When you get married, you enter the marriage with the intention of maintaining it for the rest of your life. No one goes into a marriage thinking that it will never last. Regardless of your intentions, you may find yourself among the 40 to 50 percent of Americans whose marriage ends in divorce.
One of the most complicated aspects of the divorce process is dividing up marital assets, including the family home. Some divorce decrees allow one spouse to keep the family home, while others require for the home to be sold and have the proceeds distributed to both spouses.
If you need to figure out your options for selling your marital home, you're probably trying to decide how to get started. Read on to learn about selling your house after a divorce.
Consider Your Options
The first thing you need to do after the dust has settled is to take some time to consider your options about the home.
You might initially feel that the home is a reminder of your marriage, but there are steps you can take to make it feel more like your own. Further, crunching the numbers might make selling your home more difficult than you anticipated.
If you still feel like you need to sell, or if the sale is required as part of your divorce, then you can get started on planning the sale.
Go Over the Divorce Agreement
Once your divorce is finalized, you'll receive a divorce decree from your local court. That decree will also lay out the terms of the division of property. It can come into play in a couple of ways when you're trying to sell your marital home.
The divorce decree can require you to sell your home and distribute the proceeds between you and your former spouse. If this is the case, you will have to work with your former spouse to sell the house for a price that is acceptable to both of you. If the judge awarded you the house as part of the divorce, then you are free to negotiate the sale of the house according to your needs.
Clean Up the Title
Many people move into a home that was purchased before the marriage by their spouse, or they only put one spouse's information down on the application for a mortgage. This means that the mortgage and title to the home are in someone else's name, which can make selling the home tricky.
If you're in this situation, then you will need to do some legwork. If you have a joint tenancy in the home, then you will need to have your former spouse sign off to put the house on the market. They will also have to sign off on the final sale of the home.
Another option is to have an attorney assist you with having your former spouse sign a quitclaim deed. This will allow your former spouse to relinquish any interest they have in the home so you can make all of the decisions about the sale. Savvy divorce lawyers will often prep this document during a divorce so you don't have to deal with it later.
If your former spouse is being stubborn about signing off on the sale or relinquishing their interest in the home, then you may have to seek out an order from a judge to compel the sale.
Appraise Your Home
When a divorce involves a marital home, it is appraised in order for the judge to determine how to divide up assets equitably. This appraisal is a great jumping-off point for selling your home. If it's been a while since your divorce, or if the market has undergone a drastic change, then it's a good idea to start off the sales process by having a new appraisal done on your home as it stands today.
Check Out the Market
Your next task is to check out comparable homes for sale in your neighborhood and city.
This will give you an idea about your competition, and it can also help you determine whether you should consider delay putting the house on the market. A sluggish real estate market can make it challenging to sell your home. It also has the potential to reduce the amount of money you would get for it as compared to favorable market conditions.
Find an Experienced Real Estate Agent
If you want to maximize your chance of selling your home fast and for a decent sum, then it's important to get in touch with an experienced real estate agent.
Ideally, you'll want an agent who has significant experience in selling homes in your city and neighborhood. This will allow you to have a frank discussion about your expectations regarding the sales process and the price you'll get for your home. They can also guide you toward making impactful upgrades that'll boost your home's sale potential.
Consider Upgrades and Improve Curb Appeal
Speaking of upgrades, take some time during your market research and discussion with your realtor to ask about the current state of your home.
If you've lived in your home for ten or more years without having done anything to update its appearance, then it may be beneficial for you to put some money toward upgrades. Strategically planned upgrades can net you far more in the sale price than the cost to install them. They can also make your home stand out to buyers and get them in the door to check it out.
If you have an older home, consult with a local landscaping company to help you determine how to enhance the curb appeal of your home.
Price Your Home Competitively
You'll want to price your home competitively, with the current state of the local real estate market in mind.
If you're currently in a buyer's market, then you'll have to be willing to accept a lower price than your ideal in order to push a sale through. If you're in a seller's market, then you might have to set your asking price a little low in order to generate interest, but if the market is hot, you'll likely receive a number of bids that are above asking.
Work with your real estate agent to optimize your asking price.
Depersonalize Your Home
When people tour your home, you want them to have the ability to picture themselves living there. This is a difficult task for buyers when there is a reminder of the current occupants around every corner. Before potential buyers tour your home, take the time to remove personal photographs from around the home.
It's also worthwhile to declutter your home and make sure that your personal items aren't a distraction from the house itself. If you've already moved out, have a discussion with your realtor about staging your home to attract more potential buyers.
Have Cash for Closing
If your home isn't in a hot real estate market, then you need to be prepared to make some concessions in order to facilitate the sale. One great way to accomplish this is by offering to pay closing costs.
Buying a house is a cash-intensive process that drains the bank accounts of buyers thanks to earnest money and appraisal fees. Anything you can offer to help lighten the financial load of the buyer is likely to generate some good will and make the buyer more likely to agree to your desired terms.
Consider Selling for Cash
If the thought of selling your home through a realtor sounds like a bigger stressor than you can handle, you should know that there are other options available for you.
There are many real estate investors out there, like Webuyhouse.com, that will present you with an all-cash offer for your home. Most real estate investors don't require you to make any upgrades or even clean out your home. You just hand them the keys and move on to the next adventure in your life.
Selling Your House After a Divorce Doesn't Have to Be Complicated
Rebuilding your life after a divorce can seem like an impossible task. Selling your house after a divorce can make your stress even more difficult to deal with. The truth is that you have a lot of options available that can make the selling process as easy, or as complex, as you want it to be.
If you want to maximize your sales price, then you'll need to need to take a few extra steps to help your house command a generous offer from buyers. On the other hand, if you just want a simple sale without regard to the sales price, then it might be easier to sell it to a buyer with cash in hand for a lower price.
Ultimately, selling your home can be a cathartic process after the ink has dried on the divorce papers.
Do you want more great advice about real estate to help you with your journey? Check out the rest of our blog for all the inspiration you need!