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Sale of the Home in the Divorce Process

By Meg Watts

Divorce and Real Estate…

often the two are dealt with at the same time. When divorcing couples decide it is necessary to sell their marital residence and move to new separate residences, which is stressful under the best of circumstances is stressful, becomes even more so. Following are a few things that all homeowners should keep in mind when selling a house and then buying a house.

When selling the house

Change your hat: Remove the “emotional hat” and replace it with a “business hat”. Selling a home is essentially a business transaction. When dealt with in a business like manner, homeowners are sure to maximize their financial gain and minimize the stress level.

One step at a time: Keep in mind, nothing is done over night, and nothing is done without the signed agreement of all parties. There are many people (lenders, appraisers, accountants, home inspectors and others) that can be used as resources to aid in the entire sale process. A good Realtor can help from beginning to end to lighten the stress load by educating homeowners as to what to expect each step of the way and making sure the details are attended to.

Team work: In spite of a failed marriage, it’s best to work together to prepare the house for sale. A Realtor can help determine what repairs and maintenance items that are important. Then review the “to do” list together, divide the tasks, create a schedule and put it in your calendars!

When buying a new house

Big Decision: Buying a piece of Real Estate should never be taken lightly. It is a big decision that will affect everything else you do. Use caution and seek the advice of trusted friends, family or advisors to be certain your thoughts and decisions are not faulty. Divorce can cause tremendous emotional trauma and depression. In a perfect world no big decisions should be made at this time. However, decisions often do need to be made regardless of our preparedness to do so. So careful consideration and common sense is key.

Budgeting: Mortgage lenders will usually give you a mortgage with a monthly payment much higher than you are probably comfortable with. It is imperative that you are very clear on what you are comfortable spending each month on a mortgage payment; including taxes, homeowners insurance and association fees (if applicable). Work closely with your budget, now is not the time to further stress yourself out!

Pre-Approval: Seek the advice of a mortgage lender. Run the numbers with them and get pre-approved before looking at houses, or submitting an offer on a house.