Selling your home can be an emotional experience. Having to sell your home due to a divorce can be overwhelming. Knowing the options available to you regarding your home during a divorce is critical to a successful separation.
Keeping your emotions in check during a divorce can be easier said than done. It is wise to think about what the most effective business decision will be in regard to your marital home. Currently, home values are still high, and the real estate market is still good. It is an opportune time to sell your home so you can both enjoy the proceeds from the increase in value.
Cooperation is Key
If you both decide to sell the marital home, cooperation is key. You can work together or with your attorneys on the stipulations of selling the home which will become a court order that you will both abide by. One of the decisions you will have to make is which real estate company and real estate agent you will choose to list your home for sale. You will have to agree on a list price and a sales price for the home. Your real estate agent or an appraiser can help guide you on pricing the home. You will both have to cooperate on getting the house ready to sell and scheduling showings. You will also have to agree on the division of proceeds.
Quit Claim Deed
If one of you wishes to keep the home and buy out the other party, you can have an attorney prepare a quit claim deed. A quit claim deed is simply a transfer of ownership. The party purchasing the home will have to come up with the money to buy out the other person. That person will also have to be approved for a mortgage based on his or her own income, credit and other financial considerations.
If you are going through an amicable divorce and the circumstances make sense, one option to consider is co-ownership. For example, if you have children, they can continue to live in home if you decide to keep it and own it together. Sometimes, the parents even take turns living in the home with the children on alternate weeks or months. This will require a very thought-out strategy on how the mortgage payments will be divided, how the utilities and taxes will be paid, and so on. In this scenario, you will be financially tethered to the home until the day you decide to sell it. There is an informative article on co-ownership on divorce.net, written by Ann O'Connell, Continuing to Co-Own the House After a Divorce.
Another key financial consideration is home values have increased by double-digits year-over-year the past couple of years. If you sell your marital home while you are still legally married, the first $500,000 in capital gains are exempt from taxes if you file jointly. If you are single at the time of the house sale, only the first $250,000 is exempt.
Choosing an Attorney
Most likely, you will both already have divorce attorneys. If you live in a state where real estate attorneys are used, you will have to decide if one of your attorneys will handle the legal matters of selling your home or if you are going to hire a neutral, third-party attorney to do so. Be sure the attorney you choose also specializes in real estate law. Your attorney will guide you through the process if you have a prenuptial agreement as well.
Going through a divorce can be difficult and the division of all your assets is a huge reason for this. Not only will you need to decide what to do with your home, but you will have to divide furniture and other belongings in the home. The more you can keep your mind open and cooperate, the less money will be spent on legal fees.