Selling Your House Before a Divorce might be a good idea.
If you're anything like most Americans, the house you live in is the single most expensive thing you'll buy in a lifetime. It might also be community property, which can be a source of real stress when you're getting a divorce. Unlike your bank accounts, debts and shared frequent flier miles, a house can't really be evenly split between divorcing spouses, which means that you or your spouse can buy the other out, or you can sell the house and divide the sale proceeds.
As a rule, you should plan to put the house up for sale as quickly as possible once you've agreed that divorce is inevitable. By getting the property in Harford County, MD and surrounding areas on the market early on, you're maximizing the amount of time it's available and potentially drawing in more interested buyers. That makes it more likely that you'll get an offer you're happy with, leaving more equity to divide between the two of you.
Putting your house up for sale before getting divorced also helps ease the way forward by letting you both move out and get used to something like the single life in separate homes.
One frequently overlooked benefit of selling the house before your divorce is in your tax filings. It's not uncommon for both parties in a divorce to move out of the marital home, which technically makes the house you shared into a second home for you both.
If a significant amount of time goes by and the property appreciates in value to any great degree, the increase could be handled at tax time as a capital gain and taxed at the standard 15 percent. Thus, if you both move out in April of one year and the house doesn't move until the next December but goes for $10,000 more than you paid for it, you may have to split a hefty $1,500 capital gains tax bill between you.
Putting the house up for sale before your file for divorce helps avoid all of that trouble, and there are a few things you can do to speed the selling process along. First, sit down and talk the matter through together. Be sure that you both agree the house must be sold, and that it's for the best to get it off your hands. Nothing is more certain to torpedo a promising offer than for one spouse to refuse the deal or to somehow make the property seem unattractive. People sometimes do this for financial reasons, and sometimes they do it for emotional reasons. In a divorce, you never know, so try to reach a consensus beforehand and act as a team to unload the property in an orderly way.
Another thing you can do to make sure the property sells before it becomes a white elephant in divorce court is to delay your split until the sale is final. If it seems odd to put your divorce on hold until your home sells, remember that the incentives you both operate under change when the court grants your final divorce decree. You could be working with your spouse quite happily to sell the property, and then as the final court date draws near, your spouse may start playing for time in the hope of either staying in the house or of getting a bigger share of the sale price. By putting a big "pause" button on your divorce, you can help refocus your energy on selling while you're still on the same page.
Ways You Can Keep Things Running Smoothly
Selling your house can be relatively easy or a nightmare, depending on how well the two of you are working to wrap up your unresolved issues. Ideally, selling your house before a divorce can work just the same as it would if the divorce wasn't on the table, though without the last step of moving into a new home somewhere else.
How to Sell Your Harford County, MD and surrounding areas House Fast During Divorce
If you are already going through a divorce, than you often deal with an emotional roller coaster with lots of uncertainty and problems to sort out. Even the most amicable of divorces still involve legal and administrative matters that need to be taken care of. One of the most difficult things to do during a divorce is to sell your family home. Selling a house is not so straightforward as it involves several considerations. Whether settling a mortgage, refinancing, transferring to one partner, or putting it up for sale, financial, legal, and emotional factors could impact the sale of the family home – including how quickly it sells. Here are the steps you need to take to sell your house fast during divorce.
Disentangle the Legal Entanglements First
Before you can even think of putting your house on the market, both of you should sit down and review the financial aspects. If there is an outstanding joint mortgage, you are both liable to pay it off – and the smartest solution is to sell your house fast and divide the proceeds.
However, the new “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” reduces the advantages of home ownership with the mortgage deductible trimmed down from $1 million to $750,000 applicable to all loans taken after December 14, 2017. If your home mortgage was taken before this date and there is significantly more than $750,000 left on the mortgage, it could make sense to keep the house to take advantage of the higher grandfathered deduction. Removing one spouse from that grandfathered mortgage could, however, become tricky; this could result in refinancing, which means it will be subject to the new tax law.
Another change in the new tax law is the state and property tax, which is capped at $10,000. Hence, those living in high property tax states might need to reconsider if one or the other spouse can afford to keep the home.
A lawyer or tax specialist might be able to help divorcing couples find the best way to dispose of the home without losing tax benefits under the previous laws.
If current conditions are not favorable, or if the current value of the house is less than the remaining mortgage, it is best to wait till the property market improves before selling the house. If one of you remains in the house until the market improves, then he/she should pay more than 50% of the mortgage to make up for the fact that the other spouse will likely have to pay rent until the house sells. Talk to a lawyer and write up a formal agreement as to who will pay what and how long you are willing to wait to sell the house.
You could also consider a divorce lien, where one party keeps the house, and the other gets a note and deed of trust (or mortgage) secured by the property. One gets real estate and the other gets paper. The spouse who keeps the house retains a fair share of the equity, and he/she must pay the departing spouse according to an agreed-upon schedule.
If neither party can afford to keep the house – even in the short-term – a short or pre-foreclosure sale is an alternative.
Determine Your Home’s Market Value
If you hope to sell your house fast during divorce, you must establish its market value. There are several ways you can do this: by using a real estate agency that can give estimates as to the market value of your house, or you can contract a property appraiser. Whichever one you and your soon to be ex-spouse chooses, the market value is important as it gives an educated estimate of the eventual selling price of the house. Factors that may affect the market value include the condition of the house, the number of bedrooms/bathrooms, square footage, location, and improvements. The real estate agent or the appraiser will also consider recent sales of comparable homes in your neighborhood to establish its market value.
To Sell Your House Fast, Take Time to Prepare it Properly
There are things that you can do to get the best appraisal, prepare the house for viewing and selling, get the best offer possible, and hasten the sale process. Start by removing clutter and your personal things (including family pictures and collectibles) in the house so that it is easy for potential buyers to picture themselves living in it.
A few cans of neutral paint and some elbow grease can pay big dividends – especially if your house has a different color in every room. Fill all the holes, scrape off dated wallpaper, and paint everything the same neutral color – usually pale grey or almond are recommended. It will make the rooms look bigger and allow buyers to see your home’s great features without having to look past the bubblegum-pink bedroom or lime-green-and-orange living room. Emotional buyers will reject a house because of the color-scheme, so remove that stumbling block before the first viewing.
Your home should also be spotless and clean. Pressure wash your driveway, clean windows and keep your garden neat. Inside, the kitchen and bathrooms should be extra shiny. If you cannot handle the cleaning yourself, get a professional company to do it. It will save you time and the extra stress at this difficult time in your life.
If you have pets, make sure they’re out of the house and there’s no doggy or kitty litter smell in any room. If a friend or relative can keep you pets for a couple of weeks when your house goes on the market, that will take away the stress of having to remove them at a moment’s notice – plus you won’t have to clean up after them every time there’s going to be a showing.
Put the House up for Sale
Now that the fair market value of your family home has been established, it is time to put the house up for sale. You can get a real estate agent to do it if you want to avoid the additional burden of selling a house while divorcing. Don’t forget that you also need to pay the realtor their fees once a sale occurs, so this should be included in your estimates.
Selling a property is not always easy – especially during a divorce. But at the end of the day, getting it done as quickly as possible and for a fair price means that you both can move and get on with your lives.
How to Sell Your House Fast After Divorce
When it comes to divorce and property, the court has the right to decide the disbursement of the house if you cannot come to an agreement with your spouse or if it feels the decision is not in the best interest of the children. If there are children from the marriage, the court will always take their needs into account.
Other factors that will influence the court’s decision include the following:
Income of each person along with any other property owned or other resources
Financial needs and expenses of each party
Standard of living for the family prior to the divorce
Age of each person
How long the couple were married
Physical and mental disabilities of either person
Contributions of each person to the marriage and family
When you do decide to sell
Selling a home may not happen overnight.
It can be even more difficult if the parties don’t agree. As a divorced couple, you may not agree on the list price, the estate agent or cash buyer to work with or whether to accept an offer. Each time there’s a decision which cannot be made together, it delays the process.
Ideally, you’ll agree on working with a private home buyer or estate agent and leave many of the decisions with them. Follow their advice on offers and other issues in the transaction to help it move along more smoothly.
Will you work to fix up the place and make any improvements or repairs your estate agent recommends to get top price? If not, will you be interested in working with a cash buyer so you can sell faster, even if it’s for a slightly lower price?
These are topics you should discuss with your spouse to help ensure there are no delays once you list the home.
If you can’t talk to your spouse without arguments, you may want to consider mediation where a third party helps you come to a reasonable solution. Otherwise, you may have a home that sits on the market for months without selling. You may also end allowing the court to decide, which may not be in your favor.
In the absence of other professionals, we can help take this role. We can speak with each of you individually to discuss the valuations received and make our offer. If you're both happy accepting it we can help coordinate the sale through to completion.
Children come first
To help you focus on what to do with your home, consider what would be best for your children. They may prefer the familiarity of their home when everything else is changing. On the other hand, a clean break may also be what’s best for them.
With the stress that comes with selling a home after a divorce it can be easy to forget the feelings of children in this situation. This poignant video highlights this.
Voice of the Child of Divorce:
Your home is likely your largest asset, and it comes into play during a divorce settlement.
If you and your spouse cannot agree on the disbursement of the home, the courts may do the job for you. You should consider your needs, the needs of your spouse and most importantly, the needs of your children.
Don’t let your past hold you back when it comes to the family home. In the process of divorce and property, make a decision that will help both of you move forward and start on a new journey as you decide to sell the home and find new places to call home.
A quick, convenient solution
Sell your house in Harford County, MD and surrounding areas the easy way with Easy Outs Homes. Our service is about buying your home from you directly in a timeframe to suit you. It means you get to sell your house fast without the stress, waiting, and back-and-forth associated with a normal sale.
If you'd like to hear more fill this form and we will get in touch to discuss your needs. We can arrange a valuation and make you an offer within the next few days. The valuation is free and there's no obligation - so there's nothing to lose.