At the time of a divorce, parties who are parting ways are facing the task of coming to the conclusion to their Separation Agreement. When the conclusion is that the family home will be sold, sometimes this means they then need to sell the home together.
The finish line to an often long and difficult process gets that much further away. There is a lot involved in selling a home with someone else, and if that is with the person that you are freshly out of a relationship with, many hitches can arise.
While you might feel inclined to rush getting the finishing touches on your agreement, it might be good for you and your lawyer to take some extra time ironing out the details surrounding the sale of your home together. Depending on your ability to work with your ex without your lawyers there, take your time and try to think about what the next steps are. Think about the decisions that you are going to need to make together, and try to make as many of them as possible, as early as possible, and consider including them in your Separation Agreement if you think it will help.
One of the first important tasks is deciding on a Realtor®. Many former couples choose to use a realtor in these situations, but choosing one can be difficult. Especially if you each have your own realtor, you might have some disagreement around who you will use together, but each using a separate one for the sale likely isn’t feasible. Selling the home without a Realtor® can be daunting if you aren’t amicable.
If you are splitting the sale proceeds, or paying out the deficit in some proportioned way with your ex, then you are going to have a common goal you want to sell the house quickly and get as much money as you can for it. It is good to decide on what your asking price will be and making that part of the agreement. Rather than splitting the sale proceeds, in some cases one party may keep whatever those proceeds are, usually because the
other is keeping other assets, like a pension or investment, or if there’s minimal equity in the house. If you’re both on the title and selling it, it isn’t always practical, and will usually cost more to take one name off the title right away, but staying on a mortgage will still restrict your credit.
This can be tough for both parties as one will want to sell quickly, while the other might be more concerned with getting a good price. In those cases you will probably want even more structure in the agreement around what an acceptable offer will be. Maybe even outline how quickly you will drop the asking price, and what will happen if it seems like it just isn’t selling.
You should also think about any possible renovations or upgrades that will need to be done to the place before it sells. If improvements are going to help sell the place more quickly and increase your overall profit, you’ll likely want to consider them. Then you’ll have to decide what improvements are being made, and how they will be funded. Don’t forget to consider unexpected expenses that might come up.
It is important to think about the lawyer you are going to use to finalize the sale. You might both be hesitant to use the other’s lawyer for your family law process, though you could choose to do so. Your lawyer has the obligation in that instance to fairly and equally represent you for the sale, and if they can’t do that they can’t be your real estate lawyer as well. There are other real estate lawyers who could take on the job of representing you both.
Sometimes it is easy to think that you will simply sell the house, divide it, and work the rest out later. But it can be a huge help for both owners of the house to really consider with your lawyers and Realtor® what that means, and get as much agreed upon about the process as you can.