Are You Sure You Want to Help Divorcing Couples Sell Their House?

Home Stager

After posting Advice for Couples Selling a Home Because of Divorce, I received so many wonderful comments and emails.  One message that I recieved came from an agent who shared that he would like to specialize in helping divorced couples sell their homes.  He asked for suggestions on how to go about markekting to this niche.  As I was crafting my reply, I was inspired to write another blog post on the subject. 

Below you will find my ideas for marketing to divorcing couples with a house to sell:     angry couple

    First of all, if you'd like to market to divorcing couples  go back and read  Advice for Couples Selling a Home Because of Divorce.  In this post you'll learn that couples going through a divorce can be very HIGH MAINTENANCE - a sentiment shared by many, many agents.  Some openly admitted that they will run [not walk] away from a listing because they just don't want to deal with the emotional rollercoaster ride.

    That said, I do see a fabulous opportunity for those agents who have the desire and the ability to take on those challenging listings!  So, how do you go about marketing to them?  I would contact and meet up with other professionals who serve the same market you're trying to reach.  Let them know in what way you are uniquely qualified to help divorcing couples divide real estate and of course suggest a reciprocal referral relationship. 

    You could try contacting lawyers in your area who handle divorce law.  The American Bar Association has a website that lists attorneys by state and specialty.  Many couples are also seeking less expensive mediation services so I'd approach mediators as well.  Couples going through a divorce often seek counseling for themselves and/or their children, so you might want to consider contacting family counselors too. Tax preparers and financial planners can also be among the first to find out about a couples plans to divorce so I'd chat with them as well.  When you meet with these professionals, ask how they market to this niche.  Be sure to let other agents in your area know about your specialty - knowing how many of them feel about taking on these clients, you may just get more than a few referrals. 

    I would also suggest finding a qualified home stager interested in joining you in a marketing campaign.    Homes that are for sale because of divorce tend to be very sad homes.  Since they're pretty easy to identify  it would be wise to camoflage a divorce situation so buyers don't try to take advantage.  A good stager can definitely help you do just that.  Again, make sure all your marketing materials stress how your services meet the very unique needs of couples going through a divorce.  (Feel their pain - remind them of their pain - then provide them the solution for making their pain go away.)

    Couples going through a divorce really need a lot of direction on how to go about dividing the family home.  Holding free workshops and seminars on how to avoid the common mistakes couples make could be very beneifical.  Be sure to invite a few other professionals mentioned above to share the stage with you.

    I'm sure there's something I've forgotten - and I'm just as certain this amazing community will fill in the blanks. So, how would YOU go about marketing to divorcing couples? 

      PS - In a previous post I shared the fact that I am in the process of going through a divorce and that this is by far one of the most difficult things I have ever had to endure.  I have to say that I was absolutely overwhelmed by the compassion, concern, phone calls and advice I received from this wonderful caring Active Rain Community - THANK YOU!!  Figuring out what to do with 3 kids, 2 businesses, and 1 house while starting a new busines has consumed much of my time - for my AR friends who don't see me around here much lately, now you know why.

      Posted by




      Karen Bernetti is a Real Estate Stager, Former Realtor®, Author, Speaker, and Owner of Staging4Smooth Transitions - specializing in assisting seniors with their downsize moves and offering Home2Home Transitions seminars. Karen is also the Social Media Manager and Administrative Coordinator for Prudential CT Realty, in Madison, CT and Co-creator of the Ready2Sellin30Days System - an interactive multi-media program teaching do-it-yourself homeowners EVERYHTING they need to know about preparing a home for sale. Stay up to date on the latest staging and home decor trends by visiting Karen & Ann's Home Sale Success Blog.  


      Comments (23)

      Peter Pfann @ eXp Realty Pfanntastic Properties in Victoria, Since 1986.
      eXp Realty, Victoria BC - Victoria, BC
      Talk To or Text Peter 250-213-9490

      Hi Karen,

      this post might need a few links to for example a supplier of body armour, ear plugs, tissue supplier, and a body guard company ;0)

      all kidding aside, working with the divorced market has some real financial advantages if you are cut out for that segment, however over the years and having worked with over 100, it is more than challenge most of the time, aside from just the real estate parts....

      Great post and information, (suggested)

      Jun 21, 2011 04:17 AM
      Joni Bailey
      101 Main St. Realty - Huntsville, TX
      Your Huntsville / Lake Livingston Area REALTOR®

      I'm suggesting it too!

      Lifting you up in prayer to The Great Comforter! xoxo

      Jun 21, 2011 04:34 AM
      Barbara Todaro
      RE/MAX Executive Realty - Retired - Franklin, MA
      Previously Affiliated with The Todaro Team

      Karen....I hate to have to say this, but the divorce rate is so high right now, that a great percentage of our listings are divorcing couples....just marketing for listings via "free market analysis" direct mail marketing programs will land you a great percentage of divorcing couples in your area.

      Jun 21, 2011 05:15 AM
      Melissa McKinney
      McKinney Realty Group - Fayetteville, NC

      Karen~ Great article! I am right smack dab in the middle of one right now and I am not liking where I am!! God bless the agent who wants to help couples through this difficult time!

      Jun 21, 2011 05:22 AM
      Karen Bernetti
      Southington, CT

      Thanks EVERYONE for stopping by.  I've lost touch with so many of you - it's a comfort to see your faces and "hear your voices" (in that strange sort of blogging way).  Please know that you are missed and that it is because of you that I'm working hard to get back on track so that I can spend more time here again!!

      Debbie Lynn -   It could potentially be a good niche as long as you know what to expect and you're adept at diffusing emotionally explosive situations!  Good luck to you.

      Charita & Randy - thanks for stopping by! 

      Mr & Mrs. Pfanntastic -  I had something like this in mind... but the body armor is actually a much better idea!



      Jun 21, 2011 05:53 AM
      Karen Bernetti
      Southington, CT

      Joni - THANK YOU my sweet friend!! 

      Barbara - The statistics are very sad indeed.

      Melissa - I wish you the best of luck with your clients - I guess if you go into knowing what to expect, it could be a good area to specialize in.  And like Barbara said, it's certainly a demographic that's growing in numbers.

      Jun 21, 2011 05:57 AM
      Allison Stewart
      St.Cloud Homes - Saint Cloud, FL
      St. Cloud Fl Realtor, Osceola County Real Estate 407-616-9904


      Excellent reference and sources- I have found few divorcing couples agree on very much- getting both parties in agreement is a challenge. Having said that; it is possible as a neutral third party to achieve a successful listing provided the parties know in advance what the bottom line will be.

      Jun 21, 2011 07:51 AM
      George Souto
      George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages - Middletown, CT
      Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert

      Karen, divorce is hard on everyone, children, family, and friends alike.  But it is hardest on the couple that is going through it, even if we only help the process a little bit, it is a lot to those going through the divorce.

      Jun 21, 2011 12:09 PM
      Donna Malone
      Waterfront, Luxury, Family, Affordable, Cottage, Deals - Bridgewater, NS
      Homes and Property for Sale Nova Scotia

      Karen, I have worked well with divorcing couples. Having been divorced myself, I can be empathetic. So far, no horror stories.

      Jun 21, 2011 02:20 PM
      Ellen Caruso
      Daniel Gale Sotheby's International Realty - Glen Head, NY

      Karen, I've been there and I know its tough, but its even worse when buyers sense it and look for a steal.

      Jun 21, 2011 02:38 PM
      Barbara Altieri
      Better Homes and Gardens RE Shore and Country Properties - Shelton, CT
      REALTOR-Fairfield County CT Homes/Condos For Sale

      Karen -- So sorry to hear of your troubles, but things will get me on that. I think you have given good advice to 'camoflage a divorce situation' .  Having to deal with divorce and all the extraneous issues is hard enough; having buyers possibly taking advantage of your situation only adds insult to injury. 

      Jun 21, 2011 03:20 PM
      Tatyana Makarov
      Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - South Windsor, CT
      Your Greater Hartford Area Realtor

      Hi Karen,

      Best of luck to you... I hope everything will work out well, and I wish the best to your three children.

      Thanks, Tatyana.

      Jun 22, 2011 02:15 AM
      Barbara "Barb" Bodnar, Licensed Associate RE Broker
      Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Yorktown, NY
      Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage

      Hi Karen

      As a broker and an LCSW, I have helped families going through separation and divorce.  It is so important for people to have good support while undergoing any stress.

      Jun 22, 2011 07:39 AM
      Donna Quinlan
      Keller Williams Realty - Newburyport, MA
      Keller Williams Realtor & Career Consultant


      Sounds like you are doing a good job getting through a very touch situation. I've been there. I wish you the best!

      Jun 22, 2011 12:38 PM
      Lora Willms
      Network Funding, L.P. NMLS #2297, NMLS #222026 - Mequon, WI
      Mortgage Loans in Wisconsin, Illinois & Texas

      Hi Karen, I am a residential mortgage loan officer who also works with divorce attorneys. It is extremely important to meet with the clients before the divorce decree is finalized not only to help the clients remove their interest in a property if the other is keeping the home, but also to help structure the family support/child support income and debts in order to purchase again in the future.  A huge area of concern is to remind each client to remove their names from joint credit accounts in order to keep thier credit scores in tact!  I have an entire divorce package made up to help cover all areas usually missed in the financial side of the process.  I empathize with each one of my clients during this stressful time, but feel great that I am the person helping and guiding them through the financial side of divorce.  Future happiness to you!  Best, Lora

      Jun 23, 2011 10:44 AM
      Sandy Acevedo
      951-290-8588 - Chino Hills, CA
      RE/MAX Masters, Inland Empire Homes for Sale

      Divorces and Moving are already two very high stress situations. When you combine them with two warring factions, its a recipe for high maintenance and more stress. Good luck.

      Jun 23, 2011 05:49 PM
      Alicia Barrington
      Houston Home Staging Presents Alicia Barrington

      Last year I consulted a couple who (after a 40+ year marriage) decided to go their seperate ways.   We had a very nice initial meeting (where I didn't know that they were divorcing), and I inadvertantly tossed out some relationiship advice.   I don't know if my advice worked, or if the notion of decluttering after 40 years of accumulation was too daunting a task - either way, no divorce, no staging (sigh), and I hear they're happy!   So, once again, we see, that:  Staging Works! <G>

      Jun 24, 2011 02:36 AM
      Julia Maher
      Nestings: Connecticut Home Staging and Model Homes - Fairfield, CT
      Connecticut Home Stager

      Karen:  So sorry for your troubles...great post about treading lightly yet with a lot of empathy for clients in a divorce situation.  If we can make the house happy again, the parting couple will be too - once they sell quickly and can move on!

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