Divorcing? How to sell the marital residence quickly

The economy is making it very hard for couples who are getting divorced to sell their homes. This is a problem because the home is traditionally the most significant asset for low to middle income people and the proceeds from a sale is the only source of revenues so that they can start over and get a downpayment to buy another place post divorce. So many couples end up sharing the house (this can lead to domestic violence issues) or they alternate so that one parent stays in the house for a certain amount of time and the other parent takes over for another period. Or one spouse may live in the house and pay the expenses while the other spouse moves in with friends or family.

It’s a tough situation.  The problem is that many divorcing couples make the situation more difficult in a number of ways:

1) They play hard ball on the price and can’t reach an agreement with prospective buyers;

2) They don’t make themselves or the home available for a showing to spite the other spouse;

3) They unreasonably withhold agreement on selling the home (they are attached to the home and don’t want to sell it.);

4) The house’s appraisal is inaccurate and one spouse doesn’t want to back down;

5) They don’t put the home’s best face forward for prospective buyers (clean, uncluttered, painted, mowed lawn, freshly scented, etc.);

6) They can’t agree how the proceeds will be split, in what percentage;

7) They are inflexible; and

8) They encumber the house with other debts such as second mortgages, credit card debts, or judgments and liens thus making it impossible to unload unless they come up with money to clear the debt.

The way to sell your home quickly is to first of all, agree that a sale is necessary. Price the home intelligently. Make the home available for showing. Present the home in it’s best light. Work closely with your realtor. Advertise aggressively. Get a realistic appraisal. Agree on the split of the proceeds in writing. Be flexible….and forget comps. Nothing is selling for what it used to a year ago. You are going to take a loss. Accept it and make the deal happen already.

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