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Considering everything you’re thinking, feeling, and dealing with when going through a divorce, one of the last things you want to think about is selling your house. It’s a stressful thing to do even when you’re not getting divorced. But when you are, it can be even more stressful.
While it shouldn’t affect how much you sell your house for, or how quickly it gets sold, it can cost you both time and money if you don’t pay attention to a few details. Some buyers may pick up on the cues and clues and use them to try and get a deal on your house because they sense desperation or motivation. Others may simply be turned off by the vibe and take a pass on your house, making it sit on the market longer than it would otherwise.
To help sell your house as quickly and profitably as possible, here are 7 things you want to avoid when selling your house due to divorce:
1) Half-empty closets
Plenty of people who are simply single and aren’t splitting with a significant other sell homes with closets filled only with their clothes. But it doesn’t usually look like someone else used to take up half the space in the closet. While the person who moves out doesn’t have to leave their wardrobe behind just for appearances, make an effort to stage the closet in a way that doesn’t look like someone else used to share the space.
2) Missing furniture
Buying new furniture isn’t always possible when going through a divorce. So it’s pretty common for the person moving out to take some furniture to get settled in their new home. If at all possible, try and keep the furnishings intact in the home until you get it sold. If that’s not possible, try and rearrange the remaining furniture in a way that doesn’t look like pieces are missing, or replace the missing pieces with something borrowed or inexpensive until the house sells.
3) Mattress on the floor
Another common sight agents see in homes that are being sold due to divorce are mattresses on the floor. If the bed frame went with the person who moved out, you don’t have to buy anything fancy, but at least get a cheap bed frame to get it up off the floor, or put some crates underneath and make sure the bedding hides them from sight.
4) A slept on couch
Sometimes the solution isn’t for one person to move entirely out of the house, but just out of the bedroom until the house is sold. If one of you is using the couch as a bed, just make sure to put away the pillows and blankets each morning. And also make sure that the coffee table doesn’t look like your nightstand!
5) Missing family pictures
Some agents advise everyone to strip their house of any personal photos when selling, even if they aren’t getting divorced. The thought is that it gives buyers a better chance at envisioning themselves in the home, rather than the existing owner. But when you’re selling due to a divorce, having pictures of your family, or worse, having pictures that don’t include one of the partners, can be a tip-off that something’s going on when combined with other clues they may pick up. So, to be safe, just replace family photos with some framed artwork instead.
6) Nasty notes
Emotions can run high during a divorce, and couples don’t always have it in them to speak face to face when they’re mad. Whether the couple is still living under the same roof, or one came by to pick something up, sometimes an angry note left on the table of fridge is the chosen method to say what’s on their mind. Just make sure they aren’t hanging around for buyers to see when they come to look at the house. Better yet, send a text.
7) Legal paperwork
Of course leaving any legal or other private documents out in the open when your house is on the market isn’t advisable. But it doesn’t even have to be the actual documentation that’s left out! Make sure you don’t have mail out in the open that indicates it’s from a divorce attorney.
Hopefully these tips will help you navigate the process of selling your house during a difficult time.
Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS The Hanley Home Team of Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners Southside 904-515-2479 HanleyHomeTeam.com