We know that going through a divorce is a very emotional time. We don’t know what we don’t know about the long-term effects of divorce. That is why you need a team of professionals to assist you through the process and help you determine what you are going to do with your home. Your team should include a tax consultant, a Realtor, a lawyer and perhaps a lender.

My expertise is Real Estate, so I’m going to limit any suggestions I put forth to that subject.  Although I do recommend that you create a list of legal and tax questions as well.

Selling the House

Now you need to prepare for the kinds of questions that will come up in respect to selling your home. These questions could include:

  • If you want to sell it:
    • Why?  Knowing if your reason to sell your home is emotional or financial can help you make better decisions.
    • What is your exit stagey when the home sells?
      • Will you rent or buy a replacement property?
      • Will you stay with family or friend’s temporality until everything settles down?
    • Will you and/or your spouse stay in the home until it sells?
    • Who will be responsible for maintenance during the selling process?
    • Who will be responsible for the mortgage and other maintenance bills like gardener, pool maintenance, etc.?

What is The Market Like?

This is one of the most important questions you need to ask during the divorce process. You may think you can answer it yourself with a lot of research and effort. However, since this process is so emotional, you are definitely better off with a Realtor who specializes in working with people getting divorced. Your Realtor can tell you what the market is like and recommend the best way for you to proceed with the sale of your home. What is the current market value of your home?

    • What is your Equity Position?
      • Positive: You will have proceeds to split after all liens and expenses are paid.
      • Neutral: You break even
      • Negative: You owe more on the house than current market value will yield.

(Does this affect your decision to stay or sell?)

    • Who will choose the Realtor?  
      • Sometimes you want your Realtor and your spouse wants their Realtor.  You should choose 1 Realtor together that you both trust and you are both confident won’t take sides.  This is very important.  You don’t want to add 2 more people into an already potentially tense situation.
      • Of course, you may have a friend or relative that is a Realtor.  They may not be a good choice.  They may be too close to the situation, or worst through the process get too close.  Either way it can be a potential disaster and change the future of your relationship forever.
    • Will the Realtor need to communicate with you both together or make separate arrangement?
    • Can you and your spouse agree on important decisions?
      • The list price can be an argument starter, can you both agree to follow the Realtors advise if you both chose them?
      • If an offer comes in, can you both agree to move forward?
      • If you get to a point that you can’t agree, do you have a 3rd party that you both respect enough to be a tie breaker, and you will follow their advice so the process can move forward?

Keeping the House

  • Is getting the house in the divorce settlement the best option for you? Are there other assets that would be more beneficial to you? To answer this, you need to know the market value of the home versus what you owe on it. You also need to ask your Realtor what the benefits of selling are versus holding on to the home for a while.
    • Why keep it?  Again, knowing if your reason to keep your home is emotional or financial can help you make better decisions.
    • Who will stay in the home?
    • Will the staying spouse be buying out the exiting spouse?
    • Will the exiting spouse stay on the mortgage (if any)?
      • Do you know how that will affect your tax liability?
      • Do you know how that will affect your credit?
      • Do you know how that will affect your future ability to buy or selling property?
    • Will the exiting spouse stay on title?
      • Will the way you both hold title now, change?  
        • If so, how will the new title be held?
    • Have you investigated or talked with a tax professional about the tax consequences of staying or selling now or later?
    • Have you discussed your plans with your spouse, and are you negotiating or are you in agreement?
      • If you’re negotiating, do you have a back-up plan if the negotiations don’t go your way?
      • If you’re in agreement have you gotten this in writing and have you talked with legal counsel about the agreement?

The rest of the business of a real estate sale, would be pretty much the same outside of the divorce process.

Obviously, these are not all the questions you need to consider, but this should get you started.  

If you’ve read any of my other blogs you know I truly believe putting together the right team and leaning on them for their particular expertise may just help get you through this process with as little pain as possible.

If you think I can help you, feel free to contact me.