I’ve been divorced. It’s painful and messy and soul-crushing and liberating and exhausting and…so much more. It can also be confusing, especially when it comes to real estate. (And as a real estate agent, I was more prepared than most people are.)
As someone who has been through it, and who has helped countless couples navigate this difficult path, I’ve learned that the following are key things to keep in mind as you decide how to address real estate during divorce:
- Communication, diplomacy, and patience of realtor: Choosing a real estate agent during a separation or divorce is one of the most important decisions you can make during a very difficult time, so you must give it the time and attention it deserves. Select someone who can communicate with both parties professionally and diplomatically. Make sure your agent has experience in representing couples during divorce—and the patience to repeat important information separately so that both parties stay informed.
- Three most common options: There are usually one of three scenarios that take place for most couples who go through divorce: one of the spouses buys out the other and keeps the home; one spouse keeps use and occupancy of home for specified time and then sells it and divides equity; the house is sold immediately and equity is divided.
- Get the property valued, and consider selling, before you part ways: Selling the marital home while you are still married can provide larger tax exclusions. Align yourself with a financial advisor and tax attorney who can explain this in more detail.
- Consider home equity when you negotiate: If you have owned the property for a significant amount of time and it has experienced a substantial growth in equity, this can translate to additional tax savings. This also has to be considered if one party decides to stay in the home and then sell it later; you may have to pre-agree to have the equity split upon the sale of the home.
- Privacy: Work with a discreet real estate agent who can prevent buyers from discovering that divorce is the cause of the sale. When buyers know about a separation, they assume time is of the essence, and often offer lower prices.
- Evaluate emotions tied with the home: Some folks fail to consider the emotions tied with their house. While for some divorcing couples it is paramount that their kids be able to remain in the family home, for others it is just too painful and a fresh start is needed.
Most importantly, stay informed. Do your due diligence both in selecting an experienced realtor and in making smart financial decisions surrounding real estate during the separation. For three decades I have helped wives, husbands, and couples successfully sell their marital homes and find other residences with discretion and dignity. The Lottmann Realty Group is ready to put our expertise and experience to work for you during a difficult time. Have questions? Give us a call at 636-812-4414; we’d love to talk about what’s on your mind.