Divorce is never easy on anyone involved. There are some major life changes and decisions that need to be made. If you own a home, this is one of those major decisions. If neither spouse wants to stay in the family home or if neither can afford to stay in the family home, the best solution is to sell the house quickly and move on. Having someone help facilitate the sale that can be understanding and able to work calmly and fairly with both sides is important.
1. Pick the Right Agent
While it is possible to sell a house without a real estate agent, during a divorce is definitely not the time. You need someone that can play middleman between both of you and can will help ease tensions. Your real estate agent should be someone that you both agree on and honestly, this agent should not be someone that is friend or relative of either of you. This is now a business transaction and you need someone who will be neutral and fair, while giving both of you the information that is needed. Throughout a divorce sale, you need someone that is calm and understanding to both of your wants and needs. Most of all, you need an agent that can sell the house quickly for the most profit possible. What I just described are all the characteristics that I have when helping people sell their homes during the difficult time of a divorce.
2. Determine a Reasonable Asking Price
Because this sale is due to a divorce, you will want to get this house sold quickly and move on from this. While a fair asking price is ideal, you do not want to price the house too high and wait, lower the price, wait, lower the price, etc. This will require too much tension between everyone involved. The selling price needs to be something that will get the house sold as fast as possible, without giving it away. I will give you comparables in the market of what other similar homes have sold for and what I believe your house could sell for.
I wrote a blog about the 3 factors that may impact the sales price of your home that might be helpful to read.
3. Prepare the House for Showings
Probably one of the most difficult parts of this process is preparing the house for showings. You will need to get repairs done, paint, deep cleaning, remove clutter, and generally make the house show like something people will want to buy. Unless you are buying homes for renovations, most people want to see a home that is kept up, clean, and free of major defects. Here you can find the 3 unchanging rules of selling your home. I will give advice as to what needs to be done in order to have the house best ready to sell.
4. Deciding on the Best Offer
Once offers start coming in, I will present the offer to both of you individually. You will both need to decide if the offer is acceptable and if not, what counter offers you want to give. Again, this transaction is about selling and moving on. Naturally you want to get the most profit you can from the sale of this home but this is not the time to play hardball on minor things. In order to actually get the house sold, BOTH of you will need to agree on the offer in order to move forward.
5. Splitting the Profits
Unless the divorce decree states otherwise, when the house sells, there will be a split of profits (if there are any profits) at the closing. The title company handle all necessary payouts at closing. First they will pay off the existing mortgage(s), then fees for those involved with the real estate transaction, and then any left over profits will be split between you. If one spouse has been making the mortgage payments while another spouse has moved out, this has reduced the principle balance and increased the equity of the house. This should be considered when distributing the profits of the sale.
No one likes to see people go through a divorce and no one wants to see a family be disrupted, however these unfortunate times will require the help of professionals. I sincerely hope your family does not have to experience a divorce but if you do, I am a professional with experience in this situation and I am here to help.