One of the first and most important decisions for most couples considering or beginning the divorce process is what to do with their home. If you and your soon-to-be ex have decided that the best choice is to sell it and divide the proceeds (or address them some other way within the broader context of your marital estate), you’ve taken a big step toward managing your shared assets and successfully navigating the property division process.
Don’t assume, however, that the home sale process will go smoothly. You’ll have to commit to what is likely your shared goal of getting a good price and finalizing the deal as soon as possible. That will probably require finding a real estate professional you both trust and not letting your feelings about one another interfere with making smart decisions.
Find an agent experienced in handling sales for divorcing couples
Most real estate agents have some experience in this area. You may, however, want to retain a Certified Divorce Real Estate Expert (CDRE). They have undergone training in dealing with sellers who are in conflict with one another or maybe not even speaking. They also have training on some of the unique legal considerations that occur when a property is part of a divorce settlement.
Determine who will live in the home and keep it maintained until it sells
Experts in this field advise that one spouse remain in the home until it’s sold. Empty homes don’t sell for as much if potential buyers and agents see that the owners have moved on and are probably anxious to get the home sold. With that said, it’s almost never a good idea for both spouses to stay in the home unless you have no other choice financially.
It’s also important to determine how much time and expense you want to spend on repairs and upgrades and how you’ll split the work and costs involved. Your agent can advise you on what repairs are worthwhile to increase your asking price. You’ll also need to determine how regular maintenance responsibilities (such as mowing the lawn and cleaning the pool) will be shared.
These are just a couple of things to consider as you sell your home. It’s wise to get legal guidance before you do anything, even if you haven’t begun the divorce process, to consider how a home sale will fit into your larger goals for the settlement. Selling a home can be an emotional experience, especially in divorce, so it’s crucial to be guided by people who will help you think and act strategically.