Whether To Sell Your Home During Divorce: 5 Questions To Answer

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For most of us, a house is the biggest purchase we ever make. It’s a huge commitment in money, time, resources, and emotions. Because it’s the most valuable thing we own, it often becomes a big issue in ending a marriage. The question frequently arises of whether or not to sell your home during a divorce, so we will dig into that topic for a while.

Should You Sell Your Home During Divorce?

Many reasons exist to hold onto a house. Some are emotional. You put a lot of time and energy into the home and feel a deep connection. That’s often difficult to leg to go of. Others are practical. For instance, it helps maintain continuity for the kids. You may view it as an investment, especially with current real estate prices.

Whatever your circumstances, eventually, the question will come up of whether or not to sell your home during a divorce.

This situation generally plays out in one of three ways:

  • First, one party buys out the other and keeps the house. That’s fairly straightforward, but it also takes money.
  • Second, if there are children, the custodial parent stays in the home, usually until the youngest child turns 18, and then they sell the house.
  • Third, the couple sells the house immediately and divides the profits.

Cases, of course, vary a great deal from one to another. No two are alike. You have several questions to answer when deciding whether or not to sell your home during the divorce process.

Related Reading: How Is Property Divided In Divorce In Oregon?

Factors to Consider When Deciding to Sell Your Home

While far from exhaustive, these are a few questions you should ask in this situation.

What’s The Market Like?

One consideration that impacts whether to sell your home during a divorce is the market. Real estate prices fluctuate and vary from one location to the next, by time of year, and more. Sometimes it’s hot, other times it’s cool.

    • Do you live in a buyer’s or seller’s market?
    • Can you get market value?
    • Will you bring in more than you owe on the mortgage?

All of these are important questions to ask. You may or may not be able to sell your house in the first place. Even if you can, the process takes time.

Beyond that, you may not be able to get the price you want.

In many other cases, homeowners rush to unload a house as fast as possible for unfavorable prices. You don’t want to sell your home during divorce and take a loss if you can avoid it.

Related Reading: When Do You Need a Divorce Lawyer?

Are You Better Off With Other Assets?

Because a house is such a big piece of the financial puzzle, it’s easy to focus on that. It’s not the only piece, however.

In some cases, you may be better off letting it go in favor of taking other assets in the settlement.

Getting the house seems like a big victory, but it also raises other issues. You have to maintain it, pay property taxes, and more.

If you ultimately decide to sell it down the road you face capital gains taxes if the property increases in value. And by focusing on one big thing, you may miss out on other financially or emotionally valuable assets.

Related Reading: How to File for Divorce in Oregon

What Are The Benefits Of Selling?

When deciding whether or not to sell your home during divorce, it’s important to do a quick cost-benefit analysis. In short, do the benefits outweigh the costs? Consider what you gain by keeping or selling the house.

Divorcing couples often want to make a clean break. Unloading a shared home, one with lots of emotional baggage certainly accomplishes this.

You also free yourself from a major financial burden. You may sell your home during divorce and make a tidy profit in the right circumstances. That helps offset some of the other costs or even helps start your new life on the right foot.

Related Reading: Common Financial Mistakes That Impact Divorce Proceedings

Do You Want To Live There?

A good question to ask before you sell your home during divorce or not is whether you even want to live there.

Lay out your reasons and determine if you really want the house or not.

Do you want the house simply to keep it from your soon-to-be-ex? Is the house too big for you? It’s important to be honest with yourself. It may be best to break ties and sell your home during the divorce and start over somewhere new.

There are plenty of legitimate reasons to want to stay in a residence. Maybe it’s your dream house or the only place you’ve ever felt truly at home. If it’s where you raised your kids, maybe you’re not ready to let those good memories go yet. Some people just hate moving.

But again, whatever the circumstances, it’s important to be aware of the whys.

Related Reading: Why Moving Out During Divorce Can Be A Big Mistake

Can You Afford to Keep the House?

Maintaining a house is expensive. With all of the financial changes you go through while ending a marriage, you have to consider whether or not you can realistically afford the cost.

Your tax status shifts and you may have child or spousal support payments. Those are all new monetary obligations. Add to that, you may have to pay the mortgage, property taxes, and bills from a single income for the first time.

As much as you want to remain, your financial situation may dictate otherwise. Once you examine the harsh economic realities, you may be better of if you move on.

It’s often difficult to let go and sell a home during divorce, but it’s also often the best choice. Don’t think of it as an end but as a beginning. Now you have the opportunity to start fresh and make new memories.

You can find a house that better fits your needs, move to a neighborhood where you’ve always wanted to live, or relax knowing there aren’t painful recollections lurking in every corner.

However it plays out, whether you sell or don’t, you have some big questions to answer.

Related Reading: What are the Grounds for Divorce in Oregon?

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