Advice for Couples Selling a Home Because of Divorce.
I recently read a very compelling and insightful blog post by Scott Hayes on the subject of Divorce and Real Estate. Scott offers advice that should be required reading for any couple with a home to sell because of a divorce:
"As soon as a couple files for divorce, you instantly form a business relationship. When a home is involved, that is most certainly the case. Although it is very difficult to keep emotions in check, it is imperative that divorcing couples become partners in the business of home ownership."
Selling a house can be quite emotional and difficult for even the happiest of married couples. For those going through a divorce, the process of selling a home can be excrutiating. Often the pain of a divorce is enough to put even the most sane person right over the edge - add the stress of selling a home and you quite often have a situation that's absolutley unbearable....
I know. I am going through a divorce right now and it is by far THE most difficult thing I've ever done.
Sellers: If you have to sell your home because of a divorce, take Scott's advice and try to keep those emotions in check. I KNOW, I KNOW - that's easier said than done - but there's so much at stake! You could easily end up making a very costly mistake that you'll regret later on.
Do whatever you have to do to put that hurt, resentment, hate, fear or whatever else you're feeling aside. Get counseling, join a support group, spend time with family/friends who are positive and supportive, read inspiring literature, exercise, pray, meditate. Do what works best for you.
- Don't underestimate the healing power of TIME. Give yourself TIME to process the many emotions you're experiencing right now. If possible, take time to grief the loss of your marriage BEFORE you take on the sale of your house. Remember, it's a process that can't be rushed.
- Most importantly, hire a competent and reputable Realtor to represent you. Be honest about what you're going through and make sure that person has experience with your type of situation.
Remember the job of an agent representing a couple who's hostile to one another or not communicating well is extremely difficult! Your agent wants to help you - let him or her do the job and don't make it harder than it needs to be.
Agents: Please try to be patient. If you've never been divorced, then you have no idea the kind of pain your sellers might be experiencing.
- Your divorcing sellers might be acting strange or childish or unreasonable but please don't judge them. [There was once a time when I judged people who chose divorce - I believed they just didn't try hard enough to save their marriage and they were taking "the easy way out". Of course now I can say from experience that belief is NOT true.]
- If you have been through a divorce and it all went smoothly for you - try to remember not all couples are so fortunate.
- Make certain both spouses are on board with selling the house. If one is resisting your chances of achieving a successful sale are quite limited.
- Stay neutral and don't even think about taking sides. Your clients need an emotionally detatched third party that's capable of handling potentially explosive situations.
- Trust your instincts. If you have the feeling a situation might be more than you can handle or more trouble than it's worth, you're probably right. There's no shame in walking away from a listing if you're not comfortable.
Finally, when preparing a house for sale, do your best to camoflage a divorce situation - they're typically quite easy to identify. Buyers who suspect a divorce could assume a financial hardship exists, which could cause them to try to take advantage of the situation and make a lower offer than they would have otherwise made.
Check out Tony Lacy-Thompson's post on the subject of Divorce and Your Money - Nine Mistakes Couples Make With Their Finances. There's some great advice there!