Selling Your Home After Your Marriage Ends

Posted on: 23 December 2020


Selling a home is a big task for a married couple, and it becomes a complicated task when that marriage has come to an end. This might even be the reason for the sale if neither party is willing or able to buy the other out. When the property is held in both your names, the proceeds of the sale will be split between you and your soon-to-be former spouse, once all financial liabilities have been settled. So how should you approach the sale when you and your former partner might not be on the best of terms?

Choosing a Realtor

Perhaps the first step is finding a compassionate realtor who is willing to liaise with both parties. The idea of a seller suggests a unified arrangement, even when the seller is in fact, multiple people. A good realtor should be able to discuss the necessary steps and obligations with both you and your soon-to-be former spouse, allowing the realtor to act as the unified front that will be presented to potential buyers. It's not as though the existing owner needs to interact with the buyer in a significant way, and the realtor can keep both parties updated on matters that require a consensus.

Repairs and Touch-Ups

One matter that requires some effort from both parties is any repairs or touch-ups that should be completed before the property officially goes on the market. This isn't rocket science, and all homes for sale need this level of scrutiny. It's not as though you're obligated to undertake a major renovation, but completing minor repairs that improve the aesthetics and functionality of the property should be considered essential. The same goes for minor touch-ups, such as painting and making the garden presentable. For former couples who no longer have a good relationship, it might be preferable to outsource these jobs. If your budget doesn't allow this, ask the realtor to compile a list of their recommendations, and then divide this list between you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse.

Staging the Property

What about when one of you has already begun to move out? Moving out after a marriage breaks up is arguably a partial move out, with only certain items being removed. Just what belongs to who will hopefully have been decided without argument, and yet you need to plan for the fact that certain key pieces of furniture will be absent when the house is on the market. You can't overlook the importance of staging, which is dressing up a house to look as much like a home as possible. When the absence of certain items is conspicuous, consider temporary replacements. Ask family and friends if you can borrow the items in question, and you can even think about short term furniture rental. 

Selling a house is more effort than you might expect, and it's a different kind of effort when you're selling it with your soon-to-be former spouse. If you're looking to sell a home or need help finding a home for sale, contact a local real estate agent.