Here’s a guest blog by Anna Beigelman from Exit Realty (https://www.facebook.com/anna.beigelman)
When faced with the transition process of divorce, there are many important decisions to be made. While there are many assets to divide, real estate tends to be one of the most sensitive. Whether it is the home that a family was raised in or investments which were purchased together, division is rarely an easy numbers game.
Step one is to contact a trusted realtor, in conjunction with your matrimonial attorney, to set up an appraisal. Although the value to you and your partner may seem innumerable, that will not be the case to consumers on the market.
If you don’t work with your spouse on this be aware that a judge could take choice of a realtor or appraiser away from you and do the hiring. Then you will have no choice as to the person or their fees.
Once the home and other joint properties have been accurately appraised, a decision can be made on when and if to sell. Again, if you and your spouse can’t agree, the judge will make those decisions for you. Since you and your spouse have the financial stake, and the judge doesn’t we advise trying to work with your spouse.
In many cases, a property may still have a mortgage attached to it. It is important to assess the real value of the home versus the price it was purchased for. If the mortgage exceeds the appraised price you may need to work with the bank to sell the house without owing any money back to them afterwards.
In some cases, it may make sense for one spouse to continue to live in the property until a higher season in the market, to receive top dollar. This is often the case in suburban communities and can be reviewed with your realtor and counsel to ensure that both parties will receive the most favorable outcome.
However, in this time, there may be small tweaks which you can make to the home to allow for a larger sale price, such as staging and small repairs. Many people believe that large repairs or renovations can greatly improve the value of the house. However, for a dollar for dollar return, small things such as painting and landscaping can yield very positive results.