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How to Sell My House after a Divorce Agreement

Learn tips on selling a home in a divorce.

Brotherly Love Real Estate

Working through a divorce can be one of the most challenging times in somebody’s life. Instead of diving into the emotional side of things, we will cover actionable tips that can help make the process of selling a house smooth and easy. These tips apply whether you have owned your house for a few months, or several decades. If you have wondered how I can sell my house after a divorce agreement, you can use this advice to avoid frustration and disagreements when selling. Tailor these tips to your own situation. Each scenario is different. Most importantly, remember that it can work out in the end.

 

The most important questions to ask both yourself, and your spouse, are:

  • What do we want to ultimately do?
  • Do either of us want to keep the house?
  • What is our timeline to sell the house?

Can I sell my house during a divorce?

Yes, you can! Of course, it depends on how far along in the divorce agreement and process you are. If your divorce is being finalized tomorrow, you typically cannot sell a house the following day. These two processes must be separate from each other. Have you ever thought about selling a house before starting the divorce process? There are several benefits that may make sense for you and your spouse to do.

 

Benefits of selling a house before a divorce

Timing is everything. Unfortunately, not everyone’s timeline is the same. If you decide to sell your house before getting divorced, you can avoid a ton of potential roadblocks later. For spouses that have shared ownership in a home, you can begin the process of selling the house as you normally would before getting a divorce.

 

The title and deed to the house are same as they were prior to you considering a divorce. This means that you can sell your house as any other joint homeowners would. You do not have to decide who gets the primary ownership of the property, or who gets to stay there with the kids. This is the cleanest way to sell a house when going through a divorce agreement. However, it’s important that you and your spouse are on the exact same page. What does this mean?

 

It is recommended that you put in writing whatever you agree upon. If you both decide to sell your house before starting the divorce process, you can draw up a small, written agreement stating that. This keeps everyone accountable, and removes most miscommunication from happening.

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Short timeline for selling a house

You and your spouse may have agreed on selling a house before getting divorced. However, the most common contingency for that agreement is timeline. You may have thought how fast can I sell my house before a divorce? The answer is, it depends. There are several variables that can affect how fast you and your spouse can sell your home. For example:

  • Economy
  • Real Estate Values
  • Real Estate Demand
  • Home Buyers in your Market

 

Best Practices to sell a house quickly

T-minus 30 days. You and your spouse need to “get out of dodge” and sell this thing FAST. What are some ways to sell a house quickly in 2021? For starters, the quickest way to sell property is to find the right buyer. Preferably, a home buyer that pays in cash. Using cash to pay for a house removes a cook from the kitchen – aka the bank. Cash is liquid, fast, and reliable.

 

Cash home buyers

 

A home buyer that is borrowing money from a bank must jump through multiple hoops to get approved for the loan. This can sometimes go by fast, but typically adds a few extra days, or even weeks, to the process of selling a house. There are stories of people getting into a contract, and then 2 months later at the last minute the buyer can’t get full approval for the loan. This can cause a property to fall out of contract even after investing your time and effort into it. If you’re thinking that I cannot sell my house after a divorce agreement because of the stress, consider working with a cash home buyer.

 

The average closing timeframe for homeowners and cash home buyers is 30 days. On the quicker side, we’ve seen people sell a house within 21 days. If 3 weeks is your prerequisite for selling a house before getting divorced, it is possible when working with the right home buyer.

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Selecting a good Title Company

 

Another factor that can positively or negatively affect the process of selling a house quick is the title company. A title company is the unbiased middleperson that handles the transfer of money and deed between home buyers and sellers. There is a ton of correspondence between all parties and the title company. If they are slow, naturally, you will have trouble selling your house fast.

 

Email threads are the death of many real estate transactions. If the title company takes multiple days to respond to emails, relay information, or forward documents, they are likely not the best choice for you and your spouse. Everyone involved in selling a house relies on the title company. It can be a blessing and a curse.

 

Where do I find a good title company? If it is your first time selling a house in a divorce, we recommend starting with referrals. Ask any friends or family in town that have sold a house quickly. See which title company they used, and determine how good their experience was. After you get you and your spouse both on board, the last thing you want to do is have the deal trudge on because the title company you selected is slow.

 

For homeowners that cannot find a good referral, a quick online search should do the trick. Your best bet is to use a title company that has worked with investors in the past. They are used to working fast and getting things done in timely manner. Scan through their online reviews before selecting one. Here are several online sources that you can also find credible title companies:

  • Google
  • Yelp
  • BiggerPockets

If you know for a fact that selling a house after the divorce is not an option, work with a trustworthy title company. This will ensure that the job gets done effectively.

 

Taking professional photos

 

Pictures tell 1000 words. This saying holds more truth as time goes on, and as people get nicer cell phones. Countless products and services are now purchased primarily online. Real estate is beginning to head in that directly. You can increase the odds of selling a house after a divorce agreement, or even before, by taking professional photos. It may seem like a chore initially, but once you have them, the rest is easy.

 

Whichever online platforms you decide to use to market your house for sale should include nice looking pictures. Cash home buyers will occasionally purchase houses site unseen. For this to happen, there needs to be a ton of demand for your property, and the location must be stellar. Nevertheless, by showcasing your property and highlighting the great features through professional pictures, you increase the chances of your home selling.

 

Home buyers will be searching vigorously online for their next home through platforms like Zillow, Redfin, Craigslist, and Facebook. Don’t miss out on the eyeballs that matter most! If you have thought that I need to sell my house during a divorce, you must take all the proper marketing steps. Going fishing where the fish are.

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Selling a House after a Divorce Agreement Settles

There are plenty of layers that go into making this decision. You and your spouse talked about selling your home before the divorce kicks off. The timelines that you both felt comfortable with didn’t align. The only thing you can think of is getting out of your current situation.

This is a common story for many people. You may not have enough time, or patience, to sell your home before starting the legal proceedings. There is still hope to get things with the property figured out. Unfortunately, the route can take longer. When selling a house after a divorce agreement, you will not be rushed to hit as many deadlines. You and your previous spouse can make sure the process is done correctly.

 

Divorce Court Decisions

You may be asking yourself, “how in the world did I get here?” Fortunately, courts are (mostly) unbiased. Each party gets a fair trial, and gets to be heard. It’s helpful for you and your previous spouse to figure out as much as possible before going to court. This can save you both time and effort later. Not all scenarios will go down like that, and you may not want to talk to them. Completely understandable.

Keeping the House

Are you still planning on selling your house after the divorce agreement? Things may have changed since you first made your decision. If one person, or both, wants to keep the house – you’ll need to figure out a few things:

  • Who will be living there?
  • Who is paying the bills?
  • What’s the long-term plan?
  • Who gets access, and when?
  • Additional rules?

For people who have children involved, it obviously makes this decision more complicated. It’s difficult to say that I will sell my house after a divorce and not think twice about it. There are other people that will be affected by your decision. For parents that have children in schools, you’ll need to consider how it could change that. Would you need to move your child to a different school? Moving is not usually a kid’s favorite activity.

 

Who will be the primary caregiver of your child? They will likely be staying in the house if you do not plan to sell it. Try to coordinate as much as possible before going to divorce court so that it can be as productive as possible when making these determinations.

 

Existing Mortgage

If there is an existing mortgage, you must figure out who is taking over the payments. There’s a chance that it could be both of you. It makes more sense for the person who will be occupying the house to take over the payments. However, you must consider financial factors as well, which can help determine who should float the mortgage.

 

You may be wondering should I sell my house after divorce? Consider the financial situation, as that could be the answer. It might not make sense to continue owning the property because after splitting up with your spouse, financially it is difficult to manage. There could be a mortgage, along with other house expenses that will need to get paid. Selling a house after a divorce agreement means figuring all of this stuff out. Items such as taxes, insurance, and utilities will need to be covered to continue owning your home.

 

For homeowners that decide to have one spouse take full responsibility for the mortgage, it is best to remove the other from the loan. Work with your primary lender who you have the loan with to get this changed. There are documents and processes you must go through to finish this. They can restructure the names on the loan to suit your requests. It is helpful to separate things if you plan to fully separate the responsibility of paying the mortgage for your house.

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Buying out the Other Spouse

An alternative that we have not covered yet is when one spouse buys out the other and takes full ownership of the property. For example, you may own your house 50/50. After you go through the divorce, one spouse may still want to stay in the home and area long-term. The other spouse may have plans to move to a different area, and wants to sell the house fast. The solution to this crossroads is having one party buy out the other party, leaving only one spouse on the deed.

 

Determining the value of your house

Typically, when one party buys out another party from a property, they pay market value for the percentage of equity they are buying. What does this mean? If you have thought that I need to sell my house after a divorce but can’t because my spouse wants it, this is a perfect solution. Your spouse can take 100% ownership of the home. And you get to walk away, hopefully with lots of money in your pocket! It’s a win-win situation when selling a house after a divorce agreement.

Here’s the breakdown

 

Get the house formally appraised to determine the current market value. Calculate any outstanding debts owed against the house that pertain to the party selling their equity. Next, figure out how much equity the selling party owns. Finally, do the math!

  • EXAMPLE: $100,000 in current value
  • EXAMPLE: $5,000 line of credit take out and used only by the selling party
  • EXAMPLE: the house is owned 50/50 by each spouse
  • FINAL PAYOUT: $100,000 x 50% = $50,000 – $5,000 = $45,000

The selling party should receive $45,000, or very close to that number, to allow the other spouse to buy them out. There are often more factors that play into these types of scenarios, but this example lists the basics. If you plan to sell a house after a divorce, follow this protocol if one spouse wants to keep the home.

 

Selling a house with items inside

When figuring out the calamity of how to sell a house after a divorce, you must decide who gets which item inside. This pertains to spouses that are selling the entire property, along with spouses that are buying out the other spouse. You must determine who gets the fun toys, art, and appliances within your home.

This process can be as fast as the drop of a hat, or the complete opposite. If there are tons of items that you both find sentimental, and have both paid for, you can wind up in a tug of war. Selling a house after a divorce agreement comes with many challenges, including this. Is your spouse buying your equity in the home? For those situations, you don’t have to decide just yet on every single item within the house. You can mutually agree to figure those details out as time goes on. Don’t rush something that doesn’t have to be rushes, as long as you are both comfortable taking it slow.

Tax Changes after Selling your House in a Divorce

Speak with your financial advisor before making any decisions. Going from married to single on your taxes can change a lot. Your asset column may be split in half, or even more, when you sell a house after getting divorced. After consulting with a professional, do your best to work with your spouse and weigh the factors of that will negatively affect your taxes.

 

Is it worth it to wait until the next fiscal year to sell our house, even though we are already divorced? The answer to this could be yes. Again, revert to your timeline to help you determine the best course of action. You might not be able to wait. There are dozens of other tax factors that go into this decision that you’ll want to consider. See what your tax advisor suggests. Ask them what people typically do with their house when getting divorced.

Going through a divorce can be an incredibly challenging time. There are family members to consider, costs to think about, and logistics to plan. Take a deep breath, and know that you have options. If you wondered how to sell my house after a divorce agreement, look at your entire situation first. Determine your timeline, and what makes the most sense to do moving forward. Click here to learn how we buy houses and can help homeowners with any type of situation. Our team looks forward to speaking with you (215) 769-9875

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