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Selling the family home in a divorce can be a daunting task

If you are in the throes of divorce, you likely know how challenging it is to decouple emotions from the critical financial decisions that you have to make at this time. The fact that many of the judgments and choices you make will have a significant impact on your future financial stability can add a substantial amount of stress into the equation. When it comes to property division, deciding what to do with the matrimonial home is oftentimes one of the most crucial decisions you will face.

In the aftermath of a divorce, there's a strong chance that each spouse may end up owning or renting a new home on his or her own. Since each party will now be operating on just one income, this could create some financial challenges. This is one reason that many couples consider putting the family home on the market because the proceeds could allow them a much more comfortable transition.

Consider the following steps

You may be hoping to get your divorce over and done with so you can move forward and start a new life, but you could ultimately regret rushing into the sale of your home. Advisers say timing is everything in real estate sales. You can have more control over the price you get and the fees you pay if you plan things carefully. Having control over the following matters may be beneficial:

  • Is selling the right choice? Consider how much you might get for the home, the balance of your mortgage and how much you expect your share to be. Will that get you another house, or will you need to settle for a condominium or apartment? Maybe you will have to move to the suburbs and spend a fortune on commuting. How much debt could you potentially face while trying to start a new life without selling your current home?
  • Keep your divorce confidential: Buyers need not know that you want to sell the house because you are going through a divorce. If they do, they might look up court documents to learn about your financial situation. They could then see the minimum price the court will accept, putting you at a disadvantage. Some realtors suggest you leave personal items of both spouses around the house -- even if one has relocated -- to create the picture of a family home.
  • Timing is crucial: If you rush the sale, you could leave a healthy amount of money on the table. Waiting for a healthy market could yield thousands of dollars more than a quick sale just to get it done. If you put your house on the market when buyers are plentiful, the chances of getting your asked price are significantly higher.
  • Transaction costs: When doing your calculations, remember to consider the fees and costs. Breaking the mortgage may cost thousands of dollars, and along with land transfer taxes, realtor commissions, movers and other fees, the picture might look entirely different. These charges could reduce your equity by as much as 10 percent.

Handle your real estate breakup wisely

After considering all the pros and cons of selling your matrimonial home, if you find that it is the right option for you, there are resources available to you during this challenging time. Attempting to sell a home is an extremely complicated process under normal circumstances, and it could be even more daunting if this is part of a divorce or separation.

Fortunately, you will have the option of seeking legal counsel. If you choose an Ontario lawyer who has experience in both real estate and family law, you will have a unique advantage of guidance that will help you avoid some of the common financial and other pitfalls of both divorce and selling a property.

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