Getting a Divorce and Need to Sell Your Home?
If you’re reading this post it’s for one or two reasons; you’re getting a divorce and need to sell your home OR you’re thinking of getting a divorce which means you may have to sell your home. Whichever your reasoning may be, below are some helpful tips when selling your home because of a divorce.
If neither spouse wants to stay in the family home, or if neither can afford to buy out the other, you can put the property on the market and try to get the best possible price for it. Keep in mind that before the sales proceeds can be divided, you’ll have to pay off the mortgage, any equity line or second mortgage, and the brokers’ fees. You’ll also have to pay any capital gains tax that might apply. These expenses are one disadvantage of selling your home when you divorce, especially if market conditions aren’t good for sellers. Another disadvantage is the need to uproot the kids when they’re already adjusting to a lot of change.
But there are advantages, too. Both spouses get money to start over, and it may help you make a clean break.
Once you’ve decided to sell your home, you’ll be faced with a lengthy and detailed process that involves a number of projects. Each of these projects takes hard work in the best of times, and the emotional upheaval that comes with divorce doesn’t make them any easier.
Picking an Agent
While in general, it’s fine to sell a house without an agent, it’s not recommended when you’re in the middle of a divorce—the added stress is really not necessary. Try not to spend a lot of time arguing about who your agent will be. If you were satisfied with the agent who worked with you when you bought the house, see whether that person is available. If you’re starting from scratch and having trouble agreeing, each of you should pick a friend or relative, and have those two people agree on an agent. Or you can each choose an agent and have those two agents select a third to sell the house—if the first two agents are willing to do it with no listing in the offing.
Settling on an Asking Price
Take the agent’s advice about your asking price—that’s one of the main reasons you’re using an expert instead of selling the house yourself. Turning that decision over to the agent will eliminate one potential conflict. If you think the agent’s opinion is really off-base, you might need a different agent
Preparing to Show the House
Getting the house ready can be the most difficult part of the sale process. There’s often some work that needs to be done—minor repairs, painting, and the like—before the house is ready to be shown, so you need to agree on where the money for that will come from. If both of you have moved out by the time you put the house on the market, you can leave the place to be staged by the agent. If one of you is still living there, you’ll need to get things cleaned up, get the clutter out of the way, and probably remove some of the furniture.
You’ll have to work together when it comes time to review offers from potential buyers. Your agent can advise you, of course, but ultimately you’ll have to make the decision jointly.
Dividing the Cash
Finally, you’ll have to figure out how to divide the proceeds. In general, that shouldn’t be too complex—the escrow company can distribute the money, after paying off all the obligations on the house and making whatever other payments you’ve agreed to. (For example, you might pay off marital debts with the proceeds of the house sale.)
Getting a divorce is never an easy decision nor is it an easy process. But choosing the right realtor to help you along the way makes for a smoother outcome.
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