A divorce is a difficult time for all parties involved. There are many tasks to complete and emotions can be wildly intense. It can be difficult to get through the sale of a house for any couple, and divorce can complicate every issue. If you're ready to get started, click here. Read on for some key points that sellers should address when creating a plan to list their home for sale during a divorce.
Selecting an Agent
People often select agents based on recommendations of family and friends. Each of the sellers must feel confident that the agent has their best interest as the primary objective. It can cause problems if one spouse feels as though the agent is "siding" with the other spouse, either through having a closer personal relationship with that side of the family, or if the agent is just closer to the other spouse.
Many sellers don't want their personal situation complexities to be shared with an agent who has any affiliation to family or friends. Confidentiality is of utmost importance in all real estate transactions, especially those with the added stress and legal complications of divorce. First decide if you're comfortable with hiring somebody in your circle. Then, consider the qualifications of the agent and whether or not they have the knowledge, experience, and marketing budget to get the home sold both effectively, and for top dollar.
Your agent must be able to get the home sold, and do it under potentially tense circumstances. Make sure you hire a professional that will get the job done, and also have the sensitivity and insight to manage and reduce needless transaction drama along the way. People at the end of a marriage don't need any additional reasons to argue and stress. If both parties can't agree on whom to hire, the attorneys and court may appoint an agent. In this case, it's like a roll of the dice for what you will get. Do your very best to agree on an agent, even if you have to ask an agent you know to refer you to an agent with no affiliation to either side. Click here to schedule a consultation, or to ask for a referral.
Define Responsibilities and Expectations
Selling a house requires some preparation and some additional maintenance throughout the process. It is best to outline these details with your spouse and create a plan. The communication component of selling during a divorce can be the biggest challenge. It can often be more productive to limit the amount of unnecessary discussion about the tasks and updates. Establish a communication schedule to reduce the opportunity for arguments along the way. Any information that is not time sensitive can be postponed until the scheduled information exchange.
The following items should be addressed at the very beginning of the process:
- Work with your agent to identify necessary home repairs, upgrades, and cleaning projects.
- Decide either who will do the work or who will arrange to have it done, and by when.
- Set a budget for your preparation tasks and stick to it.
- Decide if you will have one point person to keep contact with the agent, or if both parties want equal communication throughout the process.
- Discuss the details regarding how to handle showings, especially when there are pets and/or children involved.
- Work with your agent on a pricing and negotiation strategy that both parties will find acceptable.
- Set up a schedule to touch base with each other for future discussion topics, updates, and information exchanges.
While selling a house during a divorce, disagreements can be dramatically reduced and even eliminated when expectations and responsibilities are clearly defined from the start. Your agent can often help by providing structure to the process, as well as giving advice and referrals for home projects. Ultimately you still want to achieve a top dollar sales outcome, so you can at least be united toward that goal.