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What do I need to think about before selling my house in a divorce?
1. Do you sell before or after the divorce?
2. How much should you sell for?
3. Are there house defects?
4. Is your ex happy with the agreements?
5. Can you afford to sell?
Selling the house can be a stressful time and divorce certainly doesn’t make it any easier. Should you sell during or after divorce? Can you afford the fees? What price should you sell at? What other things are there to consider? We look at 5 important things you should consider before making this decision.
If you both want to sell, then doing so before the divorce is finalized could be the better option. As the divorce process can be long, selling your house should provide you with income to buy new accommodation with, as well as help toward impending legal fees. This would also keep the house out of the divorce settlement, making it one less thing to worry about. Selling the house after the divorce can be trickier, especially if one of you gets a larger share of it in the settlement, or is unsure about selling (i.e. they want to continue living in the house).
On the positive side, selling after divorce allows the house’s value to potentially increase, not only due to the market but due to time given to make home improvements. For more detail on this, read our previous blog post, ‘Should I Sell my House Before or After Divorce?'.
Briefly, there are four methods that you (and your estate agent) can use for house appraisal: Comparative Market Analysis (CMA); The Income Approach; The Cost Approach; Do It Yourself. The CMA uses market analysis (e.g. what similar houses in your area have sold for recently) and considers special features such as the location that may increase its value. The income approach is only used when your house was bought as an investment and values your house on its potential future value. The cost approach considers what it would cost to replace your house, looking at the current value of the house, land and depreciation. Doing it yourself involves using websites such as the Land Registry to figure out a quick CMA.
3. House Defects
No house is perfect and wear and tear is expected, especially after a few years of living there. Though buyers generally understand this, they may stipulate in the contract that for the offer to be binding, the seller must fix the roof, resurface the driveway or install a new boiler, for example. Buyers usually carry out a home survey to detect defects (RICS is well known for conducting these) so it is important that any issues are addressed.
On a more mundane level, repainting a room or cleaning out the gutters can make a house more desirable, so consider other cosmetic ways in which you could make the house more appealing to buyers.
These are bound to occur, whether they concern what price to sell the house at, how much the other receives from the sale or whether you both want to sell in the first place. It may sound cliché, but honesty is always the best policy ensuring you both come to an agreement, whether that’s through a mediator or via court order.
If you’re unsure about selling, you can enforce your ‘Home Rights’ allowing you to remain in the house until the divorce is finalized. See our blog post, ‘My ex was paying the mortgage and wants to sell. What are my options?’ for more detail concerning ‘Home Rights’. Alternatively, you could buy out or take on the ownership from your ex, allowing you to stay in your home. Consider, however, whether you can afford this, whether your share from a sale would be lucrative, and if it’s worth the hassle. Also, ensure that your desired sale price is both realistic and reasonable. If you want to unload the house fast, accepting a lower price will help speed this process along.
5. Can you afford to?
Selling a house can be an extremely lengthy and costly process, involving various estate agents, appraisals and fees such as estate agent fees, conveyancing fees, removals and Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs). These costs cut into the amount you make from the sale, with EPCs and removals costing up to £1,320 alone. Especially when you want to sell the house fast and want to avoid as many unnecessary costs as is possible, selling to a company such as webuyanyhouse.co.uk can absorb many of these fees, ensuring you get good value for your property.
This blog post has highlighted some of the important things to consider when selling a house in the hope of making this process as hassle-free as possible. As with anything concerning divorce, ensure you talk with your ex about all related decisions, ensuring you are both happy with the outcome.