Divorce and Selling Your Home


Divorce Real Estate

Quick tips to help minimise the stress and maximise your finances…

When a relationship breaks down, it can have a devastating effect on your emotional and financial life. All of a sudden the world as you know it is turned upside down, and the comfort of consistency and stability is pulled from underneath your feet. Your emotions are likely to be in a state of ruin and the last thing you are likely to feel like doing is making large financial decisions. So in stressful times like these it is crucial to seek advice from experts that can guide you and protect your best interests. With the right people, starting afresh is not as difficult as it can initially seem. In the real estate industry we help people every day who are in the process of a divorce. In fact almost half of clients are in such a position, so we have established a very finely tuned service specific to such needs. Here are some quick tips for selling your house during a divorce:

1. Take extra care when choosing a real estate agent. Check they have a solid track record and many years of experience. You need someone that you trust will get you the best price. With your finances being divided into two you are going to need every last dollar from the sale. The difference between a great agent and an ok one can be very costly. For further advice on how to pick the best agent click here.

2. There is likely to be a definite lack of trust between you and your spouse so the procedure must be kept transparent at all times. Your spouse will be mainly concerned with what they will be getting out of the deal so make sure that the real estate agent is in regular contact with both of you throughout the sale. Lack of transparency and poor communication may lead to bad decision making by one or both parties. I have seen way too many premium offers being rejected by people who were not willing to listen to my advice. One sale in particular that springs to mind was a property I sold in Allambie Heights a number of years ago. The vendors, Samantha and Robert, were selling their family home after it was discovered an affair had taken place. I was appointed to sell their home and from minute one it was clear Robert had mentally moved on and was not interested in my advice regarding the sale. Samantha was the only one who was present at the pre-sale meetings and as such, was the only one who had a good understanding of the strategy and process. The property was priced at offers over $1.1M. About a week into the campaign I had negotiated an offer of $1.15M, which was miles above where any other buyer had shown interest. Samantha had seen all the feedback and comparable sales so understood it was a good price and was happy to accept the offer. Robert however did not listen to any of the vital information, so promptly rejected the offer, saying it was “too soon” and wanted to push on for more. Months later the property sold for $950,000. In this instance the lack of communication cost Samantha and Robert $200,000, which was $100,000 less for each of them. (Note: Names and exact details have been altered to protect the confidentiality of the clients). These circumstances are sadly not at all uncommon so I strongly urge all parties to listen and be involved in the procedure.

3. The shattering effect a divorce has on your finances can quite often make people want to “save” costs when it comes to marketing their home. If you are tempted by doing this be warned and note this down:

Poor marketing will result in a poor price for your property.

I need to highlight this as in divorce situations there is enough financial draining happening. Once you divide your wealth, have solicitors, accountants, court costs etc to pay…there is not going to be an impressive amount left. So the last thing you need to do is undersell your home. If you are unable to pay for the marketing or are reluctant to because your spouse is refusing contribute, consider other options such as deferred marketing payments, payment for marketing on settlement, or perhaps you have a credit card you are able to put it on. However you work it there is no way to get around the fact that to get a premium price you will need to present and market your home to the highest of standards. I have taken over a great number of poorly marketed campaigns and I have seen what damage it does. Yes it can be fixed in time if you put it in the hands of a good agent, but it may need to be rested for a period of time, but quite often in divorce situations, this may not be an option. For further information about the benefits of marketing your home click here.

4. As a married couple you may have enjoyed a good credit rating, but the divorce process sadly has the potential to damage this. It is critical that you pay down any remaining debt from your marriage. Once you have done this you will need to reassess your financial situation and make plans accordingly. If you do not have proof of a regular income and a solid credit rating, it may be difficult to get a mortgage approved at all. If this is the case renting for a few years following your divorce is a good option. Even if you are able to get a mortgage approved, renting is not necessarily a bad thing as it will give you some time to resolve the emotional damage from the divorce and get you through to such a point that you know where you want to be and what you want to do, without the stress of the divorce clouding your vision.

Unfortunately no matter way you look at it, divorce is a nasty process. Selling your house however does not need to be. In fact it can be quite a smooth and rewarding process if you have the right guidance. Make sure you do your research and appoint the right people for the job as it will make the world of difference. We have helped many people sell their homes due a divorce. We’ve seen many different scenarios, many of them very messy, which have resulted well for both parties. If you are going through a divorce and would like advice specific to your situation, we’d be delighted to help you get your life back on track.

Phone us on 0424 006 855 for a confidential discussion today.

About Tim Cullen

Since joining McGrath Estate Agents 18 years ago, Tim Cullen has defined himself as a first class industry leader with an outstanding track record and rapidly growing client base. He consistently ranks in the top 50 agents nationwide in the Real Estate Business’ Top 100 Agents List, ranking as high as 21st in Australia. He is passionate about real estate and delivering premium results for his clients.

Speak Your Mind