For many people, divorce means selling a home – and though some people choose to sell it as the divorce progresses, you may decide that hanging on to it (or fighting to keep it) is more hassle than it’s worth when you’re already coping with enough. Some experts say that you should sell your home as soon as you decide to divorce, so this guide covers seven reasons that may be the best course of action for you.
7 Reasons to Sell Your House When You Divorce
Check out these seven reasons to sell your house when you divorce rather than fight for it. You may want to sell sooner rather than later if:
- You can’t afford mortgage payments on your own
- You can’t buy out your spouse
- You don’t want to be responsible for all the maintenance
- You don’t want to be left to pay for closing costs, repairs and other expenses on your own after the divorce is final
- Your house is worth less than what you owe
- You don’t need as much room after your spouse moves out
- You need the cash from a sale
Here’s a closer look at each.
Reason #1 to Sell Your House When You Divorce: You can’t afford mortgage payments on your own
If you can’t afford the mortgage payments on your own, it’s in your best interest to sell your home – and to start the process as soon as you can. Though many homes get offers and sell within several weeks of listing, every house is different; the sooner you start the process, the better.
Reason #2 to Sell Your House When You Divorce: You can’t buy out your spouse
When you don’t have the cash to buy out your spouse’s interest in your marital home, it’s likely a good idea to sell it. If you keep the house without paying your spouse for their “half,” there’s a good chance that the judge in your case will order you to provide something of equitable (not necessarily equal) value to your spouse. Selling it alleviates that issue and lets you both take your share of the proceeds.
Reason #3 to Sell Your House When You Divorce: You don’t want to be responsible for all the maintenance
If you don’t want to – or can’t – keep up on home maintenance on your own, it may be a good idea to sell the house and start fresh elsewhere. You may want to find a condo, which requires little to no maintenance, or you might want to find a house that’s all yours (and doesn’t have maintenance issues that you’d rather not handle).
Related: 3 mortgage myths it’s safe to ignore
Reason #4 to Sell Your House When You Divorce: You don’t want to be left to pay for closing costs, repairs and other expenses on your own after the divorce is final
When you and your spouse sell your home during divorce (when you’re technically still married), you’re both responsible for paying for repairs, closing costs and other expenses. However, if you get the house in the divorce and decide to sell after your divorce is final, you’re on the hook for all those costs.
Reason #5 to Sell Your House When You Divorce: Your house is worth less than what you owe
If you’re underwater on your mortgage (meaning that your home is worth less than what you owe your lender for it), it’s probably a good idea to sell it during divorce. You may be able to sell your home in a short sale, or you and your spouse can both come up with the cash to break even with the bank.
Reason #6 to Sell Your House When You Divorce: You don’t need as much room after your spouse moves out
After your spouse moves out of your marital home, you may find that you just don’t need as much space as you did before – and that may mean selling your home during divorce is the best course of action. If you wait until your divorce is final, you’ll be on the hook for paying all the closing costs, making all the repairs and coming up with money for other expenses.
Reason #7 to Sell Your House When You Divorce: You need the cash from a sale
If you need to make a profit now – whether you need money to live on, pay your legal bills or something else – it may be in your best interest to sell your home. It can take between 30 and 90 days to close on a home, depending on the circumstances, so the sooner you get the process started, the sooner you can close the transaction.
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