Selling Your Home During Divorce
with Barb Hazelton

It’s a sad reality that you will most likely NOT be able to remain in your marital home. It’s more likely that you will need to sell it and split the proceeds.

So, this is another area in which you want to work with your spouse to decide the strategy. We’ve said it before and we will say it again, you don’t want a man in a black robe making vital decisions for your family.

Start by spelling out in your divorce agreement exactly what the home selling process will be, including deadlines, pricing strategy, what realtor(s) you’ll use, and how you will maintain the home while it’s for sale. If you’ve agreed to a future price reduction, decide exactly when and how much you’ll reduce.

Setting the price is one of the most critical pieces to success. There are a few ways to do this:

  1. You can get an independent appraisal; that’s a good gauge because that's ultimately what a bank will lend the seller.
  2. You can also get a Price Opinion, which is having a group of realtors give their “opinion”
  3. If you start with a high sales price relative to what the market will bear, then build in price reductions or changes by deciding when and how much you will reduce the sales price.

When choosing a realtor for a divorce, you may be better served by using a team, one realtor to represent the wife and one to represent the husband.

Review with your realtor what (s)he can or can’t say. Is it ok to say you’re getting divorced? That could compromise you. And don’t look like you’re getting divorced. If he has moved his clothes out, then find some male clothes to put in the closet.

Ask your realtor what other resources she can provide: a handyman to make sure everything works, a painter to do touch ups, an organizer to help declutter, a stager to optimize furniture placement and accessories. It’s worth the time and money!

Get the house show ready, both for showings and for pictures. Most people shop online, so pictures are critical in getting them to the front door. All the work should ideally be done before it hits the market. You get one chance to make a first impression.

Buying a home is emotional, and there are studies that suggest buyers make a decision as they are driving up to your home, and within in the first 60 seconds of walking in the door. Take the time to clean up the exterior of cobwebs, and freshly paint the front door, and fill planters. At the front entrance, make the house smell good, turn on all lights, and declutter. Buyers will pay a premium for a home that feels good.

You may be falling apart, but don’t let your home do the same. It can cost you tens of thousands of dollars if it’s dirty and cluttered. Get it ready and keep it like that.

About the Author Barb & Jo

Through the process of our own divorces, Barb Hazelton and Jo Briggs learned more than they ever needed or wanted to know. Through their friendship, shared experiences, and connections through navigating their own divorces, they created this video series. They've been where you are and they hope Single Process can make it easier for you by connecting you to their resources.