Personal Finance

Should you sell your home while going through a divorce?

A real estate broker says couples have three choices when deciding what to do with a home during a divorce.

Should you sell your home while going through a divorce?
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Going through a divorce is tough. It’s even more challenging if you have to sell your home at the same time.

But there are ways to do it without a lot of drama.

"Kristen," who asked that we not use her last name, is a mom of three school-age girls who recently went through a divorce.

"I didn't know what I was going to do," she told us. "I didn't know how I was going to provide for my girls."

Worse, she could not afford to stay in the home they made for their family over the past 10 years.

"'I'm not gonna lie, it felt like my world was crashing down," she said. "I was a stay-at-home mom."

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So what options do you have?

Bridget Potterton is a real estate broker and certified divorce real estate expert.

She says couples going through divorce have three options:

- Keep the home together. That, however, can be dangerous, as you co-own a property with your ex, which can lead to arguments or worse.

- You can buy out your spouse, depending on your financial situation. If you can afford it, this is usually the best situation, especially if you have young children.

- Sell the home, which is a safe but potentially expensive option.

"The interest rate that they're probably going to get next (7%) is probably going to be double what they have," Potterton said.

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She says a big mistake is rushing things and selling the home as is and not making minor updates like you would during a typical sale. You won't get the best price.

"It is really in everybody's best interest to make sure that they do put themselves in a position of being able to get as much money as possible," she said.

And she says there’s a huge benefit to hiring someone with expertise in this field. 

Kristen says that, as tough as the divorce and home sale were, she is better off now.

"I had to learn how to live a whole different life," she said. "Now I work full time and have a condo."

She advises others in this situation to avoid being afraid to ask for help.

"I made sure I leaned on them anytime they reached out to me and asked if I needed anything," she said.