Divorce: 5 Considerations for Avoiding a Real Estate Nightmare

By Chris Muellenbach  October 28, 2016

We are all familiar with those times when your city can feel extremely small and lonely.  Especially when you are going through a major life change that will inevitably become known to your family, friends and public. Divorce is one example of a life change that has the participants questioning who they can trust, who their true friends are and where they will end up.

One of the first things that comes to mind is whether or not you should sell the marital home. Because divorce causes a multitude of disruptions to a person’s life, staying in the home provides a sense of security and stability, especially when children are involved.

Coming to terms while deliberating whether you can afford the house on your own can be an incredibly painful exercise.  The unfortunate reality is staying in the house can be very expensive. Your household income will often be cut in half without your spouse’s income.

In addition to the mortgage, maintenance, and taxes, other considerations should be:

  1. Amount of equity in the home and whether you can buy out your spouse or set up a payment plan.
  2. What are other housing options?  Rentals in certain areas can be very expensive.
  3. What is your house worth?
  4. Can you really afford the house on your own?
  5. Perhaps a clean break by selling the home is a good way to begin your new life?

The Win at All Costs mentality rears its ugly head too often in divorces. If you do decide to sell the house, work with a Realtor who understands divorce and someone both parties trust.  The likelihood that the two parties are not getting along is not just a possibility, it is the entire reason everyone is discussing the home sale.

Having both parties at the first meeting with the Realtor; or listing appointment, is extremely important.  The Realtor works for both of you, the goal of the agent should be that neither party feels as though the agent is taking sides.   Communication with your Realtor is vital in every real estate transaction, but it is even more important in a divorce situation.  Your agent has to be there to answer questions from both of you.  Their job is to sell your home for the most money in the least amount of time.

Divorce is one of the most stressful situations you will experience in your life.  Selling a house, unfortunately, is also one of the more stressful situations.  A reputable Realtor is paramount.  Be sure to hire one based on their experience with divorced clients, interviews, references, and sales history. The right agent will know how to sell your home quickly and help you both move on with your lives.

Author: Chris Muellenbach is a real estate broker with:
Muellenbach Real Estate, First Weber Group.

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