February 23, 2024 | Downsizing

What Are the Challenges of Selling During a Divorce?

Selling your home at the best of times is a detailed and complex process. Add a divorce to the mix, and the situation becomes even more delicate. At the same time, earning the highest amount possible from the sale has never been more important so that both spouses can split the proceeds and peacefully go their separate ways. 

In this post, we’ll address some of the toughest challenges of selling during a divorce and how you can best navigate them. 

Agreeing to Sell at All

Divorcing couples can struggle with many decisions. The biggest conflict of all may be whether to sell the home or whether one partner should get to continue living there. The solution will depend on your long-term goals and the resources you each have once the assets have been split. Often, selling the home is the most straightforward path. 

Other options could include one partner buying the other out, or, if your breakup is amicable, holding onto the property to rent out. As difficult as it may be to negotiate with your ex-partner, this step is essential. Both partners must agree to selling the house, and one cannot list it on the market without the other’s consent. 

Searching for catch-all home selling advice that can help you get ready for the market? Have a look at these blogs next!

Agreeing to the Terms

If you and your former spouse agree to sell the property, you still have several decisions to make. First, you’ll need to agree on when to sell the home and for how much. You’ll also need to coordinate any repairs before the home goes on the market. Many repairs and upgrades can add value to the sale, but will also require more time and communication between the two of you.

If you have a positive relationship, taking the extra time to prepare the home thoroughly can result in a higher selling price. These extra funds go a long way to alleviating any financial strain during your divorce proceedings. If your divorce is contentious, selling the home as-is may be the best path forward. You may not earn quite as much, but will be able to sever ties faster. 

What Real Estate Agent to Choose

Should each of you have your own real estate agent or can you use the same Realtor® to represent you both? Once again, the answer depends on your situation. 

In the event of an amicable separation, having a designated point of contact greatly streamlines the selling process. Conversely, when conflicts arise between partners, having separate agents can alleviate stress during transactions. It’s common for individuals to employ one agent to sell their shared property while each partner retains separate representation for acquiring or renting new properties. Utilizing a Real Estate team can offer a cohesive process that caters to individual needs while safeguarding privacy, ultimately reducing stress and potential conflicts throughout the transaction.

Getting Legal Representation

Though we are not lawyers and cannot provide legal advice, you will want to ensure you protect your own interests. Even if you are on friendly terms with your former spouse, it’s a good idea to obtain your own legal representation.

Your lawyer will guide you through all aspects of your divorce, including selling the matrimonial home and splitting the proceeds. You will undoubtedly have many questions throughout the proceedings, such as:

  • Do you need a separation agreement in place before selling the home?
  • How will you divide the profits from the sale?
  • What are your rights regarding the property? If one partner paid more toward the mortgage and the other contributed the down payment or covered other expenses, it can get complicated.
  • Are you responsible for your ex-partner’s debts?

Navigating the Current Market

Finding an experienced real estate agent and lawyer to represent you won’t erase the stress from selling your home, but their expertise will help to simplify the process. From there, it’s a matter of navigating the current market so that you can fully maximize the value of your home. Even if you decide to sell as-is, there are still small details that can help your listing stand out:

  • First, clean and declutter each room thoroughly. Decide what items you want to move with you to your new location and donate, discard, or sell everything else. 
  • You don’t have to engage in significant renovations, but a few minor touch-ups and repairs can help you sell your home at the highest price possible. You will be amazed at what a fresh coat of neutral-coloured paint can do to refresh a room!

Your real estate agent can suggest dozens of ways to make minor changes that appeal to potential buyers in the current market. If you can’t bring yourself to do the work yourself, they can even recommend trusted professionals to handle each task for you.  

Selling your home can involve some tough emotional moments – even without the added stress of a divorce. Check out these other blogs for more insights. 

Emotional Obstacles

Deciphering the real estate market and the legal complexities of your divorce can be stressful, especially when your emotions are already running high. This is not like any other transition, like the purchase of your first home, where you may be nervous but are also joyful and excited. 

Moving on from a divorce usually involves a complex range of feelings from sadness to anger and frustration. A peaceful resolution and finding happiness again are also possible, but that milestone can feel far away as you go through the process of selling your matrimonial home and say goodbye to all the memories. 

During this time, it’s essential to take care of yourself. Surrounding yourself with caring friends and family can be your lifeline. Better days lie ahead once all of this is behind you.

Do you have questions about selling your home in Guelph or the Tri-Cities this year? Our experts are happy to help you get started. Reach out today to 519-826-7109 or info@gowylde.ca to take the next step.

GoWylde Newsletter