Sometimes, beautiful things must come to an end in order to give birth to other, different forms of beauty.
Nobody begins a marriage dreaming or rather, even, really thinking about the day of separation. In Ontario, 98% of couples separated did so naturally i.e no-fault cases. But even amicable separations can butt up against two big points of contention: child custody and ownership of the family home.
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Selling your marital home during separation does not need to be a point of contention or even a daunting task. Whether you’re feeling overwhelmed, emotional, or even possibly excited, there’s no reason to give questions like “do I have to sell my house after separation” any real estate in your head.
The job of selling your house during separation should be left to a non-emotional and impartial real estate agent, someone who can easily stick to the facts and analyze the data. Today, we cover some tips and FAQs on the topic of selling a house during separation.
How To Sell Your House During Separation
Unfortunately, this is not one of those situations where you just get a ‘step-by-step’ process, follow it, and voila! Be prepared to be flexible and rearrange or tailor our advice in the way that suits your (or your family’s) needs best.
Trust in the process.
Here are a couple of tips to help you keep calm and turn this adverse situation into an opportunity to earn a profit.
3 Tips To Deal With The Emotional Challenges Of Selling Your House During Separation
Selling your house and going through a separation can be difficult for some. Dealing with all the emotions – all the time – can drive you crazy. The key is to stay calm – which may just be easier said than done. The easiest way to stay calm? Offload all of the work! Choose a full-service team who will be happy to accommodate your individual needs. When you work with my team for example we can drop off moving boxes, create a list of everything that needs to be packed up prior to listing your home, help you de-clutter, hire a cleaning company, and bring in our handyman just to name a few of our add-hock concierge services.
Below are 3 techniques that I often recommend to my clients who get anxious about selling their house:
1. Take a break: If you’re feeling overwhelmed with the divorce process or any particular step of the home selling process, just stop. Take 10 seconds or a few days – whatever works for you. Allow yourself a breather. If it calms you, put on some music. Collect yourself. Introspect and try to think yourself through the situation.
2. Phone a friend: Many popular game shows give their contestants a power-up called ‘phone a friend’. The contestant in the hot seat can use this power-up when they do not know the answer to a question but believe that they know a friend who might be able to help. We often forget to use this ‘power up’ in the real world. Use it. Don’t be afraid to pick up your phone to call a friend for help whenever you feel overburdened with the situation at your doorstep. As a reminder, we’re here to help you too. Need to push staging back a few days? We got you! We’re always accessible, send us a text or book a free call.
3. Eliminate any unnecessary time constraints: It takes two to dance but if possible, remove all unnecessary time constraints. You should not feel pressured into making any decision or moving at a pace that is uncomfortable for you. Time constraints stack up the pressure. Even if you do think much better under pressure – your partner may not. It helps to have a mediator – someone from either family or an agent – set up any deadlines if necessary. When it comes to listing with us, we will be firm on deadlines only when it’s absolutely crucial to the successful sale of your home (for example, we wouldn’t want to push back a listing and have it launch during the Christmas holiday season). Otherwise, our team is flexible!
3 Profit Maximization Tips For Selling Matrimonial Homes In Ontario
1. Choose a non-emotional, experienced real estate agent that uses facts to make decisions
Selling your matrimonial home during a separation or divorce can be made easier when you hire the right agent and team. Toronto has many experienced real estate agents to help you sell your house during separation. I started investing at the age of 18 and have facilitated over half a billion dollars in real estate transactions in Toronto. I use data and facts to help me make my decisions, my approach is non-emotional and my full, concierge-level service is supported by a team to help make the process and transition smooth. If you’d like I would be happy to help you.
2. Set realistic expectations by combining data and expertise
Keep a clear head by sticking to the facts and leaning on the expertise and knowledge of a good real estate agent. There’s no reason to let emotions cloud your judgment and you really don’t have the time to waste crafting your own sales strategy or looking at current listings in your neighbourhood to get a value of your home. Real estate is nuanced, and data on hold-backs or real estate bidding wars are gate-kept. While it’s important to know the historical selling price for your marital property in a particular neighbourhood, you don’t need to spend time on this. Just email your agent who will help you get a feel for reality – allowing you to set your expectations accordingly.
3. Always put your best foot forward; consider renovation, repairs & staging
Your house is going to get the price it deserves. Toronto’s housing market feels no sympathy. If you see glaring maintenance or renovation issues – spend that extra money fixing them. Psst, we have an entire team to help with this! Consult with your real estate agent to check if the repairs are going to have a positive impact on your sold price. If your house isn’t up to snuff design-wise you may want to consider using home staging services. Quality home stagers can spruce up any house: aesthetically and often, financially as well. Home staging can run anywhere from $5000-$10,000 so be prepared for this expense. Or even better, find a Real Estate team that will do this for you FREE. Check out our complimentary home staging before and afters. From newborn baby madness to vacant homes, we’ve done it all and we’ve got you covered – for free!
4 Common Mistakes To Avoid When Selling Your House During Separation
1. Don’t have a ‘get-you-back’ mentality
It’s not unheard of for separation to come with resentment – and that’s natural. Don’t let that resentment create other issues for you as you try to sell your house during separation. Remember: to sell a house during separation, you need both spouses’ consent. If either spouse is in the ‘get-you-back’ mindset, naturally – the other spouse starts having trust issues, the expenses mount, the process gets delayed and nobody wins. I call this a loose-loose situation.
2. Choosing an inexperienced real estate agent
Since nearly half of home sellers rely on referrals from friends and family to find a good real estate agent, sometimes, you could up with the wrong real estate agent. Choosing a good real estate agent for selling your house during separation means experience with real estate transactions involving separation/divorce – especially in the local housing market. Not every real estate agent has this experience which is why you might have to look for someone online. But working with an experienced real estate agent has advantages. It gives you access to a lot of local data (historical and future projections) plus it gives you peace of mind knowing that your house is in capable hands and someone is out there trying to get the best price for it.
3. Hiding information about the divorce from your real estate agent and others
When selling your house during separation – full disclosure is the best policy. Ideally, your real estate agent should have a copy of the divorce agreement. Be completely transparent. This information is extremely important because it lays down each spouse’s responsibilities with respect to the house. Your agent uses this information to come up with the best-selling strategy to maximize your profits.
4. Overlooking maintenance costs
Sometimes, when you’re selling your house during separation – it’s empty. Nobody wants to live in it and that’s okay. What’s not okay however is that prospective buyers see an empty or uncared-for property. Put your best foot forward and lean on your agent’s handyman and staging capabilities so that your home shows well to prospective buyers.
FAQs On Selling Your House During Separation
Can You Sell Your House During Separation?
If both spouses agree to the sale, then yes – you can sell your house during separation. However, if for some reason or another, one partner is against the sale of the matrimonial home – you’ll have wait to make the sale. You need the consent of both parties to sell your house during separation in Toronto. Additionally, it’s best to go through the fine print of your purchase agreement with a lawyer – just to be sure that your actions are within the boundaries of the law. Also, remember – there are always extraneous cases. For example, if the court orders Spouse A to sell a property, then Spouse B would have to abide by the order regardless of consent.
Do You Need A Separation Agreement To Sell Your Property After Divorce?
You don’t “need-need” a separation agreement to sell your house – but in this case, it’s definitely a good idea to have one. A separation agreement defines the terms and conditions according to which the sale proceeds will be shared between both spouses. Any real estate lawyer will be able to help you draft one. In case things go sour during the sale of your matrimonial home – not having a separation agreement can really cost you!
For more information on the laws governing separation agreements in Ontario.
Who Benefits From An Increase In Value During Separation – Husband Or Wife?
There’s no straight answer to this question. It really depends on a case-to-case basis. Assuming you’re a married couple (not applicable to common-law couples) and both of your names are on the marital property title, you’re both entitled to share the gain in value. Usually, when the house is sold on the open market or one spouse chooses to buy out the other spouse and there’s been a gain in value – both parties are compensated at fair market value for their share in the property.
Whatever the reason – ending a marriage or selling your marital home is always a difficult decision. If you get stuck anywhere in the entire process and need help – just book a call or send a text and I’ll process your home sale as smoothly as possible.
DISCLAIMER: This blog is intended to be used for information purposes only, and is not to be interpreted as advice: financial, investing, legal, or otherwise. Any decision or action made by any reader of this blog is entirely at the discretion of that individual.