How to sell a house during a divorce

MacNificent Properties LLC
Published on December 8, 2021

How to sell a house during a divorce

Although estimates differ depending on who is asked, 40 to 50 percent of all American marriages end in divorce.

There’s a piece of trivia to take to heart during those long, often confusing nights when you stay awake and wonder “What happened?”

But now is not the time to dwell on the past, but to deal with what’s currently happening. As painful as it may be, separating the marriage assets in preparation for the divorce is one of the uglier aspects of divorce.

There are several options as to what to do with the house when couples split up. The most common among these include:

  • One party keeps the home by buying the other’s share.
  • One party retains occupancy of the home temporarily (such as to raise the couple’s children in the family home).
  • The house is sold and the proceeds split between the parties, according to their agreement.

If you and your soon-to-be-former spouse have decided to sell your home, we’d like to help you learn what to expect from the process.

The listing process

Listing a home is typically a pretty straightforward process but, unless the two of you remain on good terms, the “typical” doesn’t apply during a divorce sale.

Every aspect of the listing must be a joint agreement, from how much work you’ll do to prepare the home for the market to how much to ask for the home.

Easier said than done at this point in the marriage, right?

We understand that it may seem impossible to come to a meeting of the minds so what we do is arm both of you with the information that may help you get there.

We’ll tour the home, making note of what we think should be done to prepare. We’ll work diligently to come up with an attractive yet aggressive list price for the home. From there, it’s up to the two of you.

This is the part of the process where, despite the memories the home holds, despite the dreams that may be dashed at this point, you’ll need to also divorce yourself from your emotions wrapped up in it.

Only then will the two of you be open to advice on what needs to be done to sell the home quickly and for top dollar.

The marketing process

We won’t tell other agents or prospective buyers why you’re selling your home, so if you want them to know about the divorce, you’ll need to give us permission to blab.

It’s truly none of anyone else’s business and, sadly, we’ve learned that news of a divorce sale causes many buyers to submit ridiculously low offers.

While living in a home that’s on the market is challenging to most who sell, when there is rancor in the house it becomes even more difficult. Keeping the house presentable at all times is hard even under the best conditions and last-minute requests to view an already disrupted home life need to be expected, planned for and accommodated.

The offers to purchase

Reviewing offers as they come in is probably the most challenging part of the process. Nothing will happen with an offer unless the two of you are in complete agreement.

This agreement extends to everything that a buyer may want to negotiate, from time limits for the removal of contingencies to price.

Discuss this up front. If you can agree to at least put your differences aside during this aspect of the purchase process it will go a long way toward a successful outcome.

Dividing the proceeds

Both of you will need to meet with your lawyers in advance of the sale to determine how to divide the proceeds from the sale. Once we have a buyer, we’ll submit instructions to the escrow company outlining the distribution agreement and the escrow officer will take it from there.

Distribution needs to be determined before we get an offer to purchase.

We have worked with many clients who are in your exact situation so we understand the challenges you face. It’s our goal to make the process as easy on both of you as possible.

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