For some couples, selling their marital home during a divorce may be their best option. There are certain advantages to doing so, including the fact that it allows both parties the opportunity to start fresh after the divorce is over.
While it is easy to remove one spouse’s name from the title of the home, getting that individual off the mortgage is more complex. There is also the possibility that if both spouses qualified for the mortgage together, they might not be able to qualify on their own, especially if they reside in an expensive neighborhood. As such, many divorcing couples choose to put their home on the market.
Establish a property sale agreement
One of the most important steps to putting your home up for sale is to create a property sale agreement (PSA) outlining agreed upon terms. These terms include how the costs to prepare the home before it is sold should be addressed. You can also establish where the proceeds from the sale of the home will go. These proceeds often go into a blocked account so that they can be protected while any final decisions regarding property division are pending during a divorce.
The PSA should also contain an arbitration clause specifying how disputes regarding issues such as home prepping, staging, and pricing will be determined. Additionally, you and your spouse should come to a decision about who to hire as an arbitrator.
Pick an agent
Under normal circumstances, you can sell a home without an agent; however, you will want all the help you can get while you are in the middle of a divorce. Try to avoid arguing with your spouse over which agent to choose and see if the agent you worked with when you bought the house is available. If that is not an option, see if you can get a referral from a mutual friend or close family member.
Determine your asking price
Factors that impact your home’s value include but are not limited to the following:
- Comparable sales (what price other homes nearby are going for)
- Updates (repairs, remodels, renovations, and upgrades you made to the home)
Your agent will also be able to help you come up with an appropriate asking price. You may also want to have an appraisal done as well. Appraisers evaluate a house’s appearance, repairs needed, visible deterioration, and overall wear and tear to place your home a certain property rating category.
Prepare to show the house
At this point, you will need to collaborate with your spouse to get your house ready to be seen. You might need to hire professionals to help with minor plumbing repairs, painting, and landscaping tasks. You can have your agent assist with the staging part of this process. If one of you is still living in the house at this time, you will need to get things cleaned up and probably help remove clutter and furniture to prepare for this day.
Your agent will be able to provide you with advice at this time; however, both spouses will need to work together to decide what is a fair offer. When it comes time to review offers from potential buyers, put your differences aside and come to a rational decision with your spouse.
Distribute the money
The last step of this process is to figure out how to divide the proceeds from the house. The escrow company will be able to distribute the money evenly for you, so this process should not be too complicated. If your financial situation is a bit more complex, contact your lawyer or a financial advisor for assistance.
For legal assistance with your divorce, contact our firm online or call us at (206) 966-6933 to schedule a consultation.