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Divorce and Selling your Home

  • Zeina El Sayed
  • Divorce
  • March 5, 2019
  • (0)

It’s not surprising that the beginning of the year has historically been the busiest time of the year for divorce experts. Couples on the verge of separation have often held out through Christmas for the sake of the kids and the extended family.

The New Year is a time when many resolve to make a fresh start and get out from under a crumbling marriage. So once you have committed to getting a divorce, one of the biggest decisions is selling the shared home. It can be fraught with problems, not the least of which is listing it in a buyers’ market. When do you list? How much do you list it for? Who moves out? What do we agree to sell it for? How much of the sale do I get for my next place? When do I get it? Tough questions, especially if you and your ex are not speaking, or are openly hostile to one another. We understand this. You’ll have more than enough life details to iron out. We don’t want the process of selling your home to be an added burden. So, we’d like to offer a few tips on how to sell your home during a divorce, with minimal confrontation, so both parties can move on with their lives.

  • Get either a notice of consent or a formal separation agreement signed before you list your property. Spell everything out in detail beforehand so that the entire sale process goes smoothly.
  • In Alberta, if only one name is on a title, the spouse has to sign additional documentation agreeing to sell the property. Your Realtor can walk you through this process.
  • Strongly consider having both parties move out of the house and have it professionally staged. Not only does it show better in general but it will remove any questions potential buyers may have if it feels like the house is half-full of furniture.
  • You may not feel like doing it yourself, so hire out tasks like paint touch-ups, carpet steaming or lawn clean-up that are needed prior to listing your house for it to show its best. Keep the receipts and split the costs. If one party doesn’t want to pay up front, you can use it to negotiate how the proceeds of the sale are divided once the money comes in.
  • Price your house to sell without giving it away. Every dollar counts when you are splitting assets but it doesn’t help anyone move forward when the house is overpriced and one party refuses to accept a price reduction. Many months on the market can make for added time and stress in the divorce process.
  • If only one party is living in the house, spread your clothes and shoes throughout the closet so they look intentionally hung and placed. Use matching wood hangars and supplement with nice shoe boxes or luggage pieces if the closet looks too empty.
  • Remove all personal photographs from the house and replace with neutral art pieces and mirrors.
  • Hire Realtors that are compassionate and work hard toward the common goal. Be available and keep communications lines open with them. If you and your ex aren’t speaking, both Amie and I make sure both parties are equally informed. We use a collaborative yet confidential approach to help everyone move on. 

Divorce doesn’t mean you are indefinitely stuck with a home you either can’t afford or no longer want to stay in. By keeping your focus on the bigger picture, we can help you make the sale process as stress- free as possible so everyone can move forward andlive their best possible lives.

Bob Hearn
Century 21 Bamber Realty Ltd.
Fax 403-592-2199


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