Real Estate Mistakes in Divorce

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Executive Realty 91362

Handling a Home Sale Going When Going Through A Divorce

Are you going through a divorce? Most homeowners going through a divorce know that selling the family home is one of the most stressful parts of the divorce experience. When selling a house going through a divorce, not only does it mean that both parties need to find a new home, but there are financial and emotional implications that need to be taken into consideration.

If you have children, you need to find a new house suitable for them and the changing family dynamics. This is not a comfortable situation to find yourself in. Real estate mistakes in divorce are far too easy to make.

Keep reading for some of the most critical things that both husband and wife should settle on when it comes to the family homestead.

Selling The House

Selling the home is often harder when you have children. If you don’t have a family, selling the home is perhaps the best solution to go for if you can. But even so, there are many things that you need to think about when it comes to selling the property.

First of all, you need to agree on what real estate agent to use. If you are already fighting, this is often difficult. Try to set personal feelings aside and move on as quickly as you can. It is advisable to use a real estate agent neither one of you knows all that well personally.

The real estate agent, above all else, needs to be a neutral party who is working with both parties jointly in their best interests. Sometimes human nature gets in the way. Lots of real estate agents end up playing favorites because they are sympathetic to the plight of one of the parties. Neutrality is a vital skill of the agent you hire. Playing favorites is the mark of someone who is unprofessional.

It makes the interview process that much more important when selling a home in a divorce. Here are some tips on how to pick a real estate agent.

What about the condition of the home? Does the house need to be staged or significant improvements made before an offer will be accepted and earnest money collected? A well-maintained house will sell faster than a home that has not been looked after. Buyers in today's real estate environment prefer turn-key properties. Those that are not are much harder to sell and often languish on the market.

Who is going to do the work, and most importantly, who is going to pay for it? These are essential questions that should be discussed before the home is listed for sale. Also, you need to avoid doing these things when selling a house. You will be creating your own self-inflicted mistakes.

Buying The Other Partner Out

Buying the other partner out is one way of solving the problem of who gets the house. These days, it is unlikely the house will be handed to you on a silver platter. Some women think that they are “entitled” to take over the house, especially when kids are involved. It is not as easy as that.

When a partner earns more than the other partner, he or she may want to take over the entire mortgage. This means you still need to get the property valued, and you need to get the relevant finance in place.

Achieving a fair price is not the easiest thing in the world. It is vital not to have a win at all costs attitude when it comes to figuring out what will happen with the home. Doing so is a significant mistake.

Signing the House Over

Yes, this still happens. Sometimes one partner signs the house over to the other person. Traditionally, it is been the man who has done this, but more and more women are doing so.

Women look at the process slightly different. Signing the house over is a way for them not to part with any cold hard cash they have in the bank.

Once again, certain financial commitments must be met and agreed upon. Are you going to continue paying the mortgage, or is your partner going to take over the mortgage? What is going to happen to the deed?

Often the best way to move forward is to consult a lawyer from day one to ensure that the process goes as smoothly as possible. If you can agree without contracting separate lawyers, you will save money. More and more folks are going the route of mediation when both parties are amicable.

How About Selling the Home in The Future?

Sometimes the real estate market dictates when a home should be sold. Is the real estate environment favoring buyers or sellers at the moment? If you can look at your home as an investment, not just a family home, it is a good idea to think about selling the house in the future. One partner could live in the house, or you could both make some money and rent it out.

With a bit of luck, the rent would pay, or partially-pay, the mortgage. You agree to sell the house when the property market is more buoyant, or when the mortgage has been paid off. There are many ways to work around this issue.

One of the most substantial real estate mistakes in divorce is selling when you don't have to.

What you need to recognize is that although money plays a role, so does the way you feel about things. If it is easier for you to sell the house right away, you should do so.

All couples going through a home sale because of a divorce should try to focus on making sure they agree on an amicable split. That means getting as much money for the house as possible.

There are many case scenarios that you may come up against, and that can make a divorce home sale more challenging. What if you have a problem with negative equity, or if one partner provided more money towards the home than the other?

It could mean that one partner feels that he or she should benefit more from the home sale.

Try to talk it through and then seek advice to find the best solution for you. This is how to survive both a divorce and a home sale.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, you have gotten something out of these tips for selling a home while going through a divorce. Use your better judgment and try to minimize any mistakes that could have been avoided.

Getting a divorce and selling a home are two of life's most stressful events. Putting them together makes it just that much worse.

Additional Real Estate Advice Worth Knowing

  • What to know about home inspections - see some helpful guidance on what both buyers and sellers should understand about the home inspection process. The home inspection is one of the biggest hurdles in a real estate transaction. Quite often it is where a home sale will fall through.
  • Tips for changing your address - whether you are buying or selling a home, you'll be moving. See what you need to know about changing your address, including how to do it and who to notify.
  • How to go from renting to owning - are you planning on becoming a first-time homeowner? See what you need to do to prepare to go from being a renter to owning a house. The handy tips found at Realty Biz News will make the process go a whole lot smoother.

All of the above articles are loaded with exceptional advice from years of experience in the real estate industry. Take the time to educate yourself before buying or selling your next home.


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Bill Gassett is a thirty-two year veteran to the real estate industry. He enjoys providing helpful information to buyers, sellers and fellow real estate agents to make sound decisions. His work has been featured on RIS Media, National Association of Realtors, Inman News, Placester, RESAAS, Credit Sesame and others.


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Rose Mary Justice
Synergy Realty Pros - Dandridge, TN
Synergy Realty Pros

You have given a good guide for divorcing couples.  I know this has to be a hard time for all involved. there is never a happy ending, but maybe relief to one party or the other.

Dec 01, 2019 05:49 PM #1
Barbara Todaro
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Franklin, MA
Marketing Agent for The Todaro Team

Good morning, Bill Gassett Attorneys create messy divorces!!  just sayin'.... it's a money maker for them if the couple allows it to be.... we did our own but each had an attorney... "you take this home, I'll take that one".... worked well !!

Dec 02, 2019 03:15 AM #2
Ian Flannigan
North Texas Real Estate Team - Plano, TX
Expansion Team Builder - Investing Consultant

Great information Bill. I always enjoys your articles.

Dec 02, 2019 04:51 PM #3
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Bill Gassett

Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate
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