Selling a House During Divorce in Massachusetts

by | Jan 2, 2023 | Divorce |

Sometimes things don’t work out as you had hoped. Everyone experiences it. In life, things happen, and they aren’t always pleasant. Going through a Massachusetts divorce and selling the marital home is one of them.

You’ll have a lot on your mind when going through a Massachusetts divorce. Selling your home simultaneously can add even more stress to the situation. Real estate is often a primary focus in divorce proceedings. Many decisions are to be made, some of which won’t be pleasant.

For many couples, a home is their most significant asset. Out homes often hold sentimental value to both sides. Questions of homeownership, such as the division of assets in a sale or who gets to keep the home itself, can be complicated and may lead to conflict.

Many couples choose to sell their shared home when divorce proceedings are underway. However, this decision is not always clear-cut.

There are several factors to consider, such as personal finances and legal implications. This article provides an overview of the key points to remember when selling a house during a divorce. Maximum Real Estate Exposure also has some excellent divorce advice.

Who Gets The House in a Massachusetts Divorce?

There are many decisions to be made when selling a Massachusetts home in a divorce. There are three typical scenarios as follows:

  • There is a buyout where one spouse purchases the other’s legal interest with monetary compensation and keeps the house.
  • One party keeps the house for a specified period of time, such as the youngest child turning eighteen, at which time the house gets sold.
  • The property is sold right away, and the equity is split equally.

Divesting assets in a divorce can be a complex and challenging process. Who gets the house depends on the specific circumstances of each case. For example, maybe one party owned the house before marriage.

There are a few considerations to consider when negotiating a home’s future during a divorce. The scenario may play out differently depending on the relationship between the divorcing parties. However, some options to consider include:

Dividing Up The Largest Marital Assets

You may agree to divvy the assets if you and your spouse have multiple significant shared assets, such as a primary residence and vacation property. This would mean that you each take ownership of assets worth a similar amount.

It’s not just real estate that gets divided. There could be other valuable possessions such as cars, boats, stocks, and retirement accounts.

Divorce can be lengthy and complex, but equitable division makes it simpler. Doing so can be quicker to finalize a divorce since you won’t have to wait for a property sale or endure a long negotiation about who gets a larger share of the home.

You will still have to negotiate the value of each large asset to land on an equitable agreement, but you will not have to deal with the stress of selling a house while going through a divorce.

Buying Out The Other Party in a Massachusetts Divorce

You can buy out the other person when one spouse doesn’t want to sell.

The buyout could be an equal split, but it might not be. In most divorce cases, it depends on each party’s income, financial contributions to the property, and the home’s earning potential.

When you’re not interested in a back-and-forth debate, you can agree to settle for half of the home’s market value.

When considering a buyout during a divorce, the individual must have access to enough cash that is not subject to the remainder of the divorce proceedings. They must also be able to afford the mortgage on a single income. Sometimes, a buyout can be rolled into a more significant home refinancing.

Continue Owning The Home Until an Agreed-Upon Later Date

A couple can agree to a co-ownership plan in an amicable divorce. In this scenario, the couple will agree on how mortgage payments will be split, when they will be paid each month, and how the proceeds will be distributed at a mutually agreeable point in time.

This way, children can stay on the property, and parents can avoid spending much money to buy out the other person.

The downside of co-owning with a spouse you’re divorcing is you’re still financially connected. For example, if there are late mortgage payments, it will impact both of your credit scores.

Real Estate Capital Gains Become a Crucial Discussion Point

A homeowner who doesn’t live in a home as a primary residence for at least two of the previous five years cannot claim the Home Sale Tax Exclusion in the event of a sale.

When that happens, the vacated spouse would be subject to paying real estate capital gains taxes. Both spouses should agree on a home sale timeframe that allows both owners to take advantage of the tax exclusion or be compensated for that loss.

Why Selling Your Massachusetts House May Be Necessary for a Divorce

You don’t have to sell your house during a divorce, but there are several reasons why selling may be the better choice.

Despite the stress and headaches of selling during a divorce, it may be the preferred option for several reasons.

For example, selling the family home can help to divide assets fairly between divorcing spouses. It can also provide much-needed cash to help cover expenses during the divorce process.

Financial Stability

When you bought the house, there may have been two incomes to cover all the housing expenses. When one of the parties can’t do it alone, it makes sense to sell.

You need to know if you can pay all the housing expenses, including the mortgage, taxes, insurance, utilities, and ongoing maintenance.

The Legal Reasons

In many cases, both parties have contributed to the purchase of the house. The courts will decide for you when spouses cannot agree on real estate decisions.

Court battles can often be complicated and expensive, with couples ending up in more of an animosity-filled situation than they started with. Most people want to avoid a legal battle, so agreeing to sell the house and split the proceeds is often a more straightforward solution.

Once the marital home is sold, the division of assets in the divorce should be far less complicated. Selling takes time and effort but agreeing to sell and how to split the money will avoid the pain and expense of a legal battle.

Liability Issues

If one person insists on keeping the house, it is vital to understand the liability risks and difficulties of being a single homeowner.

If one spouse has enough income to cover the mortgage and other payments, they may be able to refinance the house under their name and eliminate the other spouse from liability. To do this, they will have to speak with the lender and qualify for a single-income mortgage on a house that was likely purchased with two incomes.

The spouse who wants to keep the house may have the liquid cash to buy out the other, but a lender might not agree that they will have the continuing income to keep up with all the increased mortgage payments and other ownership liabilities.

How to Sell a Massachusetts Home During A Divorce

Here are some tips when selling a home.

Hire a Massachusetts Realtor With Divorce Experience

Selling a Massachusetts property during a divorce starts with hiring the right Realtor. Having a real estate agent who has experience with divorce is essential. They understand the dynamics of the situation.

Any real estate agent who has ever handled a divorce knows it can be challenging when it’s not amicable.

Having an agent who shows no favoritism to one party over the other is crucial. Selling the house and making sound decisions should be made purely on what’s best for both.

It is essential to have both spouses present when decisions of being made. There shouldn’t be private discussions with one spouse. Everything about the selling process should be on equal footing.

Pricing Properly is Key

When selling any home, proper pricing is critical. Overpricing will end in failure. Make sure the comparative market analysis makes sense when pricing your home. Look at the data through the eyes of a buyer. Take the emotion out of your decisions.

Professional Photography and Exceptional Marketing

The best Massachusetts real estate agents understand how vital professional photography is to home sales. Your first showings will be when buyers look at listings online on their favorite websites, not when they visit the home.

Professional photography will make a difference in first impressions.

Make Showing The Home Easy

The hardest homes to sell are the ones that are challenging to see. Make showings easy. Be flexible when buyers call to schedule. A missed showing is a missed opportunity.

Your Home Should Look Exceptional

The easiest houses to sell are the ones that look great. Make sure your home shines. Get rid of junk before listing for sale. Remove all clutter. Rent a storage unit if you have to.

Today’s buyers love turn-key homes. They don’t want to do as little work as possible.

Final Thoughts on Selling a Massachusetts Home in Divorce

The time to sell your home is bound to be challenging. Keep a stiff upper lip and plow forward, In the end, it will get done, and you’ll move on in your life.

Selling a house during divorce can be daunting, but with the right preparation, you can make it as smooth as possible. If you have any questions or want more information, please do not hesitate to contact us. We would love to help.

Should you be in the midst of a divorce or contemplating divorce, contact the Law Offices of Renee Lazar at 978-844-4095 to schedule a FREE one hour no obligation consultation.

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