Print Posted by Lisa Vayle on 07/14/2017

Common Issues and Solutions for Selling the Marital Home when Getting Divorced

While there is nothing pleasant about having to sell your house during or after divorce, there are ways to maximize the price the house will receive in the shortest time possible. This process can also lower the stress level of everyone involved.  Here is a step by step guide:

  • Buy-Out:  If one of the parties wants to buy out the other, the party who wants to execute the buy-out should meet with a bank or mortgage broker to find out if they qualify to get the mortgage on their own.  When the value of the home is in dispute, have two, independent, licensed appraisers, who are knowledgeable about the area appraise the home and average the two values to determine the buy-out price.  Alternatively, you could have a realtor come out and discuss the comparables of what is actively the competition, what is under contract and what has sold to educate you both as to what the strategic list price should be.
  • Prepare the house to sell. This is the most difficult part of the process for anyone, but especially so when getting divorced.  Preparing the house means possibly painting, replacing carpeting, sprucing up the yard, etc. Often agents hear “We have no money.”  However, if you do not put at least minimal money into the house before selling, you will likely receive a below-market price and/or the house will sit on the market longer, meaning more mortgage payments.  Buyers will often infer higher prices that the real cost of necessary repairs.  For example, to paint the red dining room walls to a neutral will often cost about $400.00.  However, a potential buyer will say it will take $1,000.00 to repaint.  A good agent will direct you on how to get the most bang for your buck.
  • Interview a realtor(s).  If there is a dispute on who to use, both parties should seek a referral from a neighbor or colleague who works in the area.  Utilize an agent that you do not have a previous relationship with, so no one is perceived as “taking sides”. The realtor should not only demonstrate knowledge of the neighborhood, schools and the area, but should also have a keen understanding of the market, the statistics of days on market, list to sold price ration, as well as the value of your house. The realtor should provide a comparable market analytic report and a full written marketing report about how he/she is going to sell your house.
  • Keep the house ready to show.  All parties must agree to make the house accessible and show the home in the best possible light. Sometimes, the party still living in the house does not really want to sell and purposely hide the lockbox or they show the house unkempt so as to “punish” the other party.  Your realtor is not a therapist or an attorney.  However, he or she is trying to maximize the value you receive for your house, and they are there to assist you in the best way possible with your real estate needs so that, in the end, you can move on with your life. Both spouses must agree to do what it takes to get it across the finish line.
  • Provide written instructions from the court or attorneys on how to divide the proceeds. If a divorce is in process, often a judge will have to sign off on whether the parties can sell a property and how the proceeds will be divided.

With just these few steps, you can get the most value for your house and successfully manage this part of the divorce process. 


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For further questions, please call Lisa Vayle, President of V Team Realty at Keller Williams First Atlanta. Lisa is a native to Atlanta, has been an agent for over 14 years as well as a real estate investor. Her contact information is 678-283-7001 or lisa@vteamrealty.com

Lisa Vayle is a native of Atlanta, has been an agent for over 14 years and is a real estate investor. Her contact information is 678-283-7001 or lisa@vteamrealty.com

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