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Getting Divorced and Selling the Family Home

Posted by Jennifer Percival on August 18, 2016

Going through a divorce is never easy, whether you’re the one choosing to leave, you’re being left or even when you’ve mutually decided to separate. If you have children or a beloved pet, it makes things even more difficult.

The idea of where to begin disentangling your lives is so overwhelming, it can lead to a state of inertia. Many don’t even know where to begin. Having been through the process myself with 2 young children, I can personally relate to how stressful it can be.

TIP #1 – Don’t Sell Right Away

I’m not going to get into all the options available for couples, because every situation is unique, but the one thing that helped me and many others I’ve worked with through the process is to not sell right away. Fancy that, a real estate agent telling you not to sell! There’s a reason you need to be separated for a year before you can get divorced and the same premise applies to selling your home. It’s never a bad thing to just let things be for a little while. Some people don’t have this luxury, but if you can muster it, resist the urge to be done with everything and don’t put the house on the market until things have settled down a little.

TIP #2 – Consider “Nesting”

An alternative option growing in popularity is called “Nesting” or “Bird’s Nest Custody”. Essentially the kids stay in the family home and the parents alternate living between there and a second property (usually a rented apartment or condo). Granted, not everyone can afford to take on a second property and keep the family home, even if only temporarily. However if you can make it work, it’s a great way to ‘ease’ into the next phase of your lives and to allow the children some time to adjust to the changes before selling the family home. My personal experience with clients, is that the longer they try to stay under one roof together, the more animosity it creates. Living separately lets the dust settle a little and helps remove *some* of the emotional charge. Some couples are only able to do this for a few months and others stick it out for a year or longer.

TIP# 3 – Stay Focused on the Common Goal

Whenever you decide to sell the family home, the one thing you should stay focusedsell-your-house on, is your  common goal of selling the home for the most amount of money you can get. When couples reach the point of splitting up, the lines of communication have often broken down. Regardless of your feelings, try to stay focused on the big picture. When you find yourself resisting your ex’s opinion on something, just ask yourself if it could help get top dollar. If it can’t hurt, compromising can go a long way. If you just can’t see eye to eye, sometimes it’s best to steer clear and avoid confrontations.

TIP# 4 – Try to Collaborate or Steer Clear

When I work with clients going through a divorce, I’ve learned through experience that it’s best to meet with them separately throughout the entire process, unless they have a collaborative relationship. Inevitably they will otherwise often argue about decisions that need to be made. Those going through a divorce are naturally more open to ideas, suggestions and opinions of someone other than their ex. Having a middle man to convey those ideas is usually much more effective. If an agreement cannot be reached by both parties, it’s best to let the Realtor make the ultimate decision on most things. After all, they should share a similar goal of selling the home for the highest sale price and they have the expertise on how to get there.

TIP# 5 – Hire an Impartial, Patient & Empathetic Realtor

It is imperative that your Realtor remains impartial. They are not there to take sides – even though there may be legitimate sides to take! They need to be fair and listen to the opinions and concerns that both parties have. Essentially they need to help mediate the process and make sure both of you feel heard and understood. Lastly, it’s very helpful to work with someone who is caring, patient, supportive and empathetic. Going through a divorce is one of the most difficult life events one can endure. Selling a home in the best of times, is also incredibly stressful. Put the two together and it’s a recipe for disaster, bringing out the worst in people. It’s very reassuring to have a Realtor that doesn’t judge and is there to support and help steer things back on track.

I have a personal mission to help those going through this process and offer deeply discounted services to divorcing couples who need to sell their family home. My goal is to help you land back on your feet, by keeping as much of your sale profits as you can, to start building your new life. I’ve been there myself and know what it takes to get through. There is life after divorce and you will be fine.  I must be doing something right, as my ex-husband and his new wife used me as their Realtor to buy their first home together!

Contact me to learn more.

Jennifer Percival, Broker

You are amazing, warm, knowledgeable and very supportive! I so appreciated your guidance and felt like you held my hand through what could have been a difficult process but just ended up being perfect! I also appreciated how you dealt with a separated couple it was nice to know you had both of our interests at heart and you juggled that so professionally.
Carolyn, happy client

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