I think it’s safe to say, on the grand day of the wedding most everyone has the best of intentions. However, when it boils down to reality, couples stay together for different reasons.  The best reason is true love and commitment. Others stay together for the kids.  But today, unemployment is high and home prices are low, making it almost impossible for some couples to split when they own a house together. Statistics show when home prices go down, the divorce rate goes down for homeowners.*

Divorce and Real Estate

If you and your soon-to-be-ex are underwater on the mortgage balance compared to the home’s value, the decision to sell is likely dire. Foreclosure, short-selling, deed-in-lieu-of- foreclosure, will all impact credit standing negatively for everyone involved for many years. Not a great way to start your “new life” apart.

If you’re about even or very close to being able to sell without a short sale, and you aren’t late on payments, be prepared to wait for a deal. If you aren’t able to be negotiable on price and both of you can’t write a check for the difference, it will likely take time to sell, unless there is a high demand for your particular market.

If you’re sure the best plan of action is to sell vs. refinance, renting, or whatever else, hire an agent you trust to help with understanding the market. Price your home to compete with the current listings in your market. Stage your home with fresh paint and clean or replaced flooring. Freshen the landscaping in the front yard.

Every dollar spent on upgrades/cleaning your home will need to be agreed upon by both parties. Your listing agreement/agent will need to be agreed upon by both. Communication along the way should be between everyone and email works best vs. direct conversation.

Depending on which action occurs first, the divorce/dissolution or the home sale, whatever the agreement is for the separation the title company will disburse the funds accordingly. State laws vary. Realize, to maintain credit scores, and be able to move onto a new life quickly, sellers might need to write a check or take a loss to be able to close/sell their home timely for their particular situation.

Although it may be a hard situation to get through, divorce real estate is something you can handle if you have the right support. Make life a little bit easier by calling on an agent with experience to make your next chapter start off right.

* Abobaker Mused, Hunter College1 Spring 2009
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