Moving home is a significant undertaking at any time, but when you are also going through a divorce there can be some additional issues to consider. Many couples will need to sell property during a divorce so it is important to think about how you will manage this process. You should also ensure that you get all the support you need, not only from your divorce lawyer, but also through selecting a trustworthy and experienced realtor and appraiser to value and sell your property.
Should You Sell Your Home When You Get Divorced?
Dividing up your assets is a key part of arranging a divorce. Since the marital home is usually the largest asset that you share, it is essential to think carefully about what will happen to it when you separate. Putting the property on the market is the most common option for divorcing couples in Colorado, but it isn’t always the right choice for every couple and you shouldn’t feel pressured to rush into a quick sale. Selling a home for the right price can take time and properties in many parts of Colorado are in high demand so there is no need to rush to find a buyer.
Most couples who are divorcing in Colorado will decide to sell their home and then split the proceeds. However, there are other options that you may want to consider. For example, one partner may be able to refinance the mortgage and buy out the other. You might also want to delay the sale, for example if want to keep the family home for a while in order to provide continuity for your children. The best option for you will depend on your personal and financial circumstances, so it is important not to rush into your decision.
You may also want to consider the local real estate market before deciding on the best time to sell. Take a look at the listings for similar properties and talk to a realtor to get an idea of how quickly you will be able to find a buyer. Get your property valued so that you know how much it would take to buy out your partner or how much you could each make if you sell now. You might decide that it is better to wait a while before selling, to rent out the property temporarily, or to make some improvements in order to raise its value.
When you are ready to sell your home, you should consider how you are going to manage the process while separating. Although your realtor will be able to help, there are some decisions that you will need to take together. You may prefer to do this in person or through an intermediary, such as your divorce lawyers or another neutral party. You can get advice on the process from your lawyers or a realtor who has experience managing property sales during a divorce.
Preparing to Sell Your Home
The basic process of selling your home during a divorce will be the same as at any other time. You will need to choose a realtor, have your home valued, arrange showings, and decide what to do when you get an offer. However, since you will be in the process of separating while all of this is going on, it is important to communicate with each other (directly or via your lawyers) and to make the important decisions early on.
One of the key issues that you will need to discuss is the price you are willing to accept for the property. Getting the property valued by a realtor will give you a good idea of how much you should expect to make. Your divorce settlement will determine how the proceeds from the sale will be shared between you and you can ask your lawyer for advice on this.
The valuation is a guide to how much your property is worth, but you will still need to consider what you will do if a potential buyer makes an offer on your home. You will both need to agree on how low you are willing to go if an offer below the asking price is made. Deciding this before you put the property on the market will enable you to negotiate more easily with the buyer when you receive an offer as you won’t need to take more time to discuss it between yourselves. Accepting a lower offer can help you to achieve a quicker sale, but it could also impact your budget for buying your next home so it is important to consider this decision carefully.
Another issue that you will need to decide on before you put the property up for sale is how you will manage the process. You will have various tasks to complete in order to find a buyer and arrange the sale. Depending on your circumstances, you may want to divide these tasks between you or for one of you to take on responsibility for the entire process. Among the tasks that you may need to complete are:
- Preparing the property for sale (e.g. conducting repair work, touching up the decor)
- Choosing a realtor and arranging the valuation
- Setting up viewings or open houses
- Negotiating with buyers who make offers on the property (via your realtor)
- Arranging removals and ending contracts for utilities etc when you move out
Once you have a better idea of everything that needs to be done, it can also be a good idea to talk about the likely timeline for the sale. Your realtor can advise you on how long it usually takes for similar properties to sell in your area, but you may also need to consider factors such as your children’s schooling or how long it might take you both to find new homes to move into. If one or both of you are still living in the property, then you will need to take this into account when arranging viewings or setting the completion date for the sale.
Although it is impossible to set a definite timeline for the sale of your property, it can be helpful to have some idea of the timescale. You can set targets for accomplishing some tasks, such as arranging any repairs that need to be done or getting your house listed by a realtor. Doing this can help you both to make plans for your futures.
Buying a New Home After a Divorce
In addition to managing the sale of your shared property, you will each need to think about your next steps. You may want to buy your own property, so you will need to look for a new home at the same time as you are selling. You will need to consider two key points while you are searching for property to buy if you intend to use the proceeds from selling your marital home.
Firstly, you should work out how much your shared property is likely to sell for and how much your share of the proceeds will be as this is likely to determine your budget for the purchase. You will also need to take a careful look at your credit rating and finances in order to set your budget. It is a good idea to talk to a bank or mortgage lender early on so that you have a reliable estimate of how much you will be able to borrow. You can then ask your realtor for advice on your property search.
Secondly, you will need to consider what impact the sale of your shared home could have on the timing of your purchase or move. You may need to move into temporary accommodation if you get a good offer for your current property before you have a new home to move into. Alternatively, you may need to wait to complete the sale on your shared property until you or your ex-partner is ready to move out.
The realtor who is managing the sale of your shared property will also be able to advise you on your property search and to guide you through the process of buying a new home.
Starting the Sales Process
If you are in the process of divorcing, then you can contact a realtor to learn more about your options or to take the first steps towards selling your marital home. It is important to get all the facts so that you can make the right decisions about when to sell. You will also need to get the property valued so that you both know how much you are likely to receive for the sale, especially if you will be using the proceeds to purchase your next home.
The process of selling your home during a divorce will be very similar to any other property sale, but your personal circumstances mean that it is essential to communicate well and to coordinate your efforts. Discussing the property value and timeline with your ex-partner at the beginning of the process will ensure that you both have realistic expectations. You may also need to divide responsibility for various aspects of the sale between yourselves, although your realtor will be able to manage much of the process on your behalf.
Selling your home is a major life-experience, whether you are going through a divorce or not. Having a reliable realtor who knows the local property market well can make all the difference. If you need any guidance on selling your joint property or you want to arrange a valuation of your home, then you should get in touch right away.
Damon Chavez, Realtor
10135 West San Juan Way, #100
Littleton, CO 80127
Phone: (303) 649-6767