Divorce and selling a house are both emotionally charged events. When both are combined, it can be overwhelming. For many couples, the marital home is their largest shared asset. Between the memories they created together and the financial and emotional burden the home constitutes, most people choose to sell the house so that they can move on with their life. However, there are a few questions you should consider before putting your home on the market during a divorce process.
Should You Keep the House During a Divorce Procedure?
One of the first things people think about when considering a divorce is “what should we do with the house?” Many times, one of the spouses will move out while the other remains behind, but it is not always a long-term solution.
If children under 18 are involved, one of the parties will often consider staying to help the children with the transition. If this happens, the person remaining in the house will need to buy out the other by refinancing the mortgage and putting it in his or her name only. It implies that the spouse staying in the house should be able to solely support the house financially. If like most people, you purchased your home by combining your revenues with your partner’s, it might not be feasible for either of you to buy each other out. Also, some couples cannot agree on who should keep the house and who should move out.
Consequently, many people prefer to sell the house instead, which allows them to start their new life with the financial help from the proceeds of the sale and also affords them a clean break with less financial complications to sort out. If you subscribe to this approach, you must then decide whether to sell the house first or divorce first. In most cases, it is better to sell your home before a divorce than after: as a married couple, you are eligible for up to a $500,000 tax exclusion on your capital gain, versus $250,000 if you were to file separately. Besides, if you are on the market for a new home, you may have issues getting approved for a mortgage or a rental while still listed jointly on the mortgage of the marital home. However, the right time to sell your property will also depend on the real estate market. In some cases, it might be better to wait and find a way to make it work in the meantime. A divorce lawyer or counselor may be able to help you deal with the particulars of your situation.
Divorces are notorious for being fiery events, and conflicts often arise. Most couples manage to resolve the issue of keeping the house or otherwise. Occasionally, one of the spouses may firmly refuse to sell it. In this case, the court may need to intervene to force one of the parties to sell the house. It can be a lengthy, expensive, and stressful process, so a partition lawsuit should only be used as a last resort.
How Can You Sell Your House during a Divorce Procedure?
If you have settled on selling the house, you may be in a hurry to get rid of it as soon as possible so that you can get closure on this chapter of your life. However, you will need to decide with your spouse on the same details you will have to agree on during a regular house sale. If you cannot reach an agreement on whom to hire as a real estate agent, your divorce lawyer or mediator may be able to recommend one. You will also need to figure out the market value of the house.
Since the marital home is, in most cases, the largest shared asset of a couple, it is often a source of conflict. During most divorce processes, the judge may require a divorce appraisal to establish the fair market value of the house and decide on the repartition of assets. You may be able to use this appraisal to determine the listing price, or you can hire a real estate appraiser who will act as a neutral third-party to give you the best estimate of value.
Putting your house on the market is always stressful, and it is even more so when dealing with a divorce. Getting the house showing-ready often takes time and money, especially if you or your spouse still lives there or if the house suffers from deferred maintenance. You will also need to work together to figure out what is the best course of action required to make the house presentable and in sellable condition. Hiring someone to stage the property can help, particularly if one of you moved out while taking their furniture.
You will also have to jointly decide which offer to accept when the time comes. It can be difficult to put emotions aside, but a good real estate agent familiar with divorce procedures can be a valuable asset. If there are any tensions, it might be best to employ a divorce mediator or divorce attorneys to communicate and ensure that the process goes as smoothly as possible.
What Are the Financial Implications of Selling Your House During a Divorce Procedure?
Once the house is finally sold, you will need to divide the proceeds of the sale of the home so that you can both move beyond this event. In Massachusetts, the division of marital property is made equitably, not equally, depending on factors such as the length of the marriage, age, health of the spouses, and past, current, and future income earning potential of each spouse. The judge will consider, and likely approve, any division of the assets that the couple establishes on their own, as long as it is fair.
Selling your house can be a long and expensive affair, depending on the market. If the home sits on the market for a long time—or if it needs significant repairs—the couple will have to agree on how to face these added expenses. Although there is no single fit-all solution, a divorce mediator or a divorce attorney can help them figure out who will pay for what. Generally, the spouses will either share all the approved expenses, or one of the parties will put the money up front and be reimbursed with the proceeds from the sale of the house.
What Is the Quickest Way to Sell Your House During a Divorce Procedure?
Putting your home up for sale is always an emotional turmoil. If you are engaged in a divorce, it can be a nerve-wracking process. With time often being of the essence and you and your spouse eager to move on and needing cash after a costly procedure, it is a good idea to investigate selling your property to an investment firm like Boston Sellers Solutions to avoid dealing with the added stress of showing and real estate proceedings. Armed with a solid and reliable offer, you will be able to proceed to that next chapter of your life.