale differently when you go through a divorce. If your home state has a communal policy, it means that everything purchased by a couple during their marriage is considered to be jointly owned.

There are exceptions and if you have signed a prenuptial agreement, you may find different laws apply. However, most of the time, the home is considered a joint asset and you need to be prepared for that.

This is also likely to apply to all debts, and you need to make sure that you have a clear picture of what you jointly owe as well as own. If you are in doubt, or can't agree, ask for mediation. It will help you to solve any problems quickly.

At the end of the day, you don't want to lose a buyer and this is why it is so important to keep on talking to each other. It will save you money and you will also make more money from your divorce home sale.

Final Thoughts

When selling a home while getting a divorce it is important for both spouses to be one the same page right from the get go. If possible try to be amicable with your partner. Shooting for the moon when you have no chance of getting that isn't smart.

Try to work things out fairly. Those that do don't waste countless months arguing all the while running up a significant attorney bill.

Other Helpful Realty Biz News Articles

Use these additional resources to help in the home selling process. Each article contains valuable home selling tips.

Bill Gassett is an authority in the real estate industry with 38 years of experience. Bill is well respected for his informative articles for buyers, sellers, and fellow real estate agents to make sound decisions. His work has been featured on RIS Media, the National Association of Realtors, Inman News, Newsbreak, Credit Sesame, Realty Biz News, and his own authoritative resource, Maximum Real Estate Exposure. He has been on of the top RE/MAX agents in New England over the last two decades.
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