Selling Your Home in a Divorce

Early in my real estate career, I was working with a nice young couple who was looking for a move-up home. I had their starter under contract and we found a spacious contemporary in an area they loved. I still remember that first walk through; it had everything they wanted, like a first floor master bedroom, a large level yard, roomy kitchen, and plenty of other bells and whistles.

As we walked through we noticed that the seller was on the phone in the kitchen, visibly upset as she complained to the person on the line. We then walked though the den on the first floor. It was devoid of any furniture, and the built in shelves were empty. When we got to the master bedroom, one of the walk in closets was empty.

A light bulb went off in my head. This was a divorce situation, and they were doing a poor job of concealing it. We made an offer of tens of thousands less than we might have offered because we sensed that we had leverage. The seller had to come to the closing with money just to pay off their mortgage. We ate their lunch.

It didn’t have to be that way, of course, but the people selling the house did such a bad job of masking their problems that the buyer naturally pressed their advantage. The hit to the sellers was about 15% of the cost of the home- it was devastating.

With home prices in Westchester county selling at a median of well over half a million dollars, a divorce can cost big money that a seller might otherwise have kept had they played things smarter. Beyond that, selling your home in a divorce means far more than keeping some secrets. It is coordinating two separate, massive events: the dissolution of a union and the sale of property. It is managing what is often a painful process in the shadow of a massive financial transaction, and making sure that all bases are covered to avoid a costly mistake.

So much can go wrong when a divorce is part of a home sale that the emotional and financial toll can be staggering. Even attorneys shake their heads when the term “matrimonial” is added to the sale of a home. It is one of the toughest jobs they can take on. If you are facing divorce and the sale of your home, it is crucial that the broker you choose has experience in such a difficult and challenging transaction.

When the dust settles on a divorce and the parties look back, one of the biggest regrets they have is the negative consequences their split had on the sale of their home. The time lost, the heartache, and the devastating and sometimes ruinous financial costs of the divorce on the sale of the home cannot be exagerated. You cannot just use any agent.

We have brokered quite a few closings in a divorce and that experience can make a big difference to you financially and for your sanity. For more information on how we can help, simply fill out the contact form and we’ll connect. We know the pain, frustration and stress. We can help you both get to the other side and make the real estate part of the process a win/win. If you prefer to call, you can dial me directly on my cell at (914) 450-8883.