By: Jennifer Chino
Your house is probably your biggest asset and can often times be one of the biggest points of contention when divorcing. Here is a survival guide.
First and foremost, when going about selling your home, it is not as grueling as you think if you have trustworthy professionals advising you. Experiencing difficulties in your marriage is challenging whether it is amenable or contentious. When meeting clients who have decided to separate there are several pieces of advice I give them.
It’s important to try to remain as objective as possible when it comes to the selling process. Everyone’s goal is to gain enough profit from the sale of the home to leave each spouse with a financially solid foundation. Profits from a sale of the marital home can lend in other financial responsibilities such as securing a new home, paying legal fees and clearing off shared debts. Selling a home while going through a divorce can be emotionally challenging and draining for all parties involved. I always remind my clients to keep focused on their goal, which is to sell their home and move forward.
In my many years of working with separated or divorced spouses, the most valuable thing you can have in real estate is time. Typically, I like to be involved from the beginning, when the idea first comes into mind about selling. Planning, preparing and watching the market is crucial when selling. You and your spouse will need to open the line of communication and make decisions together regarding the responsibilities of the home sale. In some cases, you don’t often have the luxury of time but if all parties can be amenable during the process, we can work together to develop a timeline to leverage the current market.
Listen to Professionals
We all know how helpful friends and family can be when it comes to advice during trying times. This is one time where you need to let the professionals do their job. We all have that one friend or family member who has sold a house or two and has decided they are the resident expert in “everything real estate”.
Why should I work with a real estate agent? Having a professional to work on your behalf can make the home selling process easier. The real estate agent has a vast amount of experience and knowledge that can take a substantial amount of stress off your shoulders.
For example: In the state of Maryland a buyer’s mortgage appraiser typically looks back at home sales in your market area a maximum of 180 days to estimate the current value of your house. Variable home estimates can fluctuate depending if your home is unique, such as a waterfront property, in comparable to properties that have sold in your area. Overpricing a home can lead to serious problems. Buyers are typically working with real estate agents who are experienced enough to spot an overpriced home listing and will advise their clients to stay clear. Pricing your home correctly with the advice of your real estate agent can ultimately lead to a timely, profitable sale.
Time flies and we have all had a home sell in the area where we were certain of the value and expect it to be taken into consideration, believe me, I do this for a living and fell victim to this myself. I just knew this one house down the street was a perfect comparable for our house, but it turns out that sale was over a year ago! That won’t work for the current value. In another scenario, I sold a historic home that was licensed as a Bed and Breakfast downtown Annapolis. That required going back farther than 180 days to help obtain a value with “relative properties”. That was an unusual case. Your Realtor can guide you through the relative properties and what an appropriate pricing range should be.
Everyone involved wants the sale to happen quickly and for the highest sales price. The listing process can happen very quickly, then once your home is “Live” on the market it can be an agonizing wait. At this point, you have prepared your home for showings. It’s not always that easy and you must be patient! There are several factors to take into consideration; the time of the year can play a significant role in home sales. Seasonal areas, holidays, the academic year and yes, even Football games. Believe it or not, after the Super Bowl weekend home showings start to pick up throughout the Spring/Summer market and die back down after the football season begins again. The housing market and the economic climate are also both leading factors in the preparing for the sale of your home.
If you need help finding the right Realtor we have a nationwide referral network and would be happy to assist you in finding the perfect match for your needs. If you are local, we would love to be that resource for you.
About Jennifer Chino
Jennifer started in real estate as a “For Sale by Owner” in 2005. She knew there was a need for a different kind of Realtor, someone who listened to the clients’ needs and put those needs first and foremost. She prides herself on providing excellent customer service and making your real estate transaction a pleasurable one. Her areas of expertise are divorce, corporate relocation, first time home buyers, move up buyers, and clients looking to downsize. She uses her vast array of contacts to help with everything from providing recommended resources throughout the transaction (mortgage, title, inspectors, attorneys, contractors etc). For more information or to set up a real estate consultation you can contact Jennifer at Jennifer@stahleythompson.com.