Selling the home during a divorce

Selling a home during a divorce is unlike selling under normal circumstances.

Here are the things to consider:

Selecting a Realtor: The Realtor MUST be a top producer with have years of experience dealing with divorces and be a pricing EXPERT. Our market is Northern Virginia.

Communication: After the first meeting, which must be with both parties, all communication must be in writing (email) and all parties must be copied. There can be no “he said she said”. Everything is in writing.

Pricing the home:

  • 30% of the homes in Northern Virginia withdraw or expire unsold.
    • In Mclean Great Falls, 48% of the homes did not sell.
    • Those withdrawn or expired listings sat on the market an average of 240 days.
  • The homes that do sell in NO VA, sell in an average of 78 days.
    • Of the homes that did sell in McLean Great Falls, 1/3 took more than 100 days to sell.
    • Their average Days on Market was 238.
  • Home in Mclean and Great Falls that were on the market for more than 100 days, sold for 90% of list price.

Pricing is the most essential part of the transaction. Proving the true “Market value” and using a strategy that works, is what we do. IN 2016 we did $100M in Northern Virginia sales with our listings selling at 99.1% of recommended price in an average of 32 days. Our Pricing Model leaves NO DOUBT about where the home should be priced. You can see how we price homes at:

Home preparation: The home must be put in salable condition. There is often a question of “who pays for preparing the home?”. We provide up to $10,000 to have any necessary work done to the home, so it receives top dollar.

FOCUS: It is an emotional and volatile time. Sellers need to stay focused on selling the home at it’s maximum price, in the minimum amount of time. This focus will come into play many times throughout the transaction.

Seller proceeds: A seller net sheet needs to be prepared at pricing meeting and contract ratification so both parties know what they are splitting. This must include ALL expenses the sellers will incur.

Court Orders need to be reviewed and the listing must be in compliance with the court order.

Contract negotiations: Preparation and pricing to market should encourage multiple contracts. 50% of our listings end in multiple contract presentations in the first weekend. Most buyers bid the price over true market value. We prepare a Spreadsheet so the sellers can compare the offers. Most times there is a clear winner. We will recommend a contract with a list of reasons why this was our decision. Sellers need someone they respect to step up and tell them what is in their best interest.

Home inspection: This is the MOST volatile time of the transaction. Home inspectors are tough and anger all sellers. This is why it is valuable to have back up contracts so the sellers have leverage over the buyers. The home inspection list should be reduced to a “buy out” number so the the amount can be subtracted from the proceeds.

Settlement: Documents should be sent to each party and have them signed separately. They should not meet with the buyers or the other party. This is the most efficient way to finalize the sale.

Commissions: We only charge 4.5% for our full service listings because we make 100% of our commission. Because we are not cutting in the broker, we can pass the savings on to our sellers. If we provide cash for the fix up, the commission goes to 5%. This provides sellers maximum professional representation at the lowest cost.

If one party is buying out the other: It is CRITICAL to determine the actual sales value. Homes in Northern Virginia sell for 97% of the list price in an average of 78 days. Have each party get an appraiser and call me to have the actual sales value placed on the property. Here is the equation:

  • Take the Actual Value
  • Minus sales cost
  • Minus refinance cost (if a mortgage needs to be obtained to buy out the other party)
  • Minus the mortgages = “True equity”.
  • Apply the agreed upon percentages to “True equity”.

Dealing with family home in a divorce, which is most people’s largest asset, should be done by a professional trained in dealing in this environment. If we can be of any help, let us know.

Casey Samson

Samson Properties

©Copyright Casey Samson 2017