Selling a House During a Divorce: Everything You Need to Know

By Chris Gilmour

Going through a divorce can be traumatic and overwhelming, especially when you’re forced to start dividing all of your possessions. Because the home is often the greatest asset a couple owns, it’s typically the center of controversy during a painful split. 

Selling a house is a complex process at any stage in your life, but selling a house during a divorce? Now that’s downright stressful. In this post, I’m breaking down everything you need to know about selling a property during a divorce and how to move forward.

Why Sell The House During a Divorce?

While you certainly don’t have to sell your home during a divorce, it’s important to be aware of the reasons why many people choose to do so. If any of these reasons resonate with you, then you may want to consider speaking with an experienced real estate agent who can help you weigh your options. 

  • Legal Reasons – If both parties want the house but want to stay out of court, they may agree to sell the home and split the proceeds 50/50 instead.
  • Liability Reasons – Single homeownership comes with its own liability risks. If your lender won’t back a single owner and your ex refuses to continue making payments on the house, selling may be your only viable option.
  • Financial Reasons – If you can’t afford the house on a single income, selling may be your best option. You can also take advantage of a major tax break by selling the house before you are legally divorced. 
  • Emotional Reasons – Oftentimes, the home holds tremendous sentimental value to a married couple. Once your spouse is gone, happy memories you once cherished can quickly turn to painful ones and lead to the desire for a fresh start. 

Steps For Selling a House During a Divorce

The selling process during a divorce is fairly similar to selling a house any other time, except for the obvious differences in how things are divided. Here are the basic steps involved in selling a house during a divorce. 

1. Prepare the Home

Unless you plan on selling your home as-is, you will likely need to make improvements to the house before you can begin the selling process. This could mean fixing chips in the paint, repairing the plumbing, or fixing anything else you have been putting off. 

2. Hire a Trusted Real Estate Agent

It’s important to do your research when selecting a real estate agent to sell your home to make sure they’re the right fit for you. Your agent will help you take photos of your home, get the property listed, and provide you with a valuation. 

3. Review the Offers

Once the offers start coming in, you’ll need to decide whether you want to accept or counter a negotiated offer. It’s not uncommon for there to be some back and forth involved with the potential buyers. After getting an offer you’re happy with, you can begin the process of finalizing the sale.  

4. Manage the Finances

Before you can split the proceeds with your ex-spouse, you’ll need to deal with the expenses involved in selling your home like agent fees and lines of credit. Then, with the help of a divorce lawyer, it’s time to split the money based on the agreement you made with your ex. 

When it comes to selling a house during a divorce, it’s typically not as clear-cut of a process as one would hope. For this reason (and many more), it’s essential to work with an experienced real estate agent you can trust.

Contact us today to speak if you would like more information.

Chris Gilmour