Selling Your Home During a Divorce
Oct. 7, 2019
Selling or buying home can try anyone's patience. Throw in an ongoing divorce, and it could easily turn into an experience to forget. Realtors run into this situation all the time. Here are a few of their tips to make the experience less painful, less difficult, and more efficient for everyone:
Suck it up and cooperate. Remember, if the sale or purchase falls through, both sides often lose. You may have to remain in the same home together (even after the divorce is completed.) You may delay getting your share of the equity for several months. Remember, in most cases, both people have to sign documents even if just one name is on the deed or mortgage. So just one argument when emotions are running high can blow a sale.
Prevent some issues by getting specific about your home sale in your court orders. Decide if you will list the home based on a comparative market analysis, an appraisal, or if you two can agree on a different amount. Consider adding contingencies in the listing contract. For example, accepting any offer within a certain percentage of the asking price. Specify if proceeds from the sale can go directly into an escrow account and avoid fighting over that money at the time of sale.
Fully communicate with your realtor. Divorces are by nature private and personal things. People don't generally like to share with anyone. But if you keep your realtor in the dark about some material fact or some aspect of the home, you're only going to damage your own position. If necessary, authorize your realtor to talk with the divorce attorneys. Realtors are there to see the home. The easier you make it on them, the easier it will be on you.
Be on time and responsive. It's easy to get bummed out or non responsive during a divorce. However, this is another area where dragging your feet is not in your own best interests. If your realtor or lender needs documents, produce them. If the closing is set at 3:00 pm, don't come strolling in at 4:15 pm. And don't get into a passive-aggressive battle with your soon to be ex-spouse. The goal is to sell or buy the home. If your spouse drags their feet, but it's something that you can do instead, then do it. If you get caught up in that kind of game-playing, delay and wasted opportunities will be your rewards. Think of it as a marathon. The important thing is that you finish.