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What divorcing couples should know about selling their home

When couples divorce, they often are faced with the task of selling the family home. In fact, that's the choice made by over 60 percent of divorcing couples. It's often not financially feasible for one spouse to buy out the other's share and maintain the house alone. Further, it may be simply more space that either of them needs.

Selling a home is stressful under any conditions. However, when you're in the midst of a divorce, the process can be even more conflict-ridden. It's essential, however, that you find a way to work together constructively with your real estate agent to sell the home for the best possible price and as expediently as you can.

The first step is to hire an agent you both trust and can work with. Perhaps you have an agent who's helped you previously and who knows both of you. Now isn't the time to bring in a family member or friend of one spouse.

The next step is to work with your agent to develop a sales plan. Determine whether you're going to fix the place up to get more money for it or sell it as-is for a lower price. Most agents recommend at least fixing small things like leaky sinks and loose doorknobs. These inexpensive repairs can make a big difference in how potential buyers view your home.

Once you've agreed on what, if anything, you'll do to increase your home's value as well as on your asking price and how much you're willing to ultimately settle for, it's best if just one of you takes charge of dealing with the sale. This helps prevent the confusion and conflict of both of you communicating with your agent. It also keeps the agent out of your relationship drama.

If one of you is still living in the home, it may be best for that spouse to be the point person since he or she will probably be the one having the most contact with the agent. If you've both moved out, you'll need to make sure it is maintained, trash is picked up and so forth until it's sold.

Above all, listen to your agent. He or she is the one with the experience. As with the other professionals who are advising you during this time, your real estate agent is far more objective than you or your spouse are.

Source: Boston Globe, "Ask the Realtor: Tips for selling your home during a divorce," Marjorie Youngren, Dec. 21, 2017

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Providence, RI 02909

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