Deciding What To Do With The House During A Divorce

Divorce has a huge impact on your life and the lives of those closest to you. It also affects your finances. One of the toughest decisions is what to do with the house after you and your spouse split.

Divorce is right up there among the most common reasons people want to sell their house fast. You bought the house as a couple, but now that you’re not a couple, you want to dump it as quickly as possible. Divorcing your spouse can seem easier than divorcing your house.

Understandably, the house you buy as a married couple is full of reminders of your marriage, the kids (those notches on the wall) the dog prints in the cement you poured, that tree you planted. Physical reminders are powerful influencers on your attitude and psyche if you allow them. Before you decide to sell the place, make sure your emotions are not playing too big a hand. You may be feeling hurt, but your financial future is at stake. It pays to keep your head when deciding what to do about the house.

Your house is a large investment, so deciding what to do with it as you separate from your spouse is as important a decision as buying it in the first place. When you bought the house, you were probably thinking of either long-term residence or at least selling it for a higher price than you paid for it.  When a divorce looms on the near horizon, those concepts crumble around you.

After the decision has been made, the unfortunate fact is that you’ll need to discuss how to divide your assets. Regarding your house, most people generally choose one of two options, refinancing or selling.

Keeping the house after a divorce

Your first task is to consider your equity in the house and how much you still owe. Assess whether one spouse has sufficient means to assume payments after refinancing as a single buyer. Keep in mind that banks are hesitant to loan to someone whose sole income is alimony and childcare payments from another individual. If you can swing it, refinancing the house is the way to go if one person wants to stay in the house.

Besides refinancing, there is another option. Called “release of liability,” it simply removes one spouse’s name from the note, leaving the house in the other spouse’s name only. While this saves refinancing fees, which can run between 3 – 6%, banks are under no obligation to agree to this. Also, while the title no longer bears the name of one party, the original loan still does. If your house is underwater, forget about this option.

Even in San Antonio, a reasonably healthy market, your house may be worth less than you originally financed it for. After a divorce, some people default, because they simply can’t make the payments anymore as a single owner. Don’t get yourself in that situation. If you are unsure about the cost of keeping the home as a single person, talk to someone who can help you realistically assess your finances and forecast a plan at least into the next five years.

Keeping the house is a great option (whether you are underwater or not), especially for couples who have children. But it depends on one person’s ability to pay the mortgage. As Polyana de Costa advises, “If you were single would you buy this home?” If you would — and if you could persuade your ex and the judge to agree with you — then, by all means, try to keep the home. If not, then it’s time to sell.

Selling the house during a divorce

Even if you both decide that a home sale is the best way to split your assets fairly, you may still encounter problems. During a divorce, hurt feelings weigh heavily on the decision of “what to do with the house?” Consider the drama of two people with “irreconcilable differences” putting their house up for sale. (It’s challenging enough when you get along!) One spouse may persistently disagree on the selling price, or refuse to cooperate with the repairs or scheduling needed to put it on the market and hold open houses.

On top of that, you’ll both have the stress of moving out, settling into separate digs, and dealing with all the upheaval a divorce brings.

If you decide to sell and split the proceeds, you’re probably looking at downsizing and/or moving into a different neighborhood. For most people, buying another house on the same scale as when they were married is unfeasible.

Selling a house after a divorce with children, you’re also responsible for their comfort and stability. Although kids are resilient, the parents need to put energy into establishing a new home and helping them create roots in a different neighborhood or even a new school.

Finally, there’s the real possibility that your house won’t sell. At least not as fast as you want it to. Moving on is easier when you know where you stand financially and physically. Being stuck in a house you don’t want and can’t afford only holds up the healing process after a divorce.
When selling your house is the only option in a divorce; the faster and smoother the sale, the better!

Second, only to the loss of a loved one, divorce is probably the least desirable reasons people need to sell their house and move on. There are two or more lives at stake, and sensitivity is required to make the process as quick and painless as possible. If you need help selling your San Antonio house, we have the experience and sensitivity required to make it happen fast. Once the decision to sell is made, please call to discuss the next steps. We’re right in town, we pay cash, and we can usually make you an offer within a day or two.

We can buy your house fast in Texas! Markette Properties presents an unique, simple approach for selling your home! We are real estate investors. We buy houses in Texas just like yours! We are dedicated to the highest professional real estate standards for all of our clients.

Do you want to sell your house fast in Texas for top dollar with the least hassle? Give us a call! (210) 853-2788 or click the button below.


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Photo credit Flickr CC: Garland Divorce Lawyer

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