Selling a house can be stressful in the best of times - but what about in the worst of times... like as a result of a divorce?
At such an emotionally turbulent time in your life, it may be difficult to keep your head - but you have to if you want the best deal out of the matriomonial home. The key is due diligence early on in the separation from your spouse; real estate and financial experts will be your best investment (aside from a good divorce lawyer).
Divorce the House Before the Spouse
Don't leave the dividing up of the family home until after the divorce is final or, in other words, be sure to divorce the house before the spouse.
That's the motto of a Tennesse-based organization calling themselves "divorce troubleshooters for real estate," that offer continuous education for realtors, mortgage professionals, and home inspectors. (One Ontario home inspection company has received their training and certification in dealing with divorcing couples.)
Stamp out All Signs of Desperation
One of your options is to sell the home and divide up the proceeds - which will be determined by the divorce settlement, who paid how much of the home's down payment, and what your area's property laws are.
When listing your home, real estate sales representative Michael Baeumler of Brampton, ON, suggest that the sellers make every effort to avoid any kind of price reduction scenario. For example, cover up evidence that a spouse's clothing having been removed from the home; you don't want potential buyers to sense a breakup and suspect that you're desperate to sell.
You might decide to buy out your spouse - but first figure out how you'll continue to meet your monthly financial obligations on a single salary. Refinancing on your own might be a challenge if you used two incomes to qualify for the old loan. And don't underestimate the "ghosts" that can linger in a matrimonial home.
If it is your spouse who wants to stay put, you can buy him/her out. But beware: If the original home loan is not refinanced, most lenders will consider both you and your ex to be liable for the mortgage (even if you don't have legal ownership anymore). That could make qualifying for a new mortgage difficult for you if you decide to purchase a home.
Your income and credit most likely took a hit during the separation of assets, so you have a lot at stake. Don't let your heart make any real estate decisions at this critical time.
Have you been through a divorce and the dividing up of the matrimonial home? Leave your comments here.