A divorce can be a complicated, emotionally draining ordeal that makes it hard to know how to move forward and what to do. If you have to sell a house during a divorce, that brings with it all kinds of issues and potential problems, especially if you’re dealing with a combative situation. Selling your house might be about making a fresh start or it might be required as part of your agreement. Either way, it’s possible to sell a house during a divorce in Memphis, you just need to consider a few different options.
Reasons to Sell
Before we get into the how and why of selling your house during a divorce, it’s important to consider all of the reasons you might want to do this before the divorce is finalized. First and foremost there may be financial benefits from selling now. The profits made on the sale could provide both people with a foundation that they can use to start their new life. If both sides already have other living arrangements, it could also cut down on monthly costs and payments, making life a little easier. It also may not be viable to keep the house if financial situations have changed or will change soon.
There are also emotional considerations in selling a house quickly. Selling a house that you both lived in while married can act as a form of closure and a literal way to split up. It means that both people are their own parties now and can begin sorting out their finances and personal decisions on their own. If one person continues to live in the house while the other person doesn’t, it can strain relations between the two sides, especially if the person who moved out is bearing the financial burden.
Untangle Your Entanglements
Before you decide to list your house on the open market, you need to sit down with one another and review all of the financial considerations and entanglements that need to be sorted out first. If the house was purchased using a joint mortgage from when you were married, both parties are liable for paying it off. If that’s the case, one person can’t (or at least, shouldn’t) make any decisions without consulting the other person. There may also be other considerations, including upgrades to the home, ownership of other things on the property, tax concerns, and any personal affinities (one person may have more attachment to the house than the other).
This is why it’s important that you consult a lawyer who specializes in these kinds of situations or a tax specialist who can walk you through the ramifications of selling your house. You may not be aware of the latest tax code rules and could end up selling in a way that hurts both your bottom lines on tax day.
Discuss the Details
When you sell a house, there are so many smaller things to consider that they can be hard to see from the outside. But it’s important to have these discussions sooner than later, especially when you’re talking about a divorce. Who is going to pay for maintaining the house during the divorce? Who is handling the HOA, loan payments, taxes, and other financial considerations? Furthermore, who is claiming ownership of the furniture and other items in the house? You’ll need to do an inventory so both sides are in agreement (as much as possible) as to where the responsibilities lie. Don’t be afraid to bring your divorce attorney into the discussion if it’s too hard to have in person.
You also need to have some very specific discussions about what needs to happen to the house before it’s listed on the open market if that’s the route you’re going. Does the house need any work or repairs before it’s listed? Is someone going to live in the house while it’s on the market? Who is responsible for upkeep while the house is listed? Who is the contact person for your real estate agent? How will negotiations be handled, by one person, together, or through attorneys? These aren’t all easy questions to ask or discussion to have but unfortunately, you need to have them to avoid further headaches down the road.
Lean on a Lien
If you find that one spouse is more interested in being the responsible party and the other spouse wants to absolve themselves from responsibility, you can do something called a divorce lien. Basically, one person will keep control over the decisions related to the house while the other person will get a deed of trust that ensures they will be provided with an agreed-upon share of the equity post-sale. However, the person carrying the lien gives up their say in how the house is sold and for how much.
Have an Offer Strategy
If you do decide to list your house on the open market, you’ll have to come to an agreement on how to handle offers, negotiations, and acceptance of the deal. You can either talk about the price you’re willing to accept or trust in your real estate to make the right call for you. When offers start to come in, you’ll either want to have open lines of communication to figure out a strategy or set up a system by which your attorneys can communicate that strategy.
Divide the Profits Fairly
It’s important to know that, in Tennessee, marital property is divided. Tennessee is an “equitable distribution” state, which means once a property is classified as marital, it must be divided equitably. However, equitable division doesn’t necessarily mean 50/50. It’s not unheard of for a court to give an entire property to one spouse.
However, if you sell the property during the divorce you can avoid that potentially nasty fight. You’ll want to come to terms with the other person about how the equity will be split and whether or not one person will get a higher percentage of the profits. Perhaps if one person contributed more to the mortgage payments, they might feel as though they want more of a return on the sale. Make sure your lawyers are involved in this discussion as they may be able to help guide you in a smoother direction.
Sell the House As-Is
Saying that you should have a bunch of conversations about finances and equitable property sales during a divorce is probably easier said than done. That’s especially true if your divorce is acrimonious or ugly. There may not be room for too many discussions and there may be a desire to sell your house in Memphis quickly so you can both move on and start your lives fresh.
In that case, consider selling the house as-is to a cash buyer like Fair Cash Deal. They’ll buy your house in any condition and in any financial situation. Simply let the buyer know you’re interested in selling quickly. They’ll assess the property and make you a fair cash offer. If you accept, it’s up to you to decide how quickly you want to sell, possibly in a matter of days. You get to walk away with cash in your pockets and you can have at least one part of this process done without any of the hassles.