No one gets married expecting divorce – yet it happens to many people all the same. The relationship between you and your spouse has ended and you need to move on. When you own a house together, this can create some real difficulties. You need to get your house sold so you can split the money and put an end to that part of your life.
When this situation arises, you need a real estate agent that is sensitive to the circumstance you find yourself in and that can effectively move your home no matter what the market looks like currently. You need a teammate that can sell your house now. Hiring a Realtor while going through divorce is an important consideration especially when the marital home is one of your largest assets.
How to pick a real estate agent while going through a divorce is probably something most people don’t think about. There are too many other important things to deal with when going through this emotional and complicated life event.
Get a Realtor That Understands Divorce
Not every real estate agent is well-equipped to handle your divorce-related home sale. Some are just not that good at selling houses, while others don’t quite grasp the severity of your situation. Considering the stress you are already under, the last thing you need is an agent that fails to meet your criteria. When selling a home in divorce you need someone that can work with you now. A Realtors that knows how to move a house no matter how difficult the situation. The last thing you want is a “drama queen”. You want someone who is calm, cool and collected. A Real Estate agent is who fair, level headed and frankly not afraid to be involved in a tough situation.
Consider the following criteria while picking the real estate agent that sells your home during the divorce:
- Has he or she done this before? There are a lot of real estate agents out there to choose from. This means that many of your options have probably never sold for a person in your situation. Some may even avoid divorce home sales because they are too much trouble. This is not the individual you want selling your home.Find an agent that is familiar with divorce home sales. He or she may have been in a divorce personally, or may just have experience moving houses while folks are going through a divorce. If the experience is there, your agent will know how to be sensitive to your needs and the volatility of your current circumstances. The agent will also understand how important it is to get the house sold as quickly as possible while still getting a good offer for the home.
- How do his or her listing prices compare to sale prices? This is a major factor that should go into your decision making. You want someone who understands the market well enough to price a home accurately the first time. No, it is not possible to get it just right every time. However, some Realtors are way better at this than others. When you want to sell your home fast it is vitally important that your listing price be appealing to buyers without being too low – something a good agent will know how to help you with. Look for an agent that has an excellent track record of getting a price close to what their clients are asking. In real estate we call this the “list price to sale price ratio”. Finding out the list price to sale price ration is actually one of the interview questions for a real estate agent I would highly recommend. You will also find many other great questions that will help you pick the best candidate to work with you.
- Does the real estate agent know how to deal with two conflicting people? One of the big problems you may be running into is that you and your spouse own the house. This means that you both need to be involved in the selling process – yet you have no desire to speak to the other person. A good divorce Realtor will know how to communicate with both of you without creating waves. He or she will have the courage to pursue what is best in the face of emotional challenges, but will also know how to avoid rocking the boat and creating more headaches. It is important to have both owners on the same page in order to maximize the largest return from selling the marital property. Recently, while selling a home in Framingham MA, the parties were in complete conflict with one another. One of the owners was initially making my job a lot harder. It became apparent that this was being done in order to hurt the spouse. What needed to be pointed out was in the long run preventing me to do my job was also going to put a dent in the overall return that would be realized from the sale. Of course this was not smart but common when emotions get in the way of sound business decisions.
- Is the Realtor a good listener? While the last person you may want to confide in is your real estate agent, it is important to realize that you may wind up doing so even if you don’t want to. You will already be going through a high-stress transaction – anyone who has sold a house can tell you how taxing it can be. But you will also be going through or have just finished a divorce. When you are talking with your Realtor about the situation with the house, things can boil over. Do you feel comfortable having this person as an outlet in this difficult time? If he or she rubs you the wrong way, it may be better to choose someone more compatible with your needs.
- Does the Realtor know your area? With the internet it is now much easier to find a good real estate agent. However, sometimes the agents you find through random searches are not actually familiar with your area and are not the best qualified to sell your home. Their ads may look appealing and they may be willing to work anywhere in the state to sell a house – it is how they make money, after all. The problem is, only a real estate agent that understands your area inside and out can sell your house efficiently. Why? If the agent is not from the area they will not understand the nuances of pricing your home correctly which is most important factor in selling a home. How does one neighborhood compare to the next? This is something a Realtor 50 miles outside your area is not going to understand well enough.
Your agent needs to know so many things to make a fast, productive sale. The neighborhoods, the state statistics, the average home prices in your area, similar home sales in your neighborhood and more. He or she also needs to have an established network to get your house out there to potential buyers, something that requires more than just an online listing to accomplish effectively.
- Does the Realtor have good negotiation skills? The real estate agent you choose should not only be able to handle the complexity of two people that are more than likely at odds with one another but also be able to deal with contract negotiations with home buyers. Keep in mind the Realtor you choose should be looking out for your best interests by keeping your situation confidential. The last thing you want during contract negotiations is for the buyers agent know you are getting divorced. This puts you in a position of weakness when it comes to negotiating the offer on your home. The other big hurdle that needs to be cleared in a home sale is the buyers home inspection. Besides the contract to purchase this is where most of the negotiating is done in a real estate transaction. You will want someone in your corner who is good at negotiating home inspection repairs. There are plenty of difficult buyers out there who will be very unreasonable when it comes to the home inspection. There are many who lose site of the fact that the purpose of a home inspection is to see if the home is structurally sound not to make the place perfect. When the buyer starts asking for ticky tack repairs it will be important to have a Realtor in your corner who can negotiate on your behalf.
- Does the Realtor have references? In a high-stakes situation like divorce, you want someone who has a proven track record of selling homes. This is not a time to be selecting your aunt Mildred’s cousin Sally who sells a few homes a year. It’s important to choose someone who is well know and stands out in a crowd! Get the person that everyone else wants to hire. The Realtor who you see has sold signs all over the place. You should also ask for recent references from satisfied sellers who had an experience they are happy to talk about. Do not hire without talking to at least a few real-life references who can tell you how satisfied they were with the work of this Realtor. If the real estate agent is smart enough to give you some names without you even asking that is even better. Keep all these things in mind and you will probably be hiring an agent that will be excellent to work with while you are going through a divorce!
Other Helpful Divorce Resources
- What you need to know about divorce mediation via NOLO.
- Getting a divorce with children – what you should know by Help Guide.ORG.
- How to find a divorce attorney via Wiki How.
- Seven costly divorce settlement blunders by Divorce Net.
Use these additional divorce resources to make a tough situation go as smooth as possible. Part of the divorce process is being knowledgeable about this situation and issues that can arise from it. If you are going through a divorce and need to sell your home in one of the communities below please feel free to get in touch for a private consultation.
About the author: The above Real Estate information on how to hire a real estate agent in divorce was provided by Bill Gassett, a Nationally recognized leader in his field. Bill can be reached via email at [email protected] or by phone at 508-625-0191. Bill has helped people move in and out of many Metrowest towns for the last 27+ Years.
Thinking of selling your home? I have a passion for Real Estate and love to share my marketing expertise!
I service Real Estate sales in the following Metrowest MA towns: Ashland, Bellingham, Douglas, Framingham, Franklin, Grafton, Holliston, Hopkinton, Hopedale, Medway, Mendon, Milford, Millbury, Millville, Northborough, Northbridge, Shrewsbury, Southborough, Sutton, Wayland, Westborough, Whitinsville, Worcester, Upton and Uxbridge MA.