Divorce and Selling a House: What You Need to Know

Even the most peaceful of divorces can be stressful and frustrating. I know firsthand the struggles that come along with divorce as I personally went through the process myself in 2010. Add selling a house into the mix, and things can get downright hectic.

However, pre-planning and hiring the right industry professional can help the process run more smoothly. Check out our advice on going through a divorce and selling a house.


Reasons for Selling Your Home During a Divorce

There are several reasons why people choose to sell their homes before, during, or after a divorce.

  • Keeping the home would be too challenging emotionally. With years of memories and sentimental value, sometimes selling a marital home is the best option.
  • Many divorcing couples sell their home for financial reasons. Perhaps one party cannot afford a mortgage on their own, or they don’t have enough income for maintenance and other homeownership costs. Additionally, some people need their portion of the home sale proceeds to move on with their new life.
  • Some couples sell because a judge or court has ordered it.


Decide to Sell the Home

Assuming the home sale is not court-ordered, the first step is for both parties to agree to sell the house. Open and honest communication should help smooth out the process when emotions are high.

Speak with your ex about a timeline for selling the property, and be clear about your expectations. While selling a marital home may be difficult, many divorcing couples find that selling their house gives them a fresh start emotionally and financially.

Pro tip: Many individuals consult their attorneys during this process to ensure they are protected during the home sale.


Choose a Qualified Real Estate Agent

When you are going through a divorce and selling a house, you don’t want to go through the process alone. A real estate agent specializing in selling divorcing couples’ properties will be one of your greatest assets during this trying time.

A trusted REALTOR® like Jay Rezendes can provide invaluable guidance and support for couples navigating the waters of divorcing and selling a home simultaneously. They can help you avoid costly mistakes, supply up-to-date market information, answer questions, provide a unique marketing plan, and get top dollar for your property.

After hiring your agent, don’t forget to update them on stipulations regarding real estate that may be listed in your divorce decree.


Prepare the House for Sale

Most divorcing couples want to sell their home as quickly as possible. Properly preparing your home for the market can help speed up the process. Here are a few preparation tips for selling a house during a divorce:

  1. Declutter the home. If certain items are too sentimental to part with, place them in storage until after the sale is complete.
  2. Deep clean the house. Consider hiring a professional if you and your former spouse don’t want to clean the home together.
  3. Make necessary repairs and upgrades. Your agent can guide you on which updates will give you the best return on investment. Discuss how you will split upgrade costs with your former spouse.
  4. Stage your home, so it is more appealing to buyers. Don’t let this step overwhelm you – your REALTOR® can help you with any staging questions.
  5. Schedule open houses and discuss private showing details with your agent.


Price Your Home with Your Real Estate Agent

During routine home sales, agents perform comparative market analyses (CMAs) to provide an estimated value of properties. While this is an excellent tool for pricing homes, some divorcing couples prefer to get a home appraisal.

Have a conversation with your former spouse regarding which route is best for you. Your attorney and real estate agent can answer any questions you may have.

Whether using a CMA or appraisal, your REALTOR® will use the relevant information to price your home fairly, which should help speed up the sales process.


Agree on How to Handle Incoming Offers

While your agent will negotiate with buyers on your behalf, you and your former spouse should agree on what you will accept. Signing a listing agreement with your agent can help avoid conflict and outline essential conditions.

Listing agreements may include the price range you are comfortable with, contingencies you will accept, prospective closing and move-out timeframes, and more.

Once these conditions are outlined, your agent can take over the “hard” work of negotiating with buyers, ensuring you get the most money possible from the transaction.


Close on the Home and Split the Proceeds

After you accept an offer, you enter into the “home stretch” of the home sales process! Don’t fear this step – your agent will be there to answer your questions and support you along the way.

Once the documents are signed, and the closing is complete, you and your former spouse will split the home sale proceeds. Typically, each spouse receives 50% of the proceeds, but because Rhode Island is not a community property state, this percentage can vary depending on circumstances. Divorce attorneys often handle the division of profits.


Final Thoughts

Don’t let divorce and selling a house overwhelm you – we can help guide you from beginning to end, taking the guesswork out of the transaction.

Please get in touch with us anytime if you have questions or concerns about selling your home during a divorce. More helpful resources can be found here, including a video library and free downloads.

Lastly, don’t forget to bookmark this page or share it with a friend who may need it.