If you’re married, and an American, you have a 30 to 50 percent chance that your marriage will end in divorce. If you live in Wisconsin, you may end up among the nearly 15,000 divorce cases here every year, according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. Dane County couples come in second on the list of most divorces in the state – 1,232 in 2015 (the last year for which we have statistics).
So, ok, you’re a statistic. Once the shock wears off it’s time to consider the process of separating the marriage assets. It can be a rancorous and ugly process, but he sooner the two of you begin discussing it, the easier it will be.
What will we do with the house?
Since the marital home is typically the couple’s largest investment, it’s the first thing that comes up in discussions of who-gets-what. And, there are several scenarios to consider.
- One of you keeps and remains in the home and buys out the other’s share.
- One of you remains in the home temporarily, perhaps so the kids aren’t uprooted.
- You mutually decide to sell the home and split the proceeds.
If you can’t come to an agreement that is fair to both parties, you’ll end up in front of a judge who will decide for you. Remember, Wisconsin is a community property state and a judge will typically divide marital assets equally between the two of you. But, not always. The courts consider how long you were married, what property each of you brought into the union, if either or both of you have substantial assets that aren’t subject to division and other considerations.
If the two of you have been able to get to an agreement to sell your home in Madison, read on to learn what to expect from the process.
Listing your Madison home for sale
With both of you on the home’s title, every single aspect of the listing must be agreed to and signed off by both of you. In a typical home listing this isn’t a problem. In the heat of divorce proceedings, however, there is nothing typical about the home sale process.
Lake & City Homes gets that this is a time where agreement is hard to come by. We, however, work for both of you and we’ll do everything we can to ensure that you both have the information you need to get this over with quickly and for top dollar.
We’ve learned that one of the biggest bones of contention is the list price of the home. While we will analyze the market to determine the highest amount of money the market will bear, what you list the home for is eventually up to you and your soon-to-be-former-spouse. Agreeing on a price isn’t easy for divorcing couples.
This is mainly because of the memories the home holds, making it feel as if it’s worth more than it is. Or, perhaps one of you is overly eager to move on and is willing to list the home for less than market value.
Whatever the reasons, you will need to divorce yourself from emotions and treat the entire process as a business deal.
What you need to know about while the home is on the market
It is nobody’s business why you are selling your home. Not prospective buyers or their agents. When they know your motivation, we, as your real estate team, are put in a weaker negotiating position and makes it much harder for you to stick to your guns when it comes to your list price.
So, rest assured, our lips will be sealed.
When the offers come in
Reviewing offers to purchase is another sticking point when it comes to divorce sales. Getting the two of you in the same room and then getting the two of you to come to complete agreement on the various aspects of the other may be quite challenging.
Agreeing from the outset to put your personal differences aside for the sake of the transaction will go a long way in avoiding delays and the possibility of derailing the entire deal.
You will, of course, each want to meet with your attorneys prior to the sale to determine how you’ll divvy up the money. This way, we can submit clear instructions to escrow. The escrow officer will take it from there and ensure that the disbursement adheres to your agreement with your spouse.
We’ve worked with many divorcing couples across Madison so we understand the challenges you face. It’s our goal to ensure that the process is as easy on both of you as possible.
Posted by Jolenta Averill on