When a marriage ends in divorce, nobody wins. Emotions are raw, tensions are high, and it’d be wonderful if you could just walk away and start over from scratch. But, unfortunately, it’s not that easy, especially if you and your spouse purchased a home. It may be tempting for one side or the other to try to hold on to the property, which can be done if the one wanting to stay can afford to buy out the one willing to leave.
More often than not, it’s easier to sell the house, split the profits, and get a fresh start. Selling a home is stressful, but ten times more when selling during a divorce. There are still many things that you and your previous partner need to resolve, working together as a team, before you can seal the deal and walk away clean. Here are some tips for selling your house during a divorce.
- Work with a real estate agent you both trust. Best-case scenario is that you work with the same agent who sold you the house. But if that agent isn’t available, you’ll need to start from scratch in finding an agent with whom you can both work and trust. The agent should be impartial, and should not be pulled into any drama. By keeping the end goal in mind: “we all want to sell the house”, you’ll be better able to keep things on cordial terms long enough to sell the property and split the dividends.
- You’ll need to agree on an asking price for the property. If you price it too high, you’ll scare potential buyers away. If you price it too low, you may end up with no profits, especially if there was an escrow loan or second mortgage. Your professional real estate agent can provide you with a Comprehensive Market Analysis, or a CMA, so you can see what houses recently sold for in your neighborhood that are similar to yours in size and features. Viewing the recently sold prices as opposed to gauging asking prices means you’re basing your decision on what buyers are actually willing to pay, not what sellers are asking. Because the real estate market is flexible, your home may be worth less now than when you bought it, or it may be worth more. Your agent will guide you on pricing your home to sell.
- Preparing the home is key, so you’ll have to find ways to work together on getting the house cleaned, making any repairs, staging for the open house, and other tasks that need done before the house hits the market. You may wish to divide the chores, and then handle them separately on designated dates to avoid having to spend unnecessary time together in uncomfortable situations. Partner “A” may agree to take care of cleaning and painting, and partner “B” may agree to take care of any repairs. However you choose to divide the responsibilities, determine who will do what, and when. You may choose to outsource these tasks if it’s financially feasible.
- You’re going to need to review offers and come to an agreement. When initially pricing your home for sale, it would be a good time to discuss best-case and worst-case scenarios as well as deal-breakers. That way, when offers do come in, there’s less to discuss because you already know your boundaries.
- Dividing the proceeds can’t take place until any liens, tax levies, mortgages, and loans have been paid. Make sure you take care of any outstanding debts before listing the house for sale so you don’t get stuck during the closing process.
Divorce is difficult, and it’s more difficult when you have to worry about selling your house, too. But selling the house and splitting the proceeds is often the best way to make a clean break without holding on to old memories, or without anyone feeling slighted. Trust your qualified, professional real estate agent; find a way to work together on preparing the house, and know what your guidelines are regarding offers. That way, when offers do come in, you’ll spend less time discussing options and make greater strides towards closure so you can move forward peacefully.
La’Dweena Smith at Home Smith Homes has the experience and knowledge you need to make this process less stressful. Give her a call today at 708-321-0136.