During a divorce, one of the most difficult steps is dividing up the assets between both parties. A house is one of the most complicated assets to split because it is large, stays in one place, and can be expensive to maintain. Unless one spouse is willing and able to take over the mortgage of the house, the best option is to sell the house and allocate the money accordingly. Here are some tips on how to sell your house while divorcing in Massachusetts.
Consider Your Options
There are many decisions to consider when going through a divorce, and considering your options when it comes to dividing up property is one of the most difficult, but also one of the most important. A significant part of divorce proceedings is the process of dividing property, and that includes your house. You must determine whether or not the property in question is marital property, which is property that was acquired during the marriage, or if it’s separate property, which is property that was acquired by one person prior to the marriage. If the property is considered marital property, you must then try to agree upon the next steps.
When you start to ask yourself what will happen to your house after a divorce, you have several options to consider. In some situations, one of the people will want to stay in the home while the other will want to move out. This will work smoothly if both spouses are working towards a mutually beneficial situation rather than trying to make things as difficult as possible for the other person.
You must also divide all debt accrued throughout the course of the marriage, and that includes any mortgages, loans, and outstanding balances on credit cards. Deciding on how to divide these may be a complicated process, but you and your spouse can make a decision together if you are able to. If not, you may need to consult with a judge to determine who the house goes to.
In a Divorce Can I Be Forced to Sell My House?
If the two parties cannot agree to the terms of the divorce and it is necessary to go to trial, the court can mandate property orders to sell or transfer real estate. In fact, this is actually the default way to divide a home during a divorce. Most houses are required to be sold immediately. In Massachusetts, the current case law gives family court judges the right to order a deferred sale of the residence. Typically, this is for the wellbeing of the children. The party not residing in the home will still have interest in the house. This situation is a rare occurrence. Here is more information about laws in Massachusetts regarding families and children in a divorce.
Liquidating the Asset
Without or without a formal trial, the easiest way to divide a real estate asset is to sell it and distribute the money. The house could be allocated to one party, but that would involve one person buying their share of the house from the other. This can be expensive and decisions such as this one can get messy when coming to a conclusion about the overall value of the house. Selling the house will allow the value to be settled by a third party. There are several ways to sell your home in Massachusetts during a divorce.
Selling Your House with a Realtor
When most think of selling a home, they will revert to hiring a real estate agent because they think that is the easiest way to sell. The reality is that using a real estate agent can often come with extra fees and efforts to sell your house. Some problems that might emerge when using a realtor include:
- Several parties will be involved in this process as paperwork has to be passed between the buyer, both parties involved in the divorce, and the real estate company
- The house may take 3-6 months to sell, which is a significant amount of time for someone wanting to liquidate assets in order to finalize a divorce
- Many out-of-pocket expenses might arise as minor repairs will need to be made to fix up the property before selling
- Someone will need to clean and prepare the house for all showings
In the end, choosing to sell a home using a real estate agent may not be cost effective and can include a large time commitment. This can create an undesirable situation when faced with a divorce.
Budget for Any Repairs or Renovation That Might Be Required
Whether you work with a realtor or not, you will likely need to budget for repairs or renovations that may come up as you proceed with the sale of the house. At minimum, you’ll likely need to plan on repairing and patching any holes or cracks in the walls or floors, replacing any leaky faucets, and addressing any other plumbing or even electrical issues throughout the home.
You may also need to make some aesthetic upgrades and repaint. If your home is worn down or out of date, it may be beneficial to renovate certain portions of the home. It’s also beneficial to give the interiors and the exteriors a fresh coat of paint, especially if you currently have bright or unusual paint colors on the wall. While there’s nothing wrong with expressing your individuality, buyers typically want to see a neutral color palette so they can picture themselves and their own tastes being present in the home.
You’ll also have to deep clean and freshen up the home – make sure there’s no dust and clean up the grout to start. The outside of the house can also be important – if your lawns aren’t already maintained, consider alternative solutions such as moss or a combination of rocks and flower beds. You can also simply replace the grass that’s currently in place. It may seem expensive and unnecessary, but it can help you sell your home for a better price.
Selling Your House for Cash
Going through the process of a divorce can be challenging and emotional. Facing a decision such as how to sell your home can be overwhelming. Most of the time, you want a solution that will be quick and easy and won’t cost you a lot of money in extra fees. You also want to sell your home in a way that won’t lead to added stress or tension between the parties involved.
Selling your home to a professional home buyer will allow you liquidate this asset quickly, avoiding the hassle of having to deal with the real estate market. If you choose to sell your home for cash, it will also minimize the number of parties involved in the process. Often, the professional home buyer will make an offer on the house as-is. After the parties accept, the closing will happen soon thereafter. Very little paperwork or preparation effort is needed to sell your house for cash.
If you are faced with a divorce and want to sell your house quickly to proceed with the settlement, reach out to Pavel Buys Houses. We will work hard to make the process simple for both parties involved. We have years of experience buying homes in the state of Massachusetts. We will use our knowledge to help you navigate this circumstance and come up with the best solution possible. Want a fair, no-obligation cash offer today? Call or text us at 781-309-7085 to discuss your situation.