Selling your Home in A Divorce
MARITAL SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT
One of the best ways for couples to move forward with a divorce is to disconnect emotionally and handle the sale of the home in a businesslike manner.
Because the marital home is usually the greatest asset in a marriage, it is also the greatest liability.
Much thought needs to be given to securing settlement terms to protect both parties, especially the spouse who is departing the home.
When you enter into your marital settlement agreement, you need to have your lawyer specify who is financially responsible for the mortgage, the homeowners insurance, utilities, and upkeep of the marital home.
If the spouse occupying the marital home is responsible to list, show, and sell the home, the other spouse may be obligated to pay part or all of the mortgage as well as contribute to maintaining the home.
If the occupying spouse shows little effort in getting the house sold, the marital agreement needs to provide a timetable for the sale of the home.
It is important for the marital agreement to include provisions outlining the steps to be taken if the house cannot be sold within a specified time or if one spouse fails to meet any financial obligation
Consult your legal adviser for contingencies that are specific to your situation when you want the home to sell.
Extra-cost items may include repainting the home, landscaping, or paying for new appliances or carpeting.
There needs to be clear directions on how to handle the unexpected while attempting to sell the home, for instance if a home inspection reveals a cracked foundation or termite infestation.
Ex-spouses sometimes agree to a fixed amount of time that expenses will be shared before the sale of the home.
Quick decisions can be damaging, especially when it comes to co-ownership or one spouse living in the home until it sells.
By keeping emotions at bay while making important decisions and focusing on what needs to be done to sell your home, you and your ex-spouse can move forward to better futures.
Reasonable and Realistic Expectations
Since the home is one of the most valuable marital assets, dividing the property between a couple in the turmoil of divorce can be a major source of contention.
If you have other properties, such as a vacation home or investment properties, those will also have to be assessed and have a monetary value placed on them In order to divide equitably or equally, as the case may be, you will need to know how much your property is worth.
When it comes to the marital home, there are several common valuation methods available to help determine the value of your home.
These are used in property settlements and may differ from what you perceive as your home's worm.
Comparative Market Analysis
Your Realtor will provide you with a comparative market analysis, or CMA.
This is an in-depth review of your home's worth in the current market based on the recent sale prices of homes comparable to yours.
Any differences, such as the size of the lot or value-added items like a swimming pool, are taken into consideration and the value adjusted accordingly.
Broker Price Opinion
The broker price opinion (BPO) is another type of estimate, produced by a real estate agent in response to a request from a mortgage lender.
A few years ago, when real estate sales around the country were at their peak, lenders found it difficult to handle the staggering number of transactions.
The BPO concept was born. It is less elaborate, and thus less costly, than an appraisal, but more involved than a CMA.
There are two kinds of BPOs, drive-by and interior. If the agent has access to the interior of your home, you will obtain a more in-depth and accurate evaluation.
No matter your circumstances, you'll want to get as much money as possible from the sale of your home.
Therefore, it is crucial to get a reliable evaluation, generated by a Realtor who will also stand by your side during the sale process.
The Cost Approach
The cost approach is based on what it would cost to reproduce your home new, less depreciation and obsolescence.
Would any person buy the property for a cost greater than the value of the land and a structure with equal appeal?
A professional appraisal for the valuation of marital property is required when the court has to divide the couple's assets.
Some provinces require a judge to independently determine the fair market value, and sometimes the judge may consider information provided by a spouse.
You should understand that when a valuation is determined, it may not include latent cost-related issues.
If there are plumbing problems under the foundation or termites that have compromised the structure, these situations will affect the sale price of a home.
Home inspections are valuable because you will have a more realistic idea of what to expect when you sell your home.
Some buyers may require home inspections to eliminate any questions regarding your home's integrity.
You will need to trust your Realtor when it comes to listing your home to sell. It pays to select a good one.
Finding a Good Realtor
Choosing a good Realtor is always important.
As obvious as this might seem, selecting the best Realtor for you can be difficult.
What defines a good Realtor?
That often depends on your particular circumstances.
For someone selling a home during a divorce, it means finding a Realtor who has experience with that situation and is comfortable with the procedure.
Some Realtors prefer not to take on clients who are selling during a divorce because the process takes more effort and knowledge than a standard real estate transaction.
Not every real estate agent is equipped to handle the complexity of property issues that come with the division
Choose one who keeps the word "divorce" out of any conversations with potential buyers.
Divorce means "desperate" to some people.
Since most divorcing couples' greatest single asset is their marital home, selling it includes the necessary decision of choosing a Realtor who will help both parties.
Conflicts of interest and strong emotions often create stressful discussions of what should be done with the house.
A Realtor experienced in transactions involving divorcing couples home knows how to handle the emotional state of spouses, the awkward meetings of soon-to-be exes, and how to provide a neutral ground for interactions.
When you look for a Realtor, questions about their divorce experience are imperative.
You need to find one you can trust wholeheartedly.
How they talk about previous clients is an accurate indicator of how you will be treated.
Look for discretion and empathy.
Most Realtors work with buyers and sellers who don't know each other, not with divorcing couples in the midst of conflict. It's important to have a Realtor who is impartial and who understands the complex nature of divorce.
When you choose among Realtors experienced in divorces, make sure you pick a good listener.
No two divorces are alike, and your Realtor should be able to help sell your home without taking sides.
Some Realtors have even been trained in mediation.
Since you and your spouse will both be involved in the selling process, look even further for an exceptional communicator who knows how to keep everyone on the same wavelength.
Suitable agents are focused on being objective and unswayed by emotional outbursts from either party.
Not only do you want a Realtor with divorce experience who is a good listener/communicator, you want one who is genuinely concerned about your situation.
They should show an interest in both parties having a quick and strong rebound in their finances.
They should also be knowledgeable about the local market in order to price your home correctly from the start.
When you interview Realtors, ask them about their listing price to sale price ratio.
What is their success rate for sales?
Here are some traits to look for when hiring an agent.
•Current - Is the agent up-to-date with the latest housing trends so he/she can serve you effectively?
•Connected - Does the agent have the necessary contacts who can assist in every phase of selling your home?
A network of connections includes home inspectors, quality service people, other brokers, and county officials.
Is the agent familiar with the current market and able to price your home strategically?
Do they know what is unique about your neighborhood to distinguish your home from the competition?
Do they know what to highlight in your area to attract buyers?
An agent must pay close attention to your specific needs, communicate well, and be quick to follow leads.
An agent who is sincerely interested in helping you will go the extra mile with a smile.
They must be able to sell themselves to you as well as sell your home to a buyer.
Some agents treat their job like a hobby or just a way to earn extra income.
Find an agent who is passionate about what they do and loves their job.
Successful agents possess a strong work ethic.
They are efficient and take advantage of time-saving tools that help sell your home.
Professional real estate agents build their reputation on high standards of business practices.
Real estate agents are commission-only business people.
Successful agents work hard because if it benefits their clients, it benefits them.
Sometimes it takes creativity to properly showcase a home, develop engaging content, and negotiate a sale.
An agent who can quickly address any marketing need is an asset to you.
• Tech-savvy -
Agents well-versed in the latest technology for marketing homes should have a website, social media setup, user-friendly home search options, and quality presentations online with high-resolution images of homes, videos, and slideshows.
Some real estate agencies have smart-phone applications.
A professional Realtor has to wear many hats.
They must be proficient in marketing, negotiating, consultation, legalities, property taxes, and, most of all, gaining the trust of their clients.
It is to your advantage to hire an agent who understands your unique needs while you work through your divorce.
If you decide that selling the marital home is the best option in this life-changing time, continue reading the chapters ahead.
Let them be a helpful guide on how to present your home in the best light and how to avoid costly mistakes, especially when it comes to negotiating.
Chapter 4 will added next couple off days
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