Top tips for selling your house after a divorce
8th January, 2024
Going through a divorce can be a challenging time for many people; as well as having to deal with the emotions of your marriage coming to an end, you are also likely to encounter big changes to your daily life, such as your living arrangements.
If it is not possible for one of you to purchase the other spouse’s share of the former matrimonial home, then you and your former spouse may have to sell the former matrimonial home, which can be a difficult process.
In this article we are sharing some of our top tips and strategies to ensure selling your house after divorce is a smooth and successful experience.
Who gets to sell the house after divorce?
The decision on who sells the house after a divorce, and who keeps the money from the sale, depends on your divorce settlement agreement or where there is no agreement, then an order made by the court.
Whilst some divorcing couples may agree to sell the former matrimonial home together and divide the proceeds between them, other divorcing couples may agree not to sell the former matrimonial home and instead, the house is may be transferred to one spouse outright or with a delayed order for sale. The latter is known as a Mesher Order and may be used under circumstances, whereby, for example the sale of the family home after divorce is delayed until an agreed point, such as when children reach a certain age, or move out. After this, proceeds are divided in accordance with the agreed court order and commonly both parties have conduct of the sale
Ultimately, the decision on who sells the house and who keeps the money depends on the divorce settlement agreement or the final order that the Court has made.
Top tips for selling the former matrimonial home
From speaking to your divorce solicitor, to being realistic with your asking price, there are a number of tips you can follow to help you navigate the complexities of selling your house after divorce and make the process as easy as possible.
Speak to your divorce solicitor
It is vital that you and your former spouse fully understand your entitlements on Divorce and what is likely to be a fair settlement before putting the house on sale. This is essential as one of the factors to be considered is the housing needs of the children and the parties and this may not necessarily mean that the proceeds of sale be divided equally and it places both parties under enormous pressure to complete without knowing where they will live. There is an option for the proceeds of sale to be held on solicitors deposit account pending the resolution of the matrimonial finances, but this may result in your housing needs not being met.
We would recommend speaking to your divorce solicitors before putting your house on the market, especially if you and your former spouse are selling the home together, as your divorce solicitor can advise you on the best steps to protect your interests throughout the process.
Decide on the right time to sell
When it comes to selling the property, timing is everything. It is vital that you consider the current economy and the state of the property market when you are selling your former matrimonial home, to ensure you find the right time to sell and get the most you can from the property sale. You should also consider your personal circumstances, and whether selling now is the best decision for your family. If your children are struggling to come to terms with the divorce, then big life changes, such as a house move may not be the best option, and this should be discussed before you reach an agreement. If the court have already made an immediate order for sale then timing will be taken out of your hands and it is important to comply with the court order.
Choose the right real estate agent
If you do decide to sell the former matrimonial home, then it is important, unless the court have decided who the estate agent will be, that you choose an estate agent that you feel comfortable working with and who understand your current situation. Be sure that you do not rush into selling your home, and instead, you take the time to find a reputable estate agent in your area who has a good track record.
Make necessary repairs and improvements
Before you put the home on the market, it is important to make necessary improvements and repairs. If you and your former spouse are splitting the proceeds from the sale, then both parties should equally split the cost of home repairs but it is essential that this is agreed between you prior to one of you incurring such expense as this may not be recoverable at a later date in the absence of an agreement between you. Making small improvements to your home will help to sell your home faster as it is more appealing to potential buyers.
Be realistic about the asking price
If you are wanting to sell your home as quickly as possible after your divorce, then it is important that your property is reasonably priced. Overpricing your property is likely to result in it staying on the market for a long period of time, which can be frustrating and draining during an already difficult period in your life.
Please note that this briefing is designed to be informative, not advisory and represents our understanding of English law and practice as at the date indicated. We would always recommend that you should seek specific guidance on any particular legal issue.
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