Selling a home and getting divorced are each large stressors in life. Both can happen when the parties agree to work towards the same goal. And there’s a great deal of overlap to buying while selling – you don’t need to be divorcing to follow these steps!
Working with great legal and real estate team members helps navigate this trying time.
While every situation is a little different, here’s a general approach:
- Decide what to do with the home If selling it is the answer, it is often easier to sell before the divorce is finalized. Talk to a tax professional to minimize your joint tax liability.
- Establish a valuation It is important both parties understand the home’s value. A real estate professional can put you close by performing a Comparable Market Analysis. To dial it in more accurately requires an appraisal (~$500.)
- Look at needed repairs and improvements Your Realtor or a pre-listing home inspection will develop a list of suggested repairs or improvements. Items of a structural, mechanical or life safety issue should receive top consideration. Cosmetics help with first impressions.
- Decide on improvements and how to fund Some improvements are easily done by homeowners while others require outside help. Have a candid conversation about the ability and willingness of the parties to do the required work.
- Begin to look for your next homes Some divorcees go back to living with parents or rent, while others will buy a different home. When children are involved, pay close attention to school requirements. Before listing the house, ask your attorney about including a provision to find suitable housing.
- Use this opportunity to declutter This is a great time to donate unused clothing or items. Go through the house and identify where items are going to end up and if they are extra.
- Show the home Once the house is listed, the Realtor may have an open house and undoubtably will have showings. As with any home sale make sure all valuables are secured.
- Receive an offer Once an offer comes in, the parties need to decide whether to accept, reject or counter the offer. If an offer is not received, analyze the feedback, and consider changes or price actions.
- Inspection Many offers (still) have an inspection contingency. This can literally open another negotiation. Consider this when accepting any offers “too good to be true.”
- Purchase and Sale Your real estate attorney or agent will draft a purchase and sale agreement.
- Move out You will need to vacate the property and deliver it clean. Leaving items behind will slow or stall the closing.
- Close Your real estate attorney can take care of the paperwork, so you don’t need to attend the closing. Turn off utilities/insurance after the closing; you are responsible for the house until sold. If you owe more on the property than proceeds, discuss funding the shortfall with the real estate attorney.
Enjoy and stay sanitized!
Here is free app for your phone/tablet tied directly to the MLS https://www.homesnap.com/Gary-Kelley
Gary is heard on WCRN AM 830 discussing “All Things Real Estate.”
If you need advice on selling your home or buying a new one, give us a call 508-733-6005.