You and your soon-to-be-ex have decided to sell your home as you divorce and split the proceeds. It’s a seller’s market, so you can both walk away with a tidy sum of money to help start your new lives. What could go wrong?
Plenty. Selling a home can put even the happiest couples at odds with one another. It can be an impossible task for already estranged couples. There are even real estate divorce specialists who are trained and certified to deal with the particular challenges of selling a home in divorce – for example, when the owners no longer trust each other and are barely on speaking terms.
Even if you and your spouse are too mature to let your differences get in the way of selling your home, you’re not immune from making some common mistakes that can prevent you from getting the best possible price as quickly as possible. Let’s look at just a couple of the things these divorce specialists warn about.
Vacating the home
It’s always best to show a home when someone is still living there. Your real estate agent will probably “stage” it, but they likely can’t fill an empty home with furniture and accessories. If potential buyers and their agents know the owners have already moved out (or worse, know about the divorce), they’ll assume you’re in a hurry to sell and won’t necessarily hold out for a better offer. That’s why it’s best if one of you remains in the home until it’s sold.
Not dealing with maintenance and repair issues
As your marriage was faltering, your spouse was probably less willing to respond to your requests about fixing the leaky faucets (or you were that spouse who started to ignore these chores). Now there are probably a lot of minor repairs that can help you raise the asking price. If one of you can take care of them, it will save you the cost of a handyman or a plumber, painters and other professionals.
Whether you choose to bring in a real estate divorce specialist or not, at least find an agent you both trust, and then listen to them. The sooner you can close the sale on your home for the price it’s worth, the better idea you’ll have of your financial situation going forward as you work out the rest of your property division and other divorce agreements.