Good Planning and Flexibility Key to Simplifying Home-Selling Process during Divorce

By Keith Loria

Anyone who has been through a divorce knows how difficult the process can be. However, when you add a home sale to the mix, things can become even more complicated. More often than not, when a couple owns property together, the house is going to have to be sold as part of the division of the assets. 

Unless one partner is willing (and able) to buy the other out—and most real estate agents will tell you that’s rarely the case—a home will sometimes have to be sold quickly.

Selling a house is already a stressful experience so adding the emotions from a marriage falling apart can be overwhelming. Those involved need to make smart decisions and not let their emotions take over.

During a divorce and home sale, a lot of coordination and negotiation are needed to ensure that everyone’s best interests are considered. Sure, you want out as quickly as possible, but not at the sake of selling for far below market value.

Once divorce proceedings begin, you should put the house on the market as quickly as possible. It might not be easy to agree with your ex-spouse, but try to come up with figures for the lowest amount you will accept and price the home accordingly. 

Be sure to find a good agent who will work with you to ensure that your home is properly prepared in order to entice potential buyers for a fast sale.

It’s important to never let a potential buyer know that the home sale is the result of a pending divorce, otherwise the offer may be far lower than you want. Get the house in shape just like you would for any normal home sale. Remove clutter, spruce things up and make the necessary repairs.

Draw up an agreement between both partners to adhere to a timeline for the sale and to agree on the closing date once the home is under contract. Financial penalties may help to avoid slow-downs in the sales process and protect the interests of everyone involved.

A divorce shouldn’t affect the process and logistics of selling your home, but the aftermath of the sale may be impacted. Taxes and capital gains will have to be figured out and the profits distributed between the two partners should all be contracted in writing.

If a divorce is finalized prior to the end of the year, you will be able to file your taxes separately from your ex-spouse and will be required to pay only a percentage of the taxes, often assumed to be 50 percent. However, if you are still married at tax time, you can file separately or jointly and claim the appropriate capital gain percentage and amount. 

For more information about selling your home during a divorce, contact our office today.