Selling your house during divorce can be extremely difficult. Emotions can be high in a divorce. Chances are that someone at some time wants to destroy the house. The reality is, eventually emotions subside and we all become adults once again.
When it comes to divorce proceedings, the courts usually guide us to being adults faster than we are ready. Keep the home in tact because if you have to sell, you want top dollar. Plus you don’t want your ex-spouse to claim you damaged the property and have your portion garnished for the momentarily emotionally gratifying deed.
Agreeing to Sell and Split
One of the common ways to split assets in a divorce, especially a house, is to put it on the market, sell it and split any equity equally among the two of you. This is common especially if there aren’t children involved. It simplifies things by eliminating a pending mortgage and if you can sell quickly, expedites the divorce process. That being said, if the housing market is slow, this could drag things on longer than desired.
Talk to a realtor. Get an honest assessment for your home. Find out what estimated costs will get you a higher return. Negotiate realtor fees to keep net profits as high as possible and do a market analysis so you have reasonable expectations of the sale.
Preparing the House for Sale
Do your best as a couple to clean up the house and make it presentable for sale. Remember you both have a stake in the successful sale. De-clutter and make it look like a happy family lives there. Continue to mow the grass. And if you really want to make it smooth, tackle that honey-do-list you have been avoiding.
She’ll scratch her head wondering why you were incapable of doing it before and you’ll know you just increased your sale value. Funny how you can win that way sometimes.
The Next House
If you are selling the marital house and will be buying a new house, make sure to coordinate things with your realtor to ensure you time the purchase properly. Divorces get hung up in court and house sales get hung up for a million reasons. You don’t want to be tied into a new home mortgage when other components fall apart.
Be honest with lenders and start the process early. While you need to be prepared, don’t lock any rates in before you are really ready to pull the trigger. Constantly running credit for new approvals can hurt credit scores.
One Spouse Keeps The Pad
While this option is more common when children are involved (to keep them stable), it is a viable option in any divorce if parties agree. In this scenario, you decide to buy the house from your soon-to-be-ex. He or she will agree to quit their interest in the property by completing a quit claim deed. For their part, you agree to assume the mortgage and buy them out of their equity.
To buy your spouse out of the mortgage, you need to contact the lender and explain the divorce scenario and request an assumption of the loan. Lenders will more than likely underwrite you as an individual to make sure you can afford the house on your own. Make sure you document all income you have, including spousal support.
If the lender won’t let you assume the loan, you need to apply for a refinance. If interest rates are lower, this might not be a bad scenario anyway. Again, this is a loan application. Meet all income and debt obligations to qualify.