Column: Divorcees must sell homes thoughtfully

Column: Divorcees must sell homes thoughtfully

Over the last few years, I have handled numerous situations where a couple with and without children were going through a divorce.

It was a very difficult and trying situation for both of them as well as myself, as the Broker, when putting their home on the market for sale. I had to handle it with kid gloves since I was helping both parties and always tried my best to keep both husband and wife on the same page with the assistance of their attorneys.

It is never easy seeing a family torn apart, especially when there are kids involved. Their potential uprooting and moving presents major obstacles, especially on a psychological prospective, Losing one’s security in the home you are being brought up in, severing roots in the community, loss of short or long-term friendships and the familiar surroundings.

I have experienced this many times as a broker and it is an extremely challenging and heartbreaking situation to work through. However, creating a plan in advance and sitting down to discuss and strategize the best methods to deal with those obstacles, complications and the daily stress that comes along with the divorce can be dealt with as long cooperation is part of the equation.

Many times this may not be possible, but as a broker, I must strive and explain and be transparent to both parties; that minimizing the stress as much as humanely possible and working through issues will hopefully result in financial benefits for all, once the sale closes. First, I am the outsider, then, slowly but surely, I become an insider; let me tell you it isn’t easy! Dealing with the attorneys can be as challenging as dealing with the divorcing couple.

I have a situation at the present time, where I had done a listing presentation over 6 months ago, both parties agreed with my marketing plan and the methods and processes that I would follow to create the necessary buzz to the market and get the home sold!

I even assisted in having a plumber replace the broken boiler, during the winter and a few other fixes to make the home livable (to one party that is still living there) as well as saleable.

Due to some complications, which, due to the privacy of my clients, I am not at liberty to discuss the precise details; however, I am still waiting for the signed listing to come back to me, which will occur in the near future.

I believe I have worked at and developed the necessary trust, credibility not only with the husband and wife, but also between both attorneys that are handling their divorce.

Building the necessary rapport and relationships, with information, understanding and compassion is my successful way to create the necessary environment to a path of as much stability as possible during the marketing and sales process. From the beginning right through to the closing, both parties, as well as their attorneys will need constant feedback and as glitches or uncertainties popup, they must be addressed.

Sometimes, the sale doesn’t take place, due to last-minute negotiations where one party, many times the husband, who can afford to, will concede to making the mortgage payments, especially if the children are of an age, where this could cause psychological issues, if a move were to take place.

Although this might not be the norm, in and around our local towns; I have seen it go well in some situations and then again, some real challenging, mind-blowing and problematic events that forces the sale of the home.

In many situations, depending on the financial situation and the age of the children, couples need to look at their situation as pragmatically and sanely as possible (I know this may be asking for a lot, but one must think of the effect it has on the children at all times), to end up making the best decisions for all involved. I know and have seen that emotions can get way out of hand and it’s never easy to be calm at all times!

But, my feeling is that it’s always prudent to think through your situation carefully and thoroughly. You also have to keep in mind as to the cost of a divorce, where I have seen costs range from $5,500 with a County approved arbitrator/mediator to hundreds of thousands of dollars! Some couples are making their attorneys wealthier, by dragging out their heated divorces.

Many times the end result is the equity in their homes is slowly being depleted at the expense of the family, because there is not enough money in the bank to pay off the costs of the divorce.

I had a couple last year that was divorced for seven years. The husband was still living in the home and the ex-wife wanted him out, so it could be sold to gain her equity. He didn’t want to move and was holding out all that time.

Eventually, I was able to finally make him understand that he was still married. He was very perplexed when I told him this; but my answer was, you still have two attorneys that you are attached to and having to pay every time he or his ex-wife was on the phone and whatever paperwork was being done with them; slowly and surely, was draining the equity in their home, once the final bill came due.

Although it took me 6 months, he finally let me in and I (although all the major companies had access to showing it) was able to find a couple to purchase. I realize divorce isver an easy and is an extremely emotional life-altering event with so many obstacles and problems that occur and have to be negotiated and solved.

But, my professional opinion and belief as a real estate broker, is to minimize the costs as much as possible and when necessary, walk away with as much equity in your home as possible and move on.

I know it’s easier said than done, but all the parties involved must try, if not for the well being of your children and everyone’s sanity as well as your financial security for the future.

Philip A. Raices is the owner/Broker of Turn Key Real Estate 3 Grace Ave Suite 180, Great Neck. He has earned designations as a Graduate Realtor Institute and Certified International Property Specialist. Receive regular “FREE” updates of sold homes in your area and what your home would sell for in today’s market. He can be reached by email, at [email protected], or by cell (516) 647-4289

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