Selling During a Divorce

How to Sell a Home During a Divorce

If you’re going through a divorce, there’s a lot on your mind and having to sell your home at the same time adds even more stress to the situation. For many couples, a home is their greatest asset and of course, it has great sentimental value for both parties. Dealing with attorneys and the division of assets can be complicated.

In many cases, due to financial, legal, or personal reasons, it makes the most sense to sell the house. No matter what the state of the real estate market is, the process of selling a property should be seamless with the right realtor. Having to dissolve a family home in a court case is not something any couple wants to do. Despite the stress and headaches of selling during a divorce, it may be the preferred option for several reasons.

Financial

When you bought the house together, you may have had two incomes to cover the expenses. If either party can’t afford the mortgage, insurance, property taxes, and maintenance on a single income, selling the house may be the most viable option.

Legal

Most people want to avoid a legal battle, so agreeing on a plan to sell the house and split the proceeds is often a simpler solution. Having to dissolve a family home in a court case before a judge is not something any couple wants to do.

Liability

If one person refuses to split the assets this way and insists on keeping the house, it’s important to understand the liability risks and difficulties of being a single homeowner.

If one spouse has enough income to cover the mortgage and all other payments, they can take over the mortgage and eliminate the other spouse’s liability. However, this means that the spouse who wants the house will have to talk to a lender and refinance the house, qualifying for a single income for a house that was likely purchased with two incomes. The lender may feel that the borrower does not have a steady enough income to make the larger payments, and may be concerned that the borrower will default on the loan.

If the lender won’t back a single owner and the other spouse refuses to continue making payments on the house, you have to sell or risk foreclosure.

Picking an Agent

Use a neutral Realtor, not related to either party in any way,  someone who will treat each spouse in a fair and unbiased manner and will focus on getting the best price, dealing with all the legal paperwork, finding buyers, and ensuring division of equity from the sale.

Do not be tempted to hire a friend you know from the gym, yoga class, or personal relative. This might feel like the right thing to do or the obvious direction, but this is not a wise decision.  You never want to feel guilt or obligation.

4 Steps to Sell a House During a Divorce

  • Step 1: Get on the Same Page With Your Spouse
  • Step 2: Decide on the Best Time to Sell a House During a Divorce
  • Step 3: Prepare the Home for Sale
  • Step 4: List the House

Divorce is hard enough: Allow yourself to get help.

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