Selling Real Estate in a Divorce

If you are getting divorced, one of the most common questions that come up is what is going to happen with the real estate that you own. When you are in a high-conflict divorce, it can often seem impossible to agree and sell the property. Often, working with a special real estate commissioner can help.

Today, many couples own real estate. Each of the spouses might own property. Often, they will have homes that are owned jointly. The idea of parting with your home can be emotional for many people. It is another signifier that your life is changing, and it has the potential to cause a lot of conflict in a divorce. If people don’t agree on what to do with the home, it can raise a lot of fears. One of the spouses might worry that the other will never sell, or that they will trash the house. Maybe they worry that they won’t be able to sell the home because the other spouse is a hoarder and will not clean it up.

Real estate commissioners can help couples solve these types of real estate-related problems. They can be very helpful when one of the partners is not cooperating, as often happens. When this occurs, it typically means that the sale of the property will take far longer than it should, or that the sale might not progress at all.

The Basics of Property

Real estate is considered real physical property. This could be land or houses. It could be community property, or it could be separate property. Community property is shared equally. If it is separate property, meaning that only one spouse owns it, then the equity in the property will go to that separate property holder unless the mortgage for the property was paid with community funds. During the time the community funds were used to pay for the property, the equity upsurge for that period will be shared equally.

In many divorces today, there is at least some element of community property, meaning both parties will have some interest in the property. There are a few common options on what a person might do in these cases. They might try to refinance the home and buy the other person out, they might use other assets to buy the home from the other spouse, or they might sell the property.

Divorcing and Figuring Out What to Do with the Property

Often, one or both parties do not want to sell. When there is a disagreement, a real estate commissioner could be appointed by the court or stipulated to be agreed to by the parties. Although the process may work similarly to a typical real estate agent, commissioners will often act as an unofficial mediator. Some commissioners will create detailed documents regarding the property, which can help to keep the courts informed, and that can help to give the owners an idea of the value of the property.

This type of real estate transaction can be complicated, particularly when the two parties do not like one another. It can make it far more difficult to sell a home. Working with a real estate commissioner can help people to save money in attorney fees. They work on commission, so rather than having an attorney that is paid to resolve the real estate issues, it can be done via the commissioner.

What Can the Real Estate Commissioner Do?

Typically, a real estate commissioner will be brought in to resolve real estate issues after the divorce decree. However, in some instances, they will be brought in during the divorce.

The commissioner has a substantial amount of power, but the power is limited to the sale of the home. If the house is being sold and the buyer comes back with concessions, the real estate commissioner can make recommendations to the seller for things like repairs. They might recommend that certain repairs be made based on the condition of the home, for example. In some cases, the couple will not worry about repairs and say they are selling the home as-is. This could take longer to find a buyer, of course.

Although the commissioners are paid by commission, many orders will include a caveat. For example, if one party interferes with the process, causes trouble, or tries to delay the sale, the commission will be paid entirely from their portion of the proceeds of the sale. This doesn’t happen often, but it can occur. Having this information in the commissioner’s order helps to provide protection for the spouse that’s trying to get the sale done in a timely manner and with as little trouble as possible.

In a typical commissioner order, a commissioner will often have the right to increase their commission if there is bad behavior exhibited. This can help to protect the commissioner if they have to spend an inordinate amount of time and energy on the sale of the property, or if they have a lot of bad interactions with the couple.

Working with a Real Estate Commissioner

Going through a divorce is never easy. It’s made more difficult and emotional when it comes to getting rid of property where you have sentimental attachments. You remember the good times, the holidays, the meals, playing games, raising your children, etc. The idea of moving out of the home can be difficult for the children, as well. Getting rid of a home when divorcing can take a serious emotional toll. This is why so many drag their feet or cause problems when it comes time. Others might be trying to make life more difficult for their spouse. Regardless of what’s causing the problem, a real estate commissioner can help sort through the mess.

If you have other divorce issues that need to be addressed, it’s always a good idea to have a great family law attorney on your side. Find someone who is experienced in the field and who can provide you with the guidance and help you need through this difficult time.