When you are getting a divorce, the idea of having to divide up your assets and do all the admin involved is a daunting one. This is especially true if you are looking to get things over and done with as quickly as possible, so how do you deal with selling your house during divorce?
When you got married, you probably thought it was forever and didn’t consider what would happen to the marital home if you did ever have to get divorced, so if that time is now upon you, it might be worth doing some research to properly establish how to sell your house fairly and ensure you get what you are entitled to.
What You Should Know About Selling Your House During Divorce
Who Gets The House After a Divorce?
It would be a lot easier if there was one simple answer to this, but there are many different ways in which house purchases can be structured. This can make it confusing when it comes to dividing the assets. How assets are divided depends upon the state you live in, so it is worth checking the local regulations.
If you have marital property, meaning that you bought and acquired everything within the home while you were together, this is often divided equally between the two parties.
If one spouse has bought the home before, they may have the right to keep this house after the marriage, and they might have a prenuptial agreement to protect this.
If you live in a community property state, it means that the value of the home is probably going to be split 50/50. This also goes for other assets that you acquired through your married life. Several states use community property when deciding who gets the home.
The other states distribute the assets “fairly” but this does not always mean 50/50. For example, if one of you earned more money and put more into the property, then they might get a higher percentage of its value when it comes time to sell.
All of these different factors go to show why it is so important to get a good lawyer on your side and ensure that things are structured in a way that is fair and that you are not getting shafted on the value of your property.
When the Divorce is Amicable
If your divorce is amicable, then it will likely be a lot more simple to sell the house and divide other assets. You do have other options. For instance, one person can choose to buy out the share of the other party and get a mortgage to pay for this. Alternatively, other assets can be considered. With the right divorce lawyers, you can create an agreement that works for everyone.
If things are more tense, they might not be straightforward. If one spouse files for divorce then there is usually a “restraining order” put on the house which means it can’t be sold while the divorce is ongoing. If things are amicable enough you might even want to sell before the divorce itself. There are also some tax benefits to this.
The Process of Selling Your House During Divorce
The process of selling your house during divorce is quite similar to any other time, except for the fact that you will have to divide things differently.
Get The Home Ready
You might need to make specific improvements to the home. You may also decide that you are going to sell your house as-is. In some scenarios, if the home is in a poor state, it can take a lot of time to get it ready for selling. Getting the home ready might also include getting photographs and preparing property listings, but you may want to wait to do this until after you hire an agent.
Hiring an Agent
You should hire a real estate agent that you trust. They can help you create the listing to sell the home, get it listed in local real estate sale sites and publications, and provide you with a valuation. Between you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse, you need to agree on a fair value for the home.
Consider an Investor Sale
Are you in a big hurry to sell the home? Some real estate investors will take it off your hands, and though you might not get the same money, you will be able to sell the house fast.
Deal With an Offer
An offer will come. It might take a long time or it might come in quickly after you have listed the property. You can decide whether or not you want to accept or provide a negotiated offer. Counteroffers are common, and there is usually a little bit of a back and forth discussion before the sale is agreed.
Once you have a suitable offer it is time to accept and then the sale can be finalized. Don’t rush this just because you are going through a divorce, it is still a good idea to bide your time and get the value you deserve.
Deal With the Finances
The proceeds do not just get split between you straight away. There are a lot of expenses that come with selling a house and these payments need to be dealt with first. For instance, all of your agent fees, the existing mortgage, and some of the lines of credit that relate to the house itself. A decent chunk of the proceeds will have to go towards handling all of these added extras.
If you sell while you are technically still married then you might well be able to benefit from the capital gains exemptions on properties that are valued at less than $500,000.
Then, it is time to split the money, as agreed, with the help of the lawyers you choose to work with. Depending on local state laws, you might have to follow a certain regulation regarding who gets what in the divorce. Of course, any prenuptial agreements will have to be honored, so it could be the case that the property is still owned by one party in the divorce, and the other doesn’t benefit financially from the sale.
Selling a house during divorce is never that straightforward and simple. It is worth thinking about the fact that every scenario is slightly different, and you will need to get advice that relates to your specific case.
It’s not easy to sell a house during a feud, either. If you are not on good terms with the other party in the divorce then some mediation might be required, and it is a good idea for both parties to get legal advice so that nobody gets ripped off and misses out on what they are entitled to. If there are children involved then it is important to ensure their future as part of the divorce process.
Victor is a real estate investment specialist with more than four years of experience. He specializes in real estate purchasing processes. He currently works as a Business Development Manager at Prospect Group and manages the Creative Marketing side as well. www.prospectgroup.net