Over these last 32 years I’ve been accidentally asked by Valued Clients to step into the shoes of a Marriage Counselor, a role I’ve never claimed to be an expert, but sometimes that unwelcomed territory just tries to make a claim.
I have learned some truths I hope may help any couple not getting along, contemplating disposing of their marriage, and wondering the best way to handle their home.
I once served a Couple who I told should consider marketing a workshop to show how to create a really smooth divorce.
They were level headed enough to go to the local Office Max store to purchase divorce forms. They agreed to sit down to work out a plan of how to fairly separate their assets and move on in life as respected distant friends.
No, not every couple can do this, so here is what I’ve learned over the years through serving Couples who decide they no longer like one another.
Allow me to clear up some irreconcilable myths as they relate to real estate.
ARGUING IS NOT NORMAL?
Even the most harmonious Couples find moments when they just have to agree to disagree. Please don’t think there is something wrong with the two of you when you find yourself in the midst of the blowout of blowouts. Please don’t make emotional decisions about your future, especially when it comes to your most valuable long-term asset your home. Allow yourselves to get to the place of rational thinking before making the big huge grand decision about your home.
Sell home only to make money and improve your future!
Numerous times I’ve been called to present a market evaluation, only to find through considerate probing they really don’t want to sell. They needed me more to tell them in an evolving relationship this is normal stuff folks.
SELL THIS UNHAPPY HOME AND BUY A NICER HOME WILL FIX OUR DISSAGREEMENTS, OR OUR NOT LIKING EACH OTHER?
Imagine how it breaks my heart to sell the home of a Couple I adore, sell them another home, for them to discover the new home is filled with some old tired baggage they should have fixed at the old home before departing it.
I’VE EXPERIENCED THIS HAPPEN ENOUGH I CAN BOLDLY TELL THEM THEY MUST FIX THEIR PROBLEMS IN THEIR PRESENT LOCATION BEFORE THEY CAN EXPECT TO ENJOY UNCONDITIONAL ROMANTIC BLISS IN THEIR NEW LOCATION!
USE YOUR REALTOR AND/OR YOUR HOME AS A WEAPON AGAINST YOUR ESTRAINED SPOUSE?
I hope no Couple gets to the place of hating.
Hating can do amazing damage to their finances.
Hating is a big huge grand costly time waster.
Hating will cause others to profit from your hating!
Please understand your Realtor and your home should be neutral territory.
We are required to abide by a code of ethics ordering Realtors to conduct ourselves ethically at all times.
We simply can never favor one spouse over the other. Our duty is to simply give resourceful mutual guidance on the best price to market the home as it relates to the current market conditions, market the home affectively to attract the most motivated cooperative Buyer, effectively help you negotiate the highest possible sales price, and appropriately manage the deal pending process to get you to the closing table.
PLEASE DON’T EXPECT YOUR AGENT TO NEGOTIATE BETWEEN THE TWO OF YOU HOW YOU SETTLE AND/OR DIVIDE YOUR EQUITY BETWEEN YOU TWO!
Most importantly, don’t allow your hate to cause you to beat up your home. Your home is innocent in all this. It does not deserve to be torn up like you tore up your marriage. Beat it up and you’ll beat up your pocketbook.
One final thought before I allow my respected Colleague below to share some more vital tips. If, you have equity in your home don’t allow yourselves to be so disagreeable you just allow the home to go into foreclosure.
My heart has been broken a few times when I’ve observed Couples I adore just walk away from their equity, only to witness a smart Investor snatch-up their foreclosed home for a few dimes on a dollar, update and clean it up for another dime on a dollar, and turn around to make a whole bunch of dollars.
I promise you no matter what front you put up for the public to see, deep in your heart of hearts you’ll be regretting the sizable equity you just gave away because you didn’t want your distained partner to benefit; and you both will have to eat that regret which will haunt you.
It is no secret, nor is it unusual, for Real Estate Professionals to encounter clients selling homes, who often remind folks of the movie, "War of the Roses."
Often the reason for selling involves divorcing couples looking to separate their lives, while also realizing living apart before the home is sold isn’t a financial reality. If you are one of those couples, who must continue co-habiting until getting your house sold, there are things you can do to make life easier in the interim.
It is important to understand that staying together can actually have a positive effect on marketing your home. Home Buyers can have a knack for sniffing out signs of Sellers in distress. Seeing that a couple continues to be together in a home can remove a bit of the appearance of distress - even if it is painful for you!
If you are a divorcing couple and find yourself in forced cohabitation, until your home sells, there are a few things that you can do to make the experience a little easier.
1) The two of you should sit down and discuss your situation as peacefully as possible. Perhaps putting yourselves into a mindset that you will continue as roommates for a few months until the house is sold. You are together in the house in the physical sense - even though the emotional sense has changed.
(2) Negotiate with each other the mortgage payments, utilities, and other household expenses, and address the duties for upkeep. Doing this early on, will help alleviate problems from popping up, in the midst of this living arrangement, which weren't addressed early on.
(3) If there are children in the home, please put the children and their well-being first and paramount in your consideration. Doing so, will help you focus on things more important than your own discomfort. If the children suffer less distress, it will be easier for all of you.
With a little thought and consideration, you can be successful in selling your home, and making what could be a bad situation work well, and to your benefit.
Good Luck to you!