How a Divorce Affects Your Real Property

Tips on selling property during separation

Getting a divorce can be stressful and strain both parties’ emotional, legal, and financial capacities. You may find discussions on how to split your assets come early in these cases. One of the most significant assets you share may be your home. You may ask, “What happens when you divorce and you own a home together?”

Navigating the responsibilities of selling your shared home can be complicated and time-consuming. That’s where a real estate agent with experience working with divorced couples can help ensure a streamlined and smooth process.

What Happens to Your Real Property?

Two main property types are focused on in a divorce: marital property and separate property. Marital property refers to property that the couple bought during their marriage. It is what’s divided between both spouses during a divorce. 

Real property is often marital property. And as such, both parties must share the decision to sell. It does not matter whose name is on the title. Whether it’s a divorce with the house in both names or under just one spouse, the other spouse would still be entitled to some value of the home during a divorce. The exception is if the property was given to or inherited by one spouse. 

Selling Your Home Together

Selling a home is no small feat, one that can become exponentially challenging when you’re in the middle of a divorce. After a couple agrees to sell the home, they must consider many factors. Hiring an experienced real estate agent who’s worked with divorced couples, like those from Michael Carr & Associates, Inc, can benefit both parties throughout the sale of their home. 

Aligning Your Goals

The first step to selling your home is determining your goal and aligning it with your spouse. Write them down and create a solid timeline where both parties agree to the dates you want certain events to occur, including when you want to see the sale closed. An experienced agent can provide helpful input on the plausibility of your timeline and make realistic readjustments for you.

Determining Your Property’s Value

An agent can help you complete a property market analysis to determine your real property’s value. They may also connect you with a professional appraiser who can provide accurate property value. Determining your property’s value this way prevents guesswork and disagreements that may arise.

Working Out Your Timing

Deciding when to put the home on the market can be another issue that causes stress between two people going through a divorce. You may have obligations to others or family events you cannot postpone, such as a graduation. Selling at the right time is important to you, and that’s when the right agent takes time to understand your situation and find the best time to sell your house. An agent who communicates clearly and consistently with both parties can ensure the timing is accurate and processes are on track.

Agreeing on the Maintenance

A good agent can help you determine what repairs need to be made beforehand to give you the highest listing. They can answer questions about how specific updates will affect your profits after the sale and provide hard evidence of your return on investment. Knowing this information can help you and your spouse better determine repairs you’re willing to spend on and how that investment will impact the profit split.

Discussing Pertinent Matters

A good agent will think of practical questions you and your spouse will have to be able to answer before moving to the next stage of selling. Will one spouse live in the home while it’s listed? Who will prepare the house for showings, and who will attend them? Having an agent who knows when to listen and what questions to ask will help ensure a smoother transaction.

Understanding the Tax Implications

An agent with experience working with divorced couples better understands the tax implications relevant to changes in marital status. For example, your agent may ask you to consider the federal capital gains tax ramifications, which state that you can exclude up to $500,000 in profit if selling when married versus $250,000 when single.

Choosing the Best Time To Sell 

A good agent can communicate how it’s in both people’s interests to agree on a profitable sale when the opportunity presents itself. If you and your spouse cannot agree on a price, having an agent you trust can help you settle the disagreement. You wouldn’t want an unrelated fight to cause the house to miss its peak market and lose out on gains.

Remember, real estate agents are only there to give real estate advice. The agent is there to sell your house, not mediate marital issues. A good agency like Michael Carr and Associates, Inc works for both of you towards a common goal and can be a logical mediator in conflicts regarding your home sale since their sole goal is to get the best price for your home.

Purchasing a New Home On Your Own

While you sell your shared home, it’s a good idea to start looking for a new home for yourself. Your current real estate agent is a good choice as someone to help with that process since you both already know each other. The agent will be more attuned to your buying preferences and range.

If you’re looking to buy in the same market, your current agent already has information about the area. That makes finding a new home quicker, a considerable advantage in a market where timing is essential. Arranging a time to meet and tour your new home will also be easier since you and your agent understand each other’s schedules well.

The right real estate agent works for both parties and protects the privacy of both individuals. You may not want your spouse to know where you’re buying, and a good agent respects that and helps to maintain boundaries. When selling your shared real property during a separation, Michael Carr and Associates, Inc ensures a smooth transition from your past to your future.


Michael Carr is the Co-Founder & COO of BrandFace, LLC. He is also a real estate branding expert and international bestselling author.  As America’s Top Selling Real Estate Auctioneer, he has sold billions of dollars in commercial and residential properties.