Selling a home is difficult even in the best of situations. If you are in the midst of a divorce, though, it can be downright traumatic. Before you put your house on the market, you might want to consider a few basic tips. While they may not magically make the process of selling your home a pleasant one, they may help to make it easier for you and your ex to get through this step and move on with your lives.
Make Agreements Ahead of Time
One of the best moves you can make is to put every agreement in writing before you put the home on the market. Make a binding agreement that you will sell the house, that you will ask for a specific price, and that you will only accept a bid that is over a certain amount. You should leave nothing to chance or agreement later on, as you never know what’s going to happen during your divorce. Putting things in writing gives your attorney something to work with, and it can give you a shield behind which you can hide if your ex becomes unreasonable.
Because divorce and real estate laws differ from one area to another, make sure that your attorney is familiar with the local legal requirements. If you live in Utah, for example, a Salt Lake City divorce attorney will be able to give you better advice about the legal aspects of selling a home in a divorce case than an attorney based in Denver. Even if you have a connection to a lawyer somewhere else in the country, they may be able to refer you to someone local, who is more familiar with local legislation.
Work with an Agent
The months following a divorce are not the time for you to try to sell a house on your own. You need to work with an agent, and specifically an agent who has dealt with selling homes during a divorce. You do not need the extra stress that is involved with a For Sale by Owner arrangement, and putting all the responsibility in the hands of one party is a good way to spark another fight. Make sure your agent knows exactly what is going on and that he or she is prepared to deal with a situation that might not be all that pleasant.
Build Contingency Plans
What happens if something goes wrong during the sale? Who is responsible for making repairs if something comes up during the inspection? These are questions that need to be addressed before you put the house on the market. Making a general agreement—in writing—about responsibilities is the best way to avoid a fight when you are trying to sell the home. The key here should be efficiency, so make sure you are putting the responsibilities in the hands of the party who is best able to resolve issues quickly.
Present a United Front
Regardless of the reason for your divorce, you need to present a united front while you sell the home. That means working together to make sure that everything is taken care of and never trying to undermine the other party. This can be difficult if one party is forcing the sale, but it’s necessary. Remember, you have a very good reason for getting rid of the house, and selling of it will put money in your and your ex’s pockets. This is something that benefits you both, so don’t sabotage things due to raw emotions.
Perhaps more than any other time in your divorce, this is a time to remove emotions from the equation. While your home carries memories both good and bad, you’ve got to move past them. If you are selling your home specifically to split the proceeds in the divorce, try to remember that you are satisfying a legal requirement. There will be plenty of time to feel emotional about the process after it is done, but during the sale is not the proper time.
Try to look at your home sale primarily as a financial matter. Keep emotions out of things, and always put your agreements in writing. Once you sell your home, you can begin to process your emotions and move on with your life. While you are selling, though, it’s best to remain professional and let the people with experience handle the business aspects. The sale will close before you know it, which will bring you one step closer to rebuilding your life.