Putting up their marital home on the market is not something a newly married couple thinks about when making the purchase. Yet, this happens frequently when partners divorce and can no longer live together. Although it can be stressful on many levels, understanding what is at stake and proceeding thoughtfully can make the process easier. If the home is owned jointly by both parties, the profits can be divided once the home is sold. Since Maryland is an equitable distribution state, the money will be divided equitably, but not necessarily 50/50. The parties can enter an agreement to divide the proceeds 50/50 if they so desire.
Getting the House in Order
Not all homebuyers want to buy fixer-uppers, so the home should be evaluated for any repair or maintenance items. If neither ex-partner wants to pay for this, it may be possible to deduct the costs from the sales price. Both will need to complete a disclosure form, which describes the property and any shortcomings it might have. Cleaning up the premises and getting rid of unneeded items are also part of the prep. Some take this opportunity to donate goods to charity, which can provide extra tax deductions.
Once the decision to sell has been made and the house is in order, it may be time to contact a real estate agent. This gives the home the most exposure to sellers, although some people decide to sell their home on their own. Listing with an agent requires a signed contract, and sellers should be clear about its terms for commission, right of refusal, and other details. Most importantly, a selling price must be determined; the agent should provide comparative home sale prices in the same neighborhood.
As the listing progresses, the ex-spouses need to figure out who will be living in the home until it sells. One person will also need to coordinate showings with agents; it is best to not be home when home seekers and agents come to call.
Negotiating the Sale
There is a lot of give and take with home sales, and if a divorcing couple does not agree on an offer or other contingencies, it can slow things down. The agent can act as a go-between and offer advice to keep things moving. An experienced divorce attorney can also be invaluable throughout these proceedings.
After an offer is accepted, the agent will provide an Agreement of Sale from a buyer. This includes the price, the amount of a down payment, and contingencies, if any. Usually, the home will need to pass inspection, the buyer will need to obtain a mortgage, and there will have to be a title search. Sellers do not have to accept an offer as-is; in many cases, they present a counter-offer.
Closing the Sale
The Agreement of Sale will also name a closing date. On this day, the sale is made, and ownership is transferred to the homebuyer. This takes place at title agencies, attorneys’ offices, or at real estate agency offices. The payment gets transferred from the buyer to the seller. This is first used to pay off the seller’s mortgage and the remainder is the profit. It is not necessary in most states for the sellers to be present at closings, if the documents are signed, and all fees are paid in advance. This can be helpful for divorcing couples who prefer not to see one another.
Towson Divorce Lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC Advocate for Clients Seeking Divorce
If you are seeking a divorce, or have concerns about equitable distribution, the Towson divorce lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC can help. Contact us online today or call us at 443-589-0150 for a free consultation. Located in Towson and Hunt Valley, Maryland, we proudly serve clients from the surrounding areas, including Baltimore, Baltimore County, Bel Air, Columbia, Westminster, Essex, Monkton, Sparks, Parkton, Pikesville, Carroll County, Harford County, and Howard County.