How to Sell a House in a Divorce: Think with Your Head, Not with Your Heart

Posted on November 12, 2018 by Amanda & Brandon Gladin

Wondering how to sell a house in a divorce?

The end of a relationship is complicated and painful all on its own before you have to consider how to sell a house in a divorce…

What was once a shared home has now become a necessary asset for two people who are used to sharing finances.

The need to sell a house in a divorce usually comes about when neither of the two parties can afford to keep the home on their own. It may be the case that one party wants to stay, in which the other will need to compensate for the shared equity.

How to Sell a House in a Divorce

Two people who have shared income, furniture, taxes and insurance suddenly need to figure out how to make it work alone. It is costly.

New furniture needs to be purchased, someone is going to need to find their own insurance, you may need simple things like dishes, silverware, bath mats, small appliances…

Beyond needing to sell a house in a divorce because of financial reasons, the house and other assets can become weapons that bitter parties can use against each other. It is complicated and emotional.

I want to cover some practical suggestions on how to sell a house in a divorce by keeping things professional and detaching sentimental value from the house that was once a home.

Taking Care of Yourself is Always Important!

I am a promoter of self care. Difficult life situations like divorce can take up so much energy that we forget to take care of ourselves. Good mental health will translate to more logical decisions. Emotions can get the best of use and cause us to do illogical things, and in divorce lots of difficult decisions need to be made.

Let go of any attachment to the house. When you sell a house in a divorce it is difficult to detach emotions and memories from the process. Maybe kids were raised in the home. Every scuff mark on the wall has a memory attached to it. Remember that new horizons are coming. Try to be excited about making a new house your home!

Don’t sabotage yourself. When people feel hurt the desire to retaliate can cloud judgement. Perhaps one party does not want to sell and out of anger destroys the bathroom to make the process more difficult, or does things to intentionally delay the sale of the home. It is easy to get caught up in resentment, but when the value of the home is decreased or the property sits on the market longer than necessary everyone loses.

Prepare the House For Selling

Clean the house! Living somewhere for a long time it is easy to become blind to clutter or simple fixes. Simple deep cleaning makes a world of difference to buyers coming into the home. First impressions are important. Make sure to clear out all your personal belongings to declutter the house. Don’t anticipate returning to the home multiple times. If you are moving, take everything with you so you don’t have to worry about your stuff later on.

Stage the home. Experienced realtors will help you do this. Making the home sell ready does not have to be costly, and if you are trying to sell your house in a divorce than your funds are already tight. Stage a home easily on a budget—many resources exist online showing you the staging process and tips. Updating hardware, a simple coat of paint in the bathroom and creating focal points are all cost effective staging techniques.

Get Professional Help

Learn the facts. When did you purchase the home? Are there liens on the home? Whose name is on the deed?

The house is generally the largest financial asset that a couple shares, and dividing equity equally between the couple is typically standard but may not be the case for your particular situation.

Prepare your expectations when trying to sell your house in a divorce.

Hire a professional home buyer or Realtor with divorce experience. They are going to know specific information applicable to your situation. They will be able to help you investigate and answer the questions in the section above!

Use your home buying specialist to mediate disagreements between both parties.

Who is responsible for managing repairs to the home? Do you and your spouse disagree on the sale price? (Or any other details you are trying to determine when prepping for sale…)

Use your Houston home buyer as a professional sounding board to help mediate difficult decisions that they have experience with.