The ordeal of putting your home up for sale can strain even the happiest marriages. If you and your soon-to-be-ex are selling your home as you divorce, the tensions that are probably already running high between you can stall the process, hurt the home’s marketability or cause you to make unwise decisions that will help you be in a strong financial position after your divorce.
Perhaps the wisest decision you can make upfront is to hire a real estate agent with experience and special training in selling homes for divorcing couples. These are called real estate divorce specialists. Their job is to help both spouses and not show favoritism toward one. However, a couple has to agree on a real estate professional and trust that they’re there to help them sell the home for the best possible price without unnecessary delays and conflicts.
Key decisions you’ll need to make
When you first sit down with your agent, you’ll need to have a number of decisions made (or at least be prepared to make them). These include:
- What’s the minimum price at which you’re willing to sell? Your agent can give you an idea of what you can expect to get given the housing market in your area.
- How are you dividing the costs of repairs, staging and other expenses associated with selling the home? Also, how much money are you prepared to put into upgrades to increase the asking price?
- Which one of you will be living in the home while it’s on the market? It’s typically best if it looks lived-in.
- How involved with the various decisions and issues do each of you want to be? Sometimes, spouses will divide up responsibility for everything except the major decisions, like accepting an offer.
Experienced divorce real estate specialists are typically good at communicating with each spouse separately so that estranged couples don’t need to have any more joint phone calls, text exchanges or Zoom meetings than necessary.
Selling the family home is often the best option — and maybe the only viable one. It may be impossible for one person to keep a home that it took two incomes to afford. Don’t let your fear of working together with your soon-to-be-ex to sell your home keep you from doing what makes the most financial sense for both of you.