7 Tips for Successfully Selling a House Before Divorce
There is nothing harder than admitting that a once-fulfilled dream has finally, even abruptly, come to an end. Whether you’re closing down the family business you built from the ground up or accepting that your body no longer recovers as quickly from playing rough sports, letting go is painful. But few things are as agonizing as ending a relationship, however—even when it’s the best choice for everyone involved.
What can make the decision to part from a spouse even more difficult is the domino effect that often follows. Among the cascade of events most divorcing couples face, the decisions about what to do with the family home can weigh heavily. In most cases, selling a house before divorce proceedings actually begin is going to be the option that brings the least amount of stress. The less pain your family will have to endure, the better. So, let’s take a look at how you can move through at least this part of the inevitable process quickly.
Why Selling a House Before the Divorce Is a Good Idea
If you’re not completely sold on selling the house during your separation or after you’ve both agreed to divorce (but before proceedings have started), consider why it’s a good idea to handle the sale sooner rather than later. Experience shows that selling now can:
- Quickly end any debate over who will live in the home, potentially minimizing heightened feelings of loss that either you or your spouse are likely to endure.
- Ensure more privacy and less confusion for your family by reducing the number of people involved in deciding how and when—or for how much—to sell the house.
- Protect the proceeds of the sale from being absorbed by attorneys’ fees, considering that some lawyers drag out divorce cases involving the distribution of large assets.
- Free you and your spouse from the financial burden of caring for the home, especially if the mortgage payment or repairs have been a source of constant stress.
- Shorten the lifespan of your pain, giving you, your spouse, and the kids more space, time, and money to concentrate on building a new life.
What can make the decision to part from a spouse even more difficult is the domino effect that often follows.
How to Make the Sale of Your Home Go Smoothly
None of this is to say, however, that the sale of your house will go through quickly or that the process itself won’t involve some pain. Not only do real estate markets vary by location and season, but opinions about how to make the sale run smoothly also tend to differ between spouses—even during the best of times. So, here are several things you can do to ensure that selling your house before the divorce ultimately becomes a source of relief:
Keep it professional, not personal.
If you can think of selling your house before the divorce as a business transaction—and not as an act that adds insult to injury—decisions about the sale, such as your home’s list price, will be easier to make. They’ll also be less likely to inflict harm. When emotions run the show, sabotage of even our own best interests often takes the lead.
Stay current on the loan.
Divorces are expensive. Starting a new life in another home is going to be costly, too. As tempting as it might be to skip paying the mortgage, however, remain vigilant. Falling behind on the house payment can make it harder to sell your home, especially if the bank makes a move to foreclose on it. Buying a new house will be more difficult as well since late payments on a loan adversely affect creditworthiness—for years.
Clean and clear the air.
Well organized, clean, and spacious homes tend to attract more buyers who are willing to make good offers. Not only is it easier for them to explore the house, but it’s also easier for them to envision living in it. Cleaning up isn’t just about wiping down counters and putting away toys, though. People know when there is tension in the air, too. So, maintain a professional demeanor when you’ve got visitors so that potential buyers can see the home as a happy one.
Because traditional buyers typically prefer move-in ready homes, performing repairs and upgrades can help to speed up the sale—and, possibly, get you higher offers. If, on the other hand, you try to sell a house with a condemned boiler, out-of-date cabinetry and appliances, or cracked and fading exterior paint, reaching the end to your frustration will be far from easy. The length of time your house sits on the market could hurt your bank account—and further strain your fraying relationship—too.
Of course, rehabs are costly and can take three to nine months or more to complete. Plus, there is never a guarantee that any work you do will benefit your bottom line in the end—especially if the market shifts by the time you finish repairs. But, without the right buyer, selling your home as-is could take just as long or longer.
Hire a REALTOR®.
To save money—especially if you spent a lot of it performing a renovation—you may feel tempted to sell your property without a REALTOR®. Granted, that could potentially save you upwards of six percent (or more) in commissions and fees. It might help to keep the sale of your house private, too—if you have a buyer you can sell directly to.
There is a downside to this decision, however. Without the expertise of a real estate agent to guide you, gauging the market, pricing your home, advertising the sale, communicating with buyers, negotiating with other agents, and filing the correct paperwork could deplete your time and your energy—neither of which you have a lot of right now. Make a mistake on any of these tasks and you may find you’ve shorted yourself a decent return on the sale as well.
Ensure more privacy and less confusion for your family by reducing the number of people involved in deciding how and when—or for how much—to sell the house.
With only one of you living in the home, selling the house can happen faster and with less hassle. It’s easier to arrange showings when you’re working with a single schedule. And the more often you can show your house, the more offers you’ll likely get. You reduce the risk of buyers picking up on any lingering tension when they visit as well.
Deciding who has to move out first may not be an easy task. But if you keep the end goal in mind, it could very well benefit you both.
Sell to a cash buyer who can close quickly.
One of the quickest and easiest steps anyone can take toward selling a house before a divorce is to sell it directly to an all-cash buyer. Typically, cash buyers are real estate investors who are able to close fast because they don’t need to use a loan. There are other benefits to going this route, too.
For example, you and your spouse may not have to move out until you’re ready; there is no one to impress, and there will be few (if any) showings to schedule. Performing repairs won’t be required since real estate investors prefer to do the work themselves. With some, you won’t even have to bother organizing, cleaning, or packing up. It’s possible to be honest about your situation, too. A reputable buyer will have experience working with sellers in difficult situations, understanding that you can’t put a price tag on expressing compassion.
As important as it is to recognize when something significant in your life has come to an end, it’s just as critical to look for the hidden opportunities to begin again.
Where to Turn to Sell Your House Quickly, Easily, and Directly
As important as it is to recognize when something significant in your life has come to an end, it’s just as critical to look for the hidden opportunities to begin again. Selling one house to buy another—no matter the reason why—is one such opportunity. And, at Sell Your House Direct, that is exactly the experience we want you to have as one of our clients.
As all-cash buyers, of course, we can take your home as-is. In fact, if you’d like, you and your spouse can simply point to the things you want in the home and we’ll take care of the rest—old rugs, leaking pipes, cracked driveway, and all. Plus, we can close as quickly or as slowly as you and your family need. And, because we prefer putting payment directly into our clients’ hands, you won’t have to hire a real estate agent, escrow company, or other professionals, either.
We know life gets complicated and, at times, can even feel hopeless. So, we strive to keep things simple and fair for all of our clients.