Challenges with Selling Your Home During a Divorce

 

Separating from your spouse can not only induce emotional stress, but financial stress as well. If you own a home with your partner you will need to confront the issue of what to do with your property. There are two primary options to consider. Either, one spouse stays in the home, or you sell the home.

In general, the second option is best suited to assist in a smooth separation. Selling the home allows for assets to be divided equally and ties to be cut in the relationship. However, selling your home during a divorce may present some unexpected challenges.

Understand the Law

No matter the relationship you had with your significant other at the time of the decision to divorce, it is imperative that you understand your rights related to selling your home during a divorce. Often times, individuals believe that they do not need to fully understand this aspect because they have faith in their spouse that everything will close fairly. Unfortunately, you can never predict what the future will hold, so understanding your legal rights is sure to help in any unforeseen situation.

First, recognize that Texas is a “community property” state. That is, anything owned between the couple has dual ownership. Even if the home was purchased prior to the marriage, if any funds were used from joint accounts to make payments or repairs on the house, the home was transferred to community property. This means that the sale of the home must be approved by both spouses, and both signatures will be required on the paperwork. Additionally, this equates to equal shares in the profit from the sale of the home.

Secondly, if you do sell during a divorce, do not expect to receive the funds immediately. In the state of Texas, once a home has sold the funds will be help in your attorney’s client trust and divided once the decision of the court is finalized.

Agree on the Logistics

If both parties feel that selling the home is the best option for their futures, consider the following three aspects to selling before listing the home. These three decisions are the most difficult for couples to agree on and can extend the sale of the home drastically. It can even cause a change in broker if the relationship is hostile. Therefore, answering these three questions can both reduce time spent selling the house and reduce arguments between you and your significant other.

  1. Identify a Listing Agent. This is step one. Identify a listing agent that you are both comfortable with. Ask what the agents fees are and what their marketing plan consists of. Unexpected events during the marketing process can cause tension between a couple.
  2. Preparing the House to Sell. How much is each party willing to pay for repairs and staging. Both of these investments can help increase the value of the home once it is listed on the market. However, many times there is one party who is not prepared to invest either time or money in the property. Maybe they did not want to sell, or they are holding a grudge against their spouse. Whatever the situation, confirming the dollars permitted to invest and identifying what role each spouse plays in preparing the home for sale should be completed before listing the home.
  3. Settle on Selling Price and Terms. This is the stage in which most homes fall out of contract. Spouses often change their mind during the process, or were unaware of the actual value of the home pre-marketing. Coming to an agreement on all terms of the sale will be essential for a quick close. A couple questions to ponder include: What is the lowest selling price I will agree on? Will I accept an offer with a loan contingency? What closing costs am I willing to cover? Again, it primarily comes down to the finances. Having an in-depth understanding of closing costs and expectations during escrow can relieve headaches in the final steps of the sale.

Finding the Right Professional

Listing on the market can pose an array of problems in itself. It can extend the process of selling the home and can create resentment between splitting partners. An alternative option to consider when selling your home during a divorce is to sell to an all cash buyer.

As an all cash buyer, we have purchased multiple homes from families going through this strenuous time. We do not want to add to this stress, nor do we want to waste any parties time. Therefore, we can provide our clients with an upfront offer on how much we will purchase the home for. We can close quickly, allowing for this chapter of the divorce to be closed. Additionally, with years of experience, we understand the legal process. We have an attorney on staff that can help with the process.

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