I need to sell my house due to divorce
There are several reasons why you might need to sell your home fast, divorce being one of the most common. A traditional sale might be too slow, in which case a cash buyer company might be a good option for you.
Sadly, around 42% of marriages in England and Wales end in divorce. In 2017, the most recent year that statistics are available for, 102,007 couples divorced. I like to think a lot of these are blissfully amicable but I'm sure that most are probably not!
If, sadly, your marriage has come to an end, the last thing either party wants is to continue the deep and involved financial relationship that comes from owning a home together. With the average house sale taking 12-18 weeks, once you've found a buyer which can be a lengthy process in itself, putting your house on the market with an estate isn't always the quickest way to get the transaction done in a timely manner. If you're both keen to sever the financial relationship and move on with your lives, selling to a cash buyer might be a good option for you. A cash buyer can have the funds in your account within 28 days or even quicker if necessary, meaning no unnecessary hold ups or even having to stay in the same house for a prolonged period.
There are several ways people can deal with their property when getting divorced. The main ones being;
- Buying your partner out. This can be a good option if one partner wants to keep the house and can afford to buy their partner out and the other is happy to take the money and leave. This would normally happen by the person staying remortgaging to both pay off any existing mortgage, plus their partner's share of the equity in the property, so the person leaving walks away with the same amount as if they'd sold the house, unless a different figure is agreed if there are other factors, of course.
- Selling and moving out straight away. Maybe you can't stand the sight of each other or just need to get out straight away! In this case you want the house sold asap. Getting a guaranteed cash offer with the money in your bank in just 28 days or less, might be a good option for you in this scenario.
- Selling later. It might be that you get along and are happy to stay put until the house sells via the traditional estate agency route, or you'll both want to move out and let the property out.
Trying to remain in the family home with one partner leaving can be very difficult - transferring mortgages, finding enough assets to even out the value in the divorce, and even being able to afford the monthly costs of the home on your own.
Sometimes the simplest way to start afresh is to sell the property you own together and divide the proceeds between you. So, if you have decided to sell your house as part of your divorce settlement, the last thing you will want is to have a long and drawn-out selling process ahead of you.
Define your priorities - together
Try to work out with your spouse how much you can accept for the property so that both parties will be in a comfortable enough financial situation to move on. Remember to factor in your legal costs as well to avoid any expensive surprises.
Prepare yourself for the possibility that to get a faster sale, you may have to accept a lower offer, although you might find this is worth it in the long run so that you can begin to build your new lives. A surveyor will be able to give you an independent and unbiased valuation of your property; having an idea of this would help you when negotiating with buyers and estate agents and protect you from accepting any offer that is just too low. It's also a good idea when going through divorce proceedings and assigning assets - you can both feel comfortable that you have had an independent expert opinion, not someone who is taking sides.
Shop around for quotes to find a good conveyancing solicitor who you feel is efficient and will keep you informed at every stage of the selling process. Many solicitors now have on-line case tracking systems which will help keep you up to date at any time of day or night.
One or both of you may have already moved out of the home you're selling. If this is the case, then it may be easier for you to ‘dress’ the property for viewing, as you can de-personalise the space more easily than you could if you still had all your belongings there. Hiring a removal company to put your non-essential items into storage could be helpful at this time, and it could also help you to review and separate your possessions.
Our guide to staging your home can give you more tips on how to dress your property for viewings.
Don't mention divorce
Buying from a divorcing couple can put some buyers off, so it's best to keep quiet about it unless you're asked. They know that the chain technically doubles, if you are both trying to find new places to live, and often there are complications, with communication between the ex-partners slowing down the process, one person being resistant to moving on, or disagreements over price. It also can put you at a disadvantage - if potential sellers know you are divorcing, they will assume you are eager to move out and get on with your life as soon as possible - they may offer a lower than reasonable price, knowing you're likely to accept just to move on.
If the potential buyer asks, you shouldn't lie, but do what you can to lessen the risk - for example, by one or both parties in the divorce moving in with family or into rented accommodation to break the chain - and reassure the potential buyer that you're doing what you can to avoid it being an issue.
Work out the finances
Bear in mind all of the costs associated with selling your home, and how those are going to be split between you. If you have continued paying bills and the mortgage since separating, but before the sale goes through, then this has to be taken into account when the proceeds from the house are split. Try to remain detached, amicable and straightforward - you both want the best deal possible from selling your home, so keep records organised and be clear about who does what when it comes to selling the house.
At OfferPal, we can get you cash offers on your property for you to compare within a few hours. They will be from reliable cash buyer companies who can have the money in your bank within 28 days. They won't pay full market value, but if speed and moving on is more important to you than achieving full market value, then it's a great option to look at!