Selling a house in a divorce is never easy. A home is likely your biggest financial asset, and there is plenty to consider before making an irreversible decision.
On one hand, selling to a cash home buyer can quickly resolve a confusing and stressful situation. But listing with a realtor specializing in divorce sales might be a better solution for some properties.
Here’s what you need to know when you find yourself at a crossroads when selling a house during or after a divorce.
Looking for help right now? Our friends at Clever Real Estate can connect you to a local realtor who specializes in divorce sales. They’ll provide an expert opinion of what your home is worth, and help you decide whether or not to sell to a cash buyer or list your home for sale. Get matched with a top local agent today!
Options for selling a house in a divorce
Although you don’t always have to sell your house in a divorce, a cash buyer is usually the easiest and quickest way to do so. However, hiring a realtor can give you more control over the process and fetch you a higher sales price.
Sell to a cash home buyer
Cash buyers are an excellent choice if you’re going through a divorce because you don’t need to make repairs or prep the house and they can close on the sale in as fast as two weeks. Because cash home buyers don’t take out mortgages or loans to purchase homes, they’ll often buy houses in their current, as-is condition.
However, companies that buy houses for cash typically pay below fair market value. You’ll save by not paying realtor commissions, but the lower sales price will mean lower proceeds. Consider whether a speedy process is worth sacrificing profit.
List with a realtor who specializes in divorce sales
Many real estate agents become Certified Divorce Real Estate Experts (CDRE) to learn about divorce and when to involve the court. They’ll know about state property division laws and have specific training to manage issues that may come up during the home sale. This may result in fewer arguments and roadblocks that can prevent the process from going smoothly.
To find local agents who specialize in divorce sales, check the Real Estate Collaboration Specialist-Divorce listings, or connect with an agent matching service like Clever, which can match you with local realtors specializing in divorce sales.
5 stages of selling a house in a divorce
1. Agreeing on an asking price
A home valuation to determine your home’s true fair market value can help you set a listing price. You can use a home value estimator as a starting point, though a realtor can provide an expert, more accurate valuation.
A realtor will also give you a seller’s net sheet: a breakdown of your closing costs and other fees to estimate how much you’ll receive at closing.
2. Choosing how you want to sell
If you want to sell your house fast, comparing offers from cash home buyers or iBuyers in your area is worth it.
If you’re not in a rush, listing with a realtor can help to maximize your profits. It’s a good choice if you and your ex-spouse can agree on an agent and don’t mind waiting longer for the house to sell.
3. Preparing your home and listing it for sale
If you’re working with a realtor, prepare your home before listing it for sale. Start by cleaning and decluttering each room. If the home is vacant, talk with your ex to decide which repairs or improvements to make. Your real estate agent can weigh in to help you choose the best projects to boost the sale price of the home.
The next step is to discuss the best times to schedule showings. Your agent can include those times when listing the house for sale.
Most cash buyers purchase homes as-is, so you can skip this step if you’re going that route.
4. Reviewing offers
You have three options with each offer: accept, counter, or reject. In most situations, you and your ex must agree on how to respond.
Discuss the price and terms of offers with your agent before moving forward. They can answer questions and help you understand your legal requirements according to the terms of the sale. If you’re unsure, consult your attorney for legal help.
5. Close on the sale and divide your proceeds
Your realtor can do most of the heavy lifting to close on the sale. However, review your net proceeds, which is the amount left after paying off your mortgage and covering closing costs, to avoid surprises.
Your realtor and divorce attorney can explain how much you and your ex receive after selling a house in a divorce. But don’t forget about potential capital gains taxes. Ask an accountant to review your financials to advise you on whether you need to pay taxes on the sale.
How does a house get split in a divorce?
You typically have three options to split a house in a divorce or separation: one party can buy the other out, you can sell the house together and split the profits, or you can continue to co-own the home if, for example, you want your children to continue living in the home. Learn more about your selling options.
Do I have to pay taxes on a home sale in a divorce?
In a divorce, you may have to pay capital gains tax if you will profit more than $250,000 in the home sale. However, you won’t pay taxes If one spouse or the other gets the property in a settlement and they sell the house after the divorce agreement.
What are my options for selling a house during or after a divorce?
When neither spouse is interested in the home or can’t afford to keep it on their own, you can sell it to a cash buyer or list it with a real estate agent. A cash buyer is a quicker, simpler option. Listing with a realtor takes longer, but you can often sell at a higher price.
Seller’s Net Sheet: The Ultimate Guide. The seller’s net sheet estimates how much you may earn in a home sale. Learn how to read a net sheet and use our calculator.