Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Divorce Real Estate

Going through a divorce can by a very traumatic experience. With ex's, kids, money, and real estate involved, it's no wonder that it's difficult to think straight. And that doesn't even include the pressure associated with the cause of the divorce. The real estate portion is what I’d like to focus on here today. There are so many items that come into play that it’s important to stay focused on MOVING FORWARD WITH MORE. Here’s the roadmap: Make sure you talk to your attorney and an RCS-D Realtor (Real Estate Collaboration Specialist – Divorce). If you agree to an MSA (Marital Separation Agreement) before you adequately assess the value of your home, you could be in for a big surprise. Ladies, it’s you who most often get the short end of the stick. Let me explain.

It is typically the ladies that are more emotionally attached to the home. If you have kids and they’re in school, you don’t want to move because you don’t want to add changing schools to the list of issues the kids will deal with. Very admirable. Often times, the attorney will suggest you do an appraisal in the home, subtract the mortgage and split the equity. There’s large risk to taking that approach. If you get an appraisal on your home, take that value and subtract the mortgage owed, that DOES NOT equal the remaining equity for you to split. Here’s why. An appraisal typically does not include value adjustments for the condition of your home. An appraiser is not a licensed inspector and cannot make a highly accurate assessment of the value. Let’s assume that you have a termite problem that you can’t see and an aged roof that’s about ready to give, but that you don’t know about because it hasn’t become a problem yet. Let’s also assume your toilet has a leak coming from the seal between the toilet and the floor that you can’t see. And under your bathroom tile, the leak has caused the subfloor to rot. By the way, these are things that many of the homeowners I work with are surprised to learn when we do inspections prior to putting their home on the market. Being an astute homeowner who takes good care of your home does not make you immune to the unknown. In this scenario, there are tens of thousands of dollars of repairs that will be needed sooner…or later. Whoever stays in the home gets stuck paying the bill. Oh, and we didn’t talk about closing costs. When you sell your home, there are closing costs that are paid. Often times, the unsuspecting remaining resident doesn’t consider that these costs will need to be paid when the home is ultimately sold and that it should be deducted from the equity before the money is split. Sometimes, as hard as it seems, it’s better to Move Forward with More. Right-size your residence to a rental if need be and stay in the same school district. Stay tuned for future recommendations.
- Gary Nobile RCS-D Realtor