Our guide to selling a property during a divorce

26 Jul 2018

ThinkstockPhotos-476824114-735x450.jpgMost married or de facto couples acquire assets throughout their time together, such as the home they live in, an investment property or even a holiday home.
The term “property” does not just apply to houses and land, but vehicles (including cars, boats, motorbikes, caravans and so on), artwork, furniture, plus fixed assets, such as superannuation and shares.
Deciding who gets what can get complicated and messy, particularly around property and moreover, when the ‘property’ in question, is the family home.  
In our experience, most former couples will choose to sell the property. Of course, everyone’s situation is different, and the process will not be the same for everyone.

This article highlights our experience in this selling situation. However, it is only intended as a guide and we strongly recommend you seek individual legal and financial advice for your individual circumstances, plus other support services during this time.

Choose an independent real estate agent (not a family member or mutual friend)
Choosing an agen that will act without bias is extremely important. Ensure the agent you deal with has both of your best interests at heart.

Make sure both parties feel comfortable with the agent, as you will be placing a lot of trust in them.

While ‘liking’ the agent on a personal level is not a necessity, your situation is very personal indeed, so getting along with the agent is helpful.

If you and your former partner are unable to agree on an agent, you have the option to each choose your own and have both the agents work together on the sale.

Agreeing on price

Often, this is the biggest hurdle!

For a property to be sold, both parties must be happy with the price. Whether you are selling by private treaty or via auction – you must both agree on the price you are happy to sell at.

Taking your agent’s expert advice, as well as enlisting a third-party valuer may be the best road for you to take here.

But what if you are unable to agree?

If you cannot come to a mutual decision, you can seek legal assistance where the law can enforce an order for a house to be sold so the dividends can be split and the price determined by an independent valuer. However, this order must be followed so it should be considered as a last resort.

Deciding based on an expert opinion will be the safest option, and while this can be a turbulent time, all parties should endeavour to take all emotion out of the decision-making.

Arguing over items in the house will cost you more…
Perhaps one of the most detrimental things a couple can do is haggle over items in the home and ultimately get a lawyer Involved.

Lawyer fees will sting you far more than the value of that couch or dining set you want to take with you. It would be far cheaper for you to simply go out and purchase that item than hire a lawyer to come to an agreement. We understand that in some instances, items carry sentimental value, which can sometimes complicate negotiations. In this case, it is important to weigh up the sentimental value with what it could ultimately cost should legal action be taken.

We hope this article was useful to you. However, if you and your former partner a currently going through a divorce, it’s important you seek legal advice that pertains to your personal situation.

Peard Real Estate is here as your real estate partner for all your property needs.

Disclaimer: While all care has been taken to ensure information is accurate, all information in this publication is only intended as a guide.

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