Divorce is a challenging time, and selling a house amidst the process can feel overwhelming. But with the right knowledge and guidance, you can navigate this complex situation successfully.
On the surface, selling a marital house during divorce in California is similar to selling any other real estate in the area. You can hire a real estate agent or sell the house as-is to a cash buyer. However, profits are divided between spouses according to state divorce laws.
In this article, we’ll provide you with valuable insights, practical tips, and expert advice on selling your California house during divorce.
From understanding legal considerations to preparing your property for sale and finding the right real estate agent, Priority Home Buyers has got you covered! Our aim is to equip you with the information you need to make informed decisions and ensure a smooth selling process.
So, read on and empower yourself to move forward with confidence during this challenging time.
Priority Home Buyers
What Happens To The House In A Divorce California?
In 2000, there were a total of 944,000 divorces recorded, resulting in a crude divorce rate of 4 per 1000 people per year in the US. However, in 2021, there was a sharp decline in the statistics from 4 to 2.5 per 1,000 population.
That said, during a divorce, a property dispute is inevitable. One spouse may want to keep the home, while the other may want to sell it. There are even instances where both parties wish to retain ownership.
Notably, the outcome regarding the marital home is intricate since each divorce is unique. It relies on the parties involved, and either the home will be awarded to one or sold for profit division. But generally, the couple’s assets, including real estate, are divided or sold in most cases.
Here are four ways divorced couples can deal with their marital home in California:
Option 1: Sell The House
Selling the house on the California real estate market is a popular choice as it offers closure to both parties, especially when there is equity to be gained. This allows the divorcing couple to have sufficient funds for debt settlement, attorney fees, real estate agent fees, and the purchase of new properties.
It’s important to note that if neither party has resided in the property for at least two years, they may have to pay capital gains taxes.
Option 2: Buy Out The Other Spouse
Another common solution for divorcing couples is a buyout, where the partner purchases the home from the other. The buyout amount can be half the market value or less, depending on factors like each party’s income and contribution to the property, earning potential of the house, etc.
Notably, this option is beneficial for couples with children attending local schools or when selling the house at that time is unfavorable. But before proceeding with a buyout, the interested spouse should ensure that the cash payment is separate from the divorce proceedings.
Additionally, they must have sufficient resources to cover the mortgage payment independently.
Option 3: Co-own The House
If the divorcing couple maintains an amicable relationship, they may consider co-owning the house as an option. This involves creating a co-ownership plan that outlines the division of the mortgage, the responsibility of repairs, and more. They can also determine how the proceeds would be divided if the house is eventually sold.
This choice is particularly suitable when both parties want their children to continue living in the same house. However, co-ownership has its drawbacks.
For instance, it entails a financial tie to the other party, and late payments could affect the credit score of both spouses.
Option 4: Divide Large Assets
When both parties possess substantial marital assets, such as a primary residence and a vacation home, it is best to divide these assets to enable equal ownership. In cases where no separate property exists, the other party can opt for alternative assets like stocks, vehicles, etc.
This option is highly recommended as it eliminates the need to sell a property while navigating the complexities of a divorce. This spares the couple from the stress of marketing or agreeing on an offer. But do keep in mind that the division of significant assets necessitates negotiations to ensure fair and equitable agreement for both parties.
Who Gets The House In A Divorce California
In divorces involving property disputes, there are typically three common scenarios:
- The house is sold immediately, and the proceeds are divided between the spouses.
- One spouse is granted use and occupancy of the home for a specified period, often until the youngest child reaches 18, after which the home may be sold.
- One partner buys out the other legal interest and retains ownership of the home.
Do I Have To Sell My House In A Divorce California?
If you’re going through a divorce and unable to decide whether to sell your house or not, here are some reasons to consider.
If neither party intends to continue residing in the marital home, it is best to sell the property at a fair market value before finalizing the divorce. This allows for the equitable division of the proceeds as determined by the divorce court.
Opting for a buyout in a divorce entails assuming sole ownership and greater liability risks.
The spouse wishing to retain the California house must engage in discussions with the lender to secure financing based on a single income. If the lender determines that the individual purchasing the house may not be able to afford it due to increased payments, they may not approve the sole ownership arrangement.
Moreover, if the other spouse ceases mortgage payments, the remaining spouse becomes responsible, putting the property at risk of foreclosure if they cannot fulfill the full payment. Hence, selling the marital home can help avoid these complications.
In many cases, both spouses have contributed to the purchase of the California marital home, even if the shares are not equal. Consequently, both parties may express a desire to retain ownership of the house.
When one spouse wishes to sell the house while the other intends to keep it, reaching an agreement on the terms becomes crucial. Consequently, engaging in legal battles can further complicate divorce proceedings. Failing to reach a mutual agreement may even lead to a court order that may not align with either spouse’s preferences.
In such a scenario, selling a California house during divorce can help the couple avoid a more extensive legal dispute. While selling real estate requires time and energy, it allows the divorcing couple to divide the proceeds and move forward to a fresh start.
How To Sell A House During A Divorce California
Selling a house while going through a divorce involves various considerations, particularly if neither party resides in the property anymore. So, some of the important factors to consider are as follows:
- Repairs required after the home inspection
- Approval of showing requests
- Home maintenance
- Mortgage payments, property taxes, and home insurance
Albeit similar to any other home sale, selling a house during a divorce may get complicated with two parties having different interests. This difference can especially complicate the situation when determining the house value.
The detailed process of selling real estate during the divorce process is given below:
1.) Make Home Improvements
The couple faces a choice between making home improvements or selling the California property in its current condition. If they choose to pursue renovations, they must discuss financing the upgrades and determine which spouse will take responsibility for overseeing the process.
2.) Contact A Real Estate Agent Specializing In Selling Properties Of Divorcing Couples
It is important to select a real estate agent both parties agree upon. This should not be a decision made by just one spouse. Additionally, the chosen real estate agent should possess expertise in selling houses during a divorce to prevent the occurrence of lowball offers. At this stage, you can also sell your house for cash to a home buyer (if more pressed for time).
3.) Divide The Cost Of Staging And Marketing The House
The expenses associated with staging and marketing the house can be significant, particularly if the property is not well-maintained. Hence, it is essential that both parties agree on how to divide these costs. Subsequently, they must determine who will be responsible for making the payments and managing the financial aspects of the process.
4.) Decide On A List Price
The couple must come to a mutual agreement on the asking price of the property, ensuring it aligns with the fair market value. This decision can have an impact on other aspects of their divorce negotiations, underscoring the importance of setting the price carefully. Both a divorce attorney and a real estate agent can play a role in assisting with this process.
5.) Accept An Offer Together
When an offer is presented for the house, a decision to accept or make a counteroffer should involve the consensus of both parties. It is crucial that the home sale is not finalized unless the offer is mutually accepted by both spouses rather than by just one of them.
6.) Divide The House Sale Equally
If the house is sold and the divorcing parties are in a cordial relationship, there should be no difficulties in dividing the proceeds from the sale. However, it is important to settle any outstanding payments related to taxes, mortgages, and other obligations. Failure to resolve the distribution of profits can lead to a more complex process.
Pros Of Selling A House During A Divorce California
- Divorce attorney can provide guidance on expediting the home sale
- Provides the couple with additional time to strategize and allocate responsibilities among themselves
Cons Of Selling A House During A Divorce California
- Ongoing divorce can create stress for the couple, which may have a detrimental impact on various aspects of the home sale process
- Prospective buyers can leverage the divorce situation to their advantage
Selling Property Before Divorce Settlement in California
When a house is listed for sale during an ongoing divorce, potential buyers can perceive the couple’s eagerness to sell, leading to lower offers for the property. To mitigate this, it is advisable to sell the CA family home before finalizing the divorce.
Here are some considerations when selling a home prior to divorce:
- The primary objective is to prevent potential buyers from perceiving the divorcing couple’s desperation to sell the marital home, thereby minimizing the risk of receiving low offers.
- When an offer is presented, both spouses should work together to finalize the deal, ensuring the involvement of both parties.
- If living together is not feasible, it is recommended not to remove all belongings of the other spouse from the home.
- If both agree to sell the house at market value, it is best to continue living together in the same family residence to avoid signaling their separation to potential buyers.
Pros Of Selling A House Before Divorce Settlement
- Prevents disputes regarding the division of the house post-divorce
- Retains the seller’s ability to negotiate favorable terms
- Preserves the house value
Cons Of Selling A House Before Divorce Settlement
- Maintaining the illusion of a functional marriage or cohabitation can be challenging
Selling A Home After The Divorce Settlement in California
After the divorce processes are completed and the assets are divided equally, the sole responsibility of selling the California home rests with a single individual. Consequently, there are no conflicting opinions when it comes to making decisions regarding the sale of the property.
Furthermore, potential buyers will not be able to exploit the divorce situation to gain an advantage. There won’t be any obvious signs of desperation to sell the house, ensuring that the offers received are competitive, like in the case of selling any other property.
Pros Of Selling A Home After The Divorce Settlement
- Potential buyers are less likely to lowball since there is a reduced sense of urgency or desperation to sell the property
- Spouse in charge of selling can fully concentrate on the task at hand, i.e., selling a house and not being distracted by anything related to the divorce
- Moving out becomes simpler as only one individual is involved
- Only one spouse ends up with exclusive authority over decision-making without any conflicts
Cons Of Selling A Home After The Divorce Settlement
- Since only one individual can make decisions regarding the property sale, they are not left with any assistance in case of difficulties
How To Divide The Profit From A House Sale During Divorce California
If the family home is sold while the divorce is in progress, the division of profits will be handled by the respective attorneys of the couple. The attorneys will determine whether the real estate falls under equitable distribution states or community property states. As such, the key distinction between the two is whether the assets are divided equitably or equally.
If the house is not considered a community property state, the California court and divorce attorneys will negotiate and determine what is fair and equitable. This typically occurs after tax and mortgage obligations have been settled.
Note that dividing the proceeds from the property sale can be complicated. If one spouse has made more financial contributions towards the purchase and maintenance of the house, they may demand a larger share of the sale.
So, when the division of proceeds cannot be resolved through negotiations between the divorce attorneys, the court will make the final decision. However, the ruling of the court may not necessarily favor either party.
Hence, we highly recommend the couple try and reach a mutual agreement on their own if possible.
Selling Your House During A Divorce in California – Tips To Keep In Mind
Acknowledge Your Emotions But Stay Rational
The initial step in selling a house during a divorce is acknowledging that it is natural to have an emotional response. It is okay to feel emotionally connected to the process of moving on.
Once you have allowed yourself to experience these intense emotions, it becomes crucial to recognize their potential impact on your decision-making abilities. If your emotions get the better of you and dictate your decisions, you might not be putting yourself in the best position for future success. While emotions do play a role in the decision-making process, it is important to balance emotional reasons and sentimental value with rational analysis.
Sell The Marital House To An Investor Or Cash Home Buyer
For couples who are eager to sell their family home quickly, it is worth considering the option of engaging real estate investors and California cash home buyers. These buyers possess the necessary financial means to provide prompt cash offers, enabling both spouses to access their equity and move on swiftly.
As opposed to a traditional real estate agent, a rapid sale to a cash buyer results in fewer months of expenses related to insurance, taxes, maintenance, mortgage payments, etc. Conversely, selling the house to an investor is a favored choice among divorcing spouses due to the conveniences it offers.
Although it is common to view your spouse as an adversary during the divorce process, it is essential to make better decisions regarding the marital residence by working together. If the divorcing spouses agree to sell the home to a third party, your shared objective should be to maximize its value.
On the other hand, if one party engages in manipulative behavior by preventing property showings or disagreeing on the choice of a broker, both will ultimately suffer financially. But if both collaborate effectively, they can overcome obstacles more successfully.
When is the right time to sell a house during a divorce?
If you have the flexibility to choose when to sell your house, it is best to consider the spring season. Spring tends to attract more enthusiastic buyers as the weather gets warmer, the school year is coming to an end, and individuals receive their tax refunds.
But if children are involved, it is preferable to sell the house during the summer. This timing prevents any disturbances in their schooling and allows for a smoother transition. It is essential to remember that changing residences can be challenging for children, so providing them with support and understanding is crucial.
Which professionals should one approach to sell a house during a divorce California?
Deciding whether to retain the home following a divorce is a complex undertaking. Hence, it becomes even more crucial to collaborate with reliable experts who can provide assistance through various stages of the process. Plus, they can assess your financial condition and help determine whether you have the means to retain the current home or purchase a new one.
A. Real Estate Broker
To sell the house during a divorce, it’s best to partner with a real estate broker who can help you get a great deal through appropriate listing, effective staging, etc. The same broker can further assist you in finding a good deal on your new home.
B. California Divorce Attorney
Collaborating with a divorce attorney can help you strategize for the best possible outcome regarding your home. A family law attorney can further help understand asset division.
Additionally, engaging other real estate professionals, such as an appraiser, who can provide an accurate valuation of your home is crucial. Their input will influence your decision on whether to keep the home and the potential forfeiture of other assets.
C. Financial Advisor
A financial advisor can assist in analyzing your financial situation, projecting your ability to cover home-related expenses. They can also assess the potential impact on other aspects of your financial plan, such as saving for retirement or meeting other expenses. You can further consult a tax professional for capital gains-related queries.
D. Divorce Coach
A well-connected divorce coach can offer support by helping you organize your affairs, providing guidance on evaluating your home, and connecting you with relevant experts who possess special knowledge. Relying on advice from trusted professionals is crucial in making informed decisions regarding the marital home and other matters that arise during the divorce process.
In the challenging process of selling a California house during a divorce, navigating emotional complexities and legal intricacies can be overwhelming. However, finding the right solution is essential to moving forward.
We at Priority Home Buyers are here to help in California, and we are available 24/7 by phone at 877-775-0988.
Understanding the financial implications, seeking professional advice, and keeping the lines of communication open can help streamline the process. Remember – you have the power to navigate this transition successfully and embark on a new chapter with confidence!