5 steps divorcing clients should take when it comes to their marital home


Divorce is expensive, right?! You are going from one home to two on the same income.  You don’t want your standard of living to drop so you need every penny from the sale of the marital home.  Here are some practical tips to consider when thinking of dividing property.

#1: As much as you may despise your spouse at this moment, you must put that anger aside in order to maximize your asset.  You must be on the same page and listen to your Realtor’s advice about how to prepare the home for sale.  Most homes have at least some needed maintenance or repairs. Doing these repairs before listing will get you the better outcome in the end…even if they cost money up front.  They are worth it.

#2: If one party has left the home and has taken half the furniture, you must stage the home. Every room must appear beautiful and if your furniture never jived in the first place, spend the extra money on staging.  It will come back to you in the end.

#3: Make the home appear as if it is a happy household.  People want to buy happy homes.  If one spouse has moved out, fill the closets as if they are still there. Don’t let the Realtor mention the word divorce.  He/she should just say “the home no longer works for them” when asked about the status of the sellers.

#4: Get a home inspection prior to mediation.  Don’t go in fighting to keep the home until you know what you are dealing with.  It could have thousands of dollars needed to fix things like the roof, heating or AC systems, old pipes, etc. How can you place a value on the home and agree to it with your spouse before truly knowing what you have? An appraisal is often requested by the attorneys, but appraisals do not take into consideration condition of the most expensive items.  If you plan to buy out your spouse, and keep the house, getting estimates for replacing these big ticket items is important to add to the balance sheet, and if you are selling the home knowing the condition and the life left in these items will help you negotiate if your buyers come back to you after having their own home inspection.

#5: Talk to a lender before mediation. How can one spouse argue to keep the home before they know if they can buy out the other spouse? Let a qualified lender review the numbers and advise on the affordability of the home for just one spouse.

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