Sell Your Home in a Divorce

Richard Symmes is here for you During Tough Times if you Need to sell your home in a divorce proceeding.

Are you getting a divorce or considering it? A common worry is what’s going to happen with your joint real estate property – particularly the family home.

Richard Symmes has helped many individuals and families through complex real estate transactions that can come up as part of the divorce process. Richard Symmes can work with both parties and their family attorneys to ensure the sale of the property goes smoothly and everybody is on the same page. As a real estate broker we have a fiduciary duty to all parties in a transaction and will not favor one party over another so it is key that both parties understand that Richard Symmes will represent the best interest of the real estate transaction and getting as much money in your pocket as we can so that you can have a fresh start moving forward.

When we first meet with clients, they all wonder: “should I sell my home?”, “Should I try to buy out my ex-husband/wife’s share?”, or “Can I sell my ex-husband/wife my share?” and “What’s that share worth?”

You deserve answers to these questions about the intersection of real estate and divorce. Richard Symmes has the unique experience in both home sales and the law to help you navigate through these questions without leaving money on the table.

In order to reduce your uncertainty about your post-divorce future, you will want to have an in-depth consultation with a real estate broker to put a custom strategy together with you.

Below is an outline of how we found success working with individuals who are hoping to make it through a heart-breaking time of their life in as good of financial position as possible for all parties.

Should We Sell our House when we Divorce?

Divorce, while it is a relatively simple concept, brings with it a literal avalanche of legal ramifications and requirements.

At Richard Symmes, we get that – and will work hand-in-hand with your Divorce attorneys to help you think about whether it’s the right time to sell, and make sure to limit the amount of stress/anxiety that can surly crop up during this time.

Deciding on selling depends on your answers to the following questions:

  • Are you on good terms with your Ex? This matters in terms of agreeing to further contracts such as a joint-title or leasing the house
  • Can you keep paying mortgage and maintenance? This will allow more options if you’re able to pay the mortgage while not living there, or while receiving only part of income from Ex.
  • How long would you live in the house if you keep it?
  • What or how much would you give up to keep it? Is there some other sentimental value or long-term value other than the market would bear?
  • Are you willing to sign up for any tax consequences if you’d keep it? We will evaluate any individual or entity taxes that would be incurred with it were kept

Many of these answers boil down to just one simple question:

Can either you or your spouse realistically afford to keep the house on your own? If the answer is no, then you Should sell the house. We will help you analyze to see what the outcome will be and to what degree you would have rights to any proceeds and/or liability to any debts (due to foreclosure/short-sale) post-sale.

Should I Consider Buying out my Spouse?

This is the most common method for a family (with children in many cases) to keep the house they are currently living in. It requires that the non-custodial parent be bought out by the custodial parent.

Unpredictability of seasonal, or market forces causing price fluctuations are usually avoided in this scenario, as it comes down to simple valuation of the home, and amount owed (if any) to calculate the amount by which the non-custodial spouse will be receiving.

For a complete guidance based on your particular situation, you should consult with your family attorney and Richard Symmes, as there may be specific situations where a spouse may not be eligible to be bought out, or there could be restrictions based on timing of marriage or purchase of the home.

Should I Advertise the Sale of My Home as a Divorce Sale?

If you have made the decision to sell your home on the market, and list it publicly, there is no benefit to saying that it is a sale due to a divorce.

In fact, it may be a detrimental thing to state, because buyers might think that you’re not as motivated to get top dollar, and you may not get the offers a regular sale would get.

Disclosures about the divorce will need to be made to Richard Symmes, and we will need to help work with the title company to verify the ownership of both spouses or ex-spouses depending on where you are with the divorce proceeding.

Therefore, you should still stage the home, and even act like you are a married, happy couple if you are meeting with prospective buyers, as it will help with the transaction. Of course, you should be up front with anyone who asks, but there is no reason for anyone to assume you are divorcing unless they’ve inspected the public record.

Would you Recommend Deferring the Sale?

It depends. If there are children involved I would recommend deferring the sale until Summer, or when it is going to impact business, school, or extra curicular activities the least.

The best scenario would be if you could wait until dependents are moved out of the house (and off to college for example). Of course, this is all general advice that is to be considered only if there are no financial strains.

Deferring the sale is often a great option if you or your spouse cannot afford to buy the other one out. Each of you can agree keep the house. It may be an especially good idea if you have identified that the home value is increasing above normal market rates, and you think by waiting a while, the overall investment will increase.

There is a consideration, in that the non-custodial parent in this case (with kids) or at very least the spouse who no longer lives with the ex-spouse in the house is going to have their name on the mortgage of the home they don’t live in, which may prevent them from being able to purchase a second home on their own, and may force them to either rent.

Next Steps…

So, while you consider your options in this stressful time, let Richard Symmes take the worry and stress off your shoulders when it comes to the real estate asset. Let’s meet and discuss your particular scenario so that we can use our legal training and market-sense as brokers to help make sure you are both protected legally and come out on top on your financial investment you put into your home.

If you live in the Seattle metro area and need assistance with selling your home in divorce proceeding, give Richard Symmes a call at 206-326-1858 to get the help you need.

Thank you for visiting Lawyer Up Real Estate!