How to sell your home when you get divorced

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Getting divorced is supposed to be one of the most stressful life events a person can experience, followed by moving house. From splitting your record collection to deciding who gets to keep treasured items you thought you would share for the rest of your life, there’s no end in sight on this particular emotional rollercoaster. Selling your marital home and moving out evidently ranks pretty high on the stress-o-meter.

All assets will need to be counted so they can be equally divided. And this includes the marital home. Selling your home after a divorce is often the easiest way to split the value, but this doesn’t make it any easier. Selling the house you turned into a home together can be particularly troubling, but there are steps you can take to make things easier.

  1. Protect yourself

If you’re still living in the property but you don’t have your name on the title deed, contact the Land Registry to get something known as a Notice of Home Rights. This important document will prevent your ex from being able to go ahead with a sale without your knowledge. Even the most amicable divorce can go sour at a moment’s notice, so don’t take anything for granted. Above all else, make sure you are protected without doing anything that will rock the boat as you move forward.

  1. Better yet, agree that you will both move out

If you both move out of the property, it will be much easier to stage the property for prospective buyers. Take the essentials with you and then move any large items into storage until you have a new place to live. Waiting for your marital home to sell might delay your hunt for a new home, so it’s helpful to know that your items are safe and secure.

  1. Don’t mention the divorce

Buyers – especially young couples – may be put off at the prospect of buying a home that is the site of a recent divorce. They may see this as a bad omen, as ridiculous as this might seem. When talking to estate agents and potential buyers, don’t mention the divorce and keep the mood light, even if you’re having an emotional time. Divorce can also lead to lowball offers as buyers will assume you are in a rush to get on with your life. And finally, a divorce sale can also make buyers nervous as there is more chance of the chain breaking when two people need to find a new home. Don’t lie if asked, but don’t advertise this information upfront.

  1. Don’t forget the legal costs

The cost of the sale of the home will need to be covered. Decide between you how you will share this cost. If one party is being uncooperative in the sale, it may be helpful to cover the cost and keep the proof. You can then add this expense to your claim and increase or reduce the maintenance paid to the other party. You could also agree for one of you to pay upfront, under the provision that that person will be compensated as part of the financial settlements.

  1. Decide your priorities

Do you want to get as much as possible for the house? Or would you rather cut your losses to be able to finalise the sale and the divorce sooner? You need to reach an agreement between you to be able to make rational choices. It might be the last decision you have to make together, but it is an important one! Don’t feel pressured to sell for a lower price just to move the divorce along. If you can afford to wait for the right buyer, this can lead to a better deal for both of you.

  1. Get ready to move on!

Once the house sale is completed, you can move forward with the division of the assets and finalise your divorce. This might be an emotionally difficult time, but it’s also a time to be grateful that you are taking steps forward. Enjoy the opportunity to have a fresh start in new surroundings that reflect your tastes and interests. You might finally get to move to an area you’ve always loved, or be able to decorate your home in a way that your partner disliked. 


Ref number: THSI-1978


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