What Happens To My House In A Divorce Settlement?

If you are wondering what will happen to your house in a divorce settlement, it all depends on your state of residence. In Florida, a marital home (the home you lived in with your ex-spouse) is considered marital property

As such, it is subject to the equitable settlement distribution rule of the state. That is, a judge will include it in all the property that must be divided roughly 50-50 between you and your ex-spouse. Since it is not possible to split a house like stocks and other liquid assets, most parties in a divorce choose to sell the house. 

Selling a house during a divorce settlement is not easy. Multiple factors play into an already emotionally charged situation. For example, if you have not built enough equity in the house to sell it profitably, it may be challenging to sell. Similarly, if you have low mortgage payments in a prime location, it may not make financial sense to sell. 

Nevertheless, most parties in a divorce opt to forego these factors in favor of liquidating the asset and splitting the cash. 

If this is the route you choose to take, here are your options to sell your house fast: 

  1. Sell your house to your ex-spouse
  2. Hire a real estate agent to sell your house
  3. Find a buyer yourself 
  4. Sell your house to an investor

Sell Your House to Your Ex-Spouse

With this option, you or your ex-spouse have the option of buying out the other party. You can approach this option in several ways. The buying spouse can pay 50% of the house’s value to the other spouse. Alternatively, the spouse remaining in the house can take over the mortgage and exchange promissory notes with the leaving spouse. 

Steps to take:

  1. First, agree with your ex-spouse to take this option.
  2. Inform the court of your agreement and put it in writing.
  3. The buying spouse may need to take a second mortgage to buy out the other party. 
  4. Finalize the buyout. 

Pros

  • If you both agree to this option, it can be a fast and painless way to sell the house. 
  • You do not have to let a judge decide who gets the house; your choice to sell it to the other spouse settles the matter out of court. 

Cons

  • Because divorce settlements are often emotional, it may be difficult to find a middle ground to support such a transaction. 
  • Neither party may be willing to accept the other party’s buyout offer.  
  • Buyouts are expensive, especially if taking a second mortgage is required, meaning few divorcing parties can afford this option. 

Hire A Real Estate Agent To Sell Your House

Picking this option can help remove the pressure of selling the house from both parties. A real estate agent can come in, appraise the home, and put it on the market quickly. Since real estate agents handle the entire sale process, you can each focus on other things as the agent focuses on selling your house.

Steps to take:

  1. Hire a real estate agent or broker and inform them that the house you are selling is part of a divorce settlement. 
  2. The agent will put your house on the market and handle all sale-related activities such as home staging, open houses, showings, and marketing. 
  3. Once they find a buyer, they will work with your divorce lawyers to ensure both parties get their agreed share of the sale. 

Pros

  • You and your ex-spouse can focus on other things as the agent works on selling your house. 
  • Most agent-sold houses are only on the market for between 3 and 12 months, meaning that within a year, you can have the house sold. 
  • The agent can work with your divorce lawyers, ensuring each party gets its fair share of the sale. 

Cons

  • Real estate agents typically take around 3% to 6% of the sale price as a commission. 
  • Agreeing on an agent may prove to be a sticking point. 
  • If the agent takes too long to sell the house, this could delay the process of liquidating the asset.

Find A Buyer Yourself

Selling your house by yourself is another option. Doing this under other circumstances is difficult; doing it in the middle of a divorce may make it even harder. That said, you can pick this option if you want more control over the sale process. Selling your house by yourself will also save you money you would normally pay out as agency fees. 

Steps to take:

  1. Get an appraiser to value the house. 
  2. Start a “For Sale By Owner” (FSBO) marketing campaign by creating listings on websites like Zillow and Trulia and marketing around your neighborhood. 
  3. When you find a buyer, complete all the paperwork to close the sale. 

Pros

  • You’ll avoid paying any agency fees. 
  • If you have experience selling houses, you can easily sell it quickly. 
  • You get to manage the entire selling process, so you feel you are getting value for your property. 

Cons

  • Your ex-spouse may not agree with this option, especially if the sale price does not meet their expectations. 
  • If you have no experience selling houses, it may take you over a year to find a buyer. 
  • Selling a house can be emotionally taxing, a big challenge when you are in the middle of a divorce. 

Sell Your House To An Investor or Wholesaler

Some real estate investors and wholesalers specialize in buying divorce settlement properties because such properties represent a fast sale for all parties. If you want to sell your house quickly, selling to an investor or wholesaler can get you a deal within seven to thirty days. Investors also handle the entire sale process and cover all transaction costs, meaning you and your ex-spouse do not have to pay anything. 

Steps to take:

  1. Undertake basic renovations to get the house sale-ready. 
  2. Find a real estate investor or wholesaler willing to buy your property; if they deal in divorce settlement houses, even better. 
  3. Once they value your house, they will send you an offer. 
  4. If you and your ex-spouse agree to the offer, accept it, and the real estate investor will pay you cash once the sale closes. 

Pros

  • You can sell your house fast for cash and pay nothing during the sale. 
  • You do not have to wait for months to close the sale. 
  • Investors specializing in divorce settlement properties have experience in handling two sellers of a single property. 

Cons

  • Since divorce settlement properties are quick sales, you will need to find a wholesaler who will do their best to guarantee you a fair market rate like NeedHelpSellingHome.com
  • If one party feels they have invested more in the property, you may need to strike a compromise on the price. 

In Conclusion

In a divorce, you may have to put your house up for sale. Fortunately, you have the following options to sell it: 

  • Sell it to your ex-spouse.
  • Get a real estate agent to sell it for you.
  • Sell it yourself. 
  • Sell it to an investor or wholesaler.

When picking an option, you may need to consider other factors like whether it is financially sound to sell. Other non-market factors like whether you have small children settled into a school district may also play into your decision. 

If you decide to sell your house in a divorce, pick an option above that helps you get the best value for your house while helping you sell it fast for cash.

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