In a divorce, houses on the market are fair game for lowball offers. Emptying out one spouse’s closet or ignoring routine maintenance are telltale signs that alert bargain-hunters. Here areour top tips to protect your selling price:
Both parties need to agree on a listing agent.
When interviewing agents, don't reveal any information that may come back to haunt you, such as how much you need to get for the house, or your divorce status. Remember, until you sign a listing agreement, there's no confidentially requirement.
You need to live in a house for 2 of the last 5 years to get the capital gains exclusion when you sell.
A protracted divorce makes it more likely that you will not qualify.
Is remaining in the family home “for the kids” your best option?
For the good of their kids, many women commit economic suicide to stay in their home after a divorce. But the financial stress can be hard on the whole family. Your kids may be better off in a more affordable home; and leaving the emotional baggage of the “family” home can be highly therapeutic. Letting your kids help find your new residence will encourage acceptance of the space and make for a more peaceful move.
If you decide to buy, use a dedicated buyer’s agent.
A deducated buyer's agent is arlegally required to represent your best interests. Many have been through divorce themselves and can guide you through the process and paperwork with as little stress as possible.
There's no correct value for the home.
An appraiser will value your home based on different criteria than a real estate agent. In an “up” market, agents can support higher values by “grossing up” the price based on historical appreciation rates, while appraisers are required to use the most recent sales only. It sometimes makes sense to use more than one approach and split the difference.