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3 Professionals You Need to Enlist When Selling Your House During a Divorce

By Tanya Svoboda
April 2020

House hunting is a process that’s filled with possibilities, but for the 40-50% of American’s who end up divorcing the homeownership journey is not always a straightforward one. Going through a divorce is already a stressful experience. Compound that with the need to work as a team with your ex-to-be to sell the house you bought together and it can become overwhelming.

In fact, selling a home during a divorce is a process that combines two of the American Association of Psychology’s top three stressors (finances and personal relationships). The key to surviving this trying time is finding the right professionals to guide you and your soon to be ex through the process.

Get on the Same Page

If there’s one thing you and your ex agree on it’s that you’re getting a divorce. While that may seem crystal clear, what to do with the house you own together may be a bit murkier. When it comes to selling your home during a divorce two of the most common options are:

  • One spouse buys out the other and keeps the house.
  • Both partners sell the house and split the proceeds

The simplest option for many is to sell the house and split the proceeds. But certain factors can complicate the process. You’ll need to consider if you bought the house before you were married, how much you each put into the purchase of the home, and what your specific state’s laws are regarding ownership.

Calling on the expertise of a few professionals will help reduce the stress of selling your home during a divorce.

1. Find a REALTOR® Who Specializes in Divorce

The REALTOR® you choose to work with should be someone who understands the complexities of buying and selling a house during a divorce. “A home sale during a divorce is different than a traditional sale because of the type of communication that you need to have with your clients,” says Dawn Fore, a Divorce Specialist and top-selling real estate agent in Houston.

The REALTOR® you choose should feel like an ally to both of you. Picking a REALTOR® who specializes in divorce will ensure neither of you feels isolated during the process. This professional will help ensure your home sale goes smoothly. REALTORS® specializing in divorce have insight into the quirks of staging a house during a divorce and often work as a team to make sure each spouse feels represented in the process.

2. Consult a Tax Specialist

Understanding how your divorce will affect how you file your taxes that year is something that should be done at the beginning of the divorce and home sale process. Fore urges divorcing couples to “consider how they’re going to file their taxes for the year when they’re deciding on if and when to sell the house.

Because there are different tax implications if they’ll still be filing jointly, or as separate households.” A tax specialist can show you how selling your home while you’re still married will help you take advantage of capital gains tax exemption. If you file jointly as a married couple, you may exclude up to $500,000 of the profits.

3. Involve Your Divorce Attorney

The unfortunate truth about divorces is that many are filled with a volatile mix of emotions that leaves both parties unable to work amicably together. If this is the case in your divorce, it is best to ask your divorce lawyer to help you and your ex-spouse work through the details of preparing, listing, and ultimately selling your house. Be aware that with attorneys, time is money, and you may end up paying a  great deal.

With your REALTOR® at the helm and a qualified team of professionals on board, you and your soon to be ex can complete your home sale in a way that leaves everyone feeling satisfied and gives you the confidence you’ll need as you move, literally and figuratively, into the next stage of your life.


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