4 Tips on Selling a House During a Divorce

Signing divorce certificate

While it’s hard to nail down a figure of exactly how many divorces are happening across the U.S., there are tens of millions.

In many divorces, there is property to worry about, kids to deal with, and assets to manage fairly. Selling a house during a divorce is a strange and stressful affair but thankfully there are plenty of precedents.

If you’re trying to sell, follow these four tips to ensure a speedy sale.

Why do you want to sell?

1. Understand Why You Want to Sell

If you’re looking to sell your home, you should start with an understanding of your motivation to sell. If you’re selling out of spite and would prefer to stay in the home, second guess your impulse to sell.

There are lots of valid reasons to sell but if you don’t have one, then you should keep the home and then pay your spouse their half.

Some people choose to sell if they can’t come up with the other half of the cost of the home that they own with their spouse. The profit you get from the sale allows each spouse the opportunity to move on with a solid financial foundation. If you don’t want to stay in the home where you have too many memories, this is also a great reason.

When you sell before your divorce is finished, if you can come to an agreement, then you’ll pay your fees more easily. There are lots of debts to clear up at the end of a relationship before you move on. If you want to deal with all of your financial responsibilities in advance, this is a great way to start.

Even if you could afford to pay for half of the home, you might not want to. Keeping a home in order costs money. The property taxes alone might be too much for you to bear as you attempt to start your new life with a single income instead of two.

Real estate agents

2. Find an Agent

It’s important to seek out an agent who understands what you’re looking for.

While it’s totally feasible to sell a house without an agent, with everything you need to think about during your divorce, it’s a good idea. Putting the home sale in someone else’s hands means that you’ll be on top of what’s going on in your own life.

There’s a lot of stress with selling a home. Don’t spend time arguing for the right agent.

Come up with a few options and see which one works for your ex. If you liked the agent who sold you the house, it’s actually pretty common to use that agent again.

Agreeing is tough, so sometimes you might want to pick a friend or a neutral third party who you already know and trust. You could even choose two agents to find a third. If you pick two people from the same company, they’ll all figure out how to divide the commission.

The most important thing that an agent offers is the ability to take this off of your plate. Rather than worrying about the cost of selling or the time commitment, leaving it in the hands of an agent ensures that it’ll sell and go at a price that makes sense for you.

Vintage adding machine with prices

3. Picking a Price

Obviously, when you’re dividing the results in half, you’re going to want to choose a home price that’s high. However, unless you’ve done a lot of work on the home, it’s going to be tough to ask for a price above fair market value.

Talk to your agent and see what they have to say. If your neighborhood has increased in value since you first moved there, your home could be worth a lot more than it was at the start. This makes it much easier to pick a price for selling the home.

Using an expert means that you’ll be selling for a price that makes sense. While they obviously want as much of a commission as possible, they also want to ensure that the home sells. When they choose a price that’s appropriate, they make sure the house sells and that you get what you’re looking for.

If the agent seems to have an opinion that neither you nor your ex agrees with, then it might be time to seek another broker. Another agent could bring a new perspective. However, if they give you the same price or something close, then consider this a reality check.

Splitting the sale

4. Dividing Your Sale

Once you’ve sold the home, it’s vital to divide the proceeds accordingly. The ideal way to do this is to have an agreement in place in advance. If one spouse takes the lead when it comes to the sale, they can ensure that they get more than their share to cover their time and effort.

In general, it’s not as complicated as you might fear. Escrow companies deal with this all of the time and distribute the money without you having to do anything. After everyone has been paid or any debts have been covered, then the money is distributed.

If one spouse has paid the mortgage on their own, they’ll be able to claim more and get a reimbursement. The amount to be divided might look larger, but it should be fairly distributed to ensure that the person paying the most gets reimbursed.

Distributions should be relative to the paid contributions. Take some time to research more information before you sell.

Tiny houses

Selling a House During a Divorce Isn’t Hard

If you’re considering selling a house during a divorce, you don’t have to wait until the divorce is finalized. As stated above, it’s clear that there are some advantages to selling while the divorce is settling.

If you want to get a new home to replace your old one, check out our guide to the latest on real estate loans.

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