Image_Of_Man_And_Woman_in_Profil_With_Text_Overlaid_Reading_Selling_Your_Home_During_Divorce

Dealing with Separation or Possible Divorce? These Steps Will Save You Money & Aggravation When Selling Your Home

Any couple who finds themselves in the unfortunate position of separating or divorcing faces a multitude of difficulties, so taking the aggravation out of handling the sale of the mutual home can be a major factor in cutting out stress. Most ex-couples have enough to worry about already without that addition of even more legal and financial costs. 

Why People Sell Their Property In A Separation or Divorce Situation

Before we dive into the steps you can take to minimize aggravation from real estate while dealing with divorce or separation, it’s worth taking a moment to cover why many couples end up selling. 

For most couples, it comes down to personal reasons for selling, since the Globe & Mail reported that for most couples in Toronto a separation comes with big financial consequences

Emotional Considerations When Selling Your Home When Dealing With Separation Or Divorce

Divorce is an emotional time regardless of the reasons for the separation. These emotions can play a big role in the decision to sell the home, especially if there are years of memories in the family home where children were raised. Maybe the couple has customized the home just how they like it and neither want to leave behind all of the efforts which went into those renovations. 

These sentimental attachments can go either way. They may foster attachment and leave both ex-partners wanting to stay. Conversely, they can have both ex-partners wanting to move out as soon as possible to avoid bringing up old memories. Both partner’s preferences may not match up and lead to difficulties in deciding what to do with the property. 

Deciding whether you want to stay or go takes a great deal of thought and requires some honest conversation. It isn’t a decision which should be undertaken lightly, and both parties should consider not only what they think in the present but also how their feelings may change in the future. 

Living in the home you shared during your marriage may not be what you thought it would be after the divorce. 

Financial Considerations When Selling Your Home After Divorce

When it comes to selling your home after divorce, one of the greatest financial considerations is not only who bought the house buy who will pay for it. Assuming you bought the house together with your ex-spouse it’s likely you were working together to make payments. When people buy a house together, they typically buy a house which requires both partners’ salaries to pay for it. 

Since you are presumably losing half of the household income following the divorce, it’s not hard to see how paying the mortgage, property taxes, insurance, and the maintenance costs can become daunting, if not completely impossible. That’s not saying anything about the time and energy a homeowner must invest into maintaining and managing the house properly.

Stay or Separate For The Sale?

Staying together to sell is not always an option, particularly if the separation is not on the best terms. Remaining a married couple over the course of the home sale is too much stress for some to bear if they simply want to get the separation over with. 

Of course getting your home sold in the right time frame for top dollar value can be made possible with the help of an experienced real estate agent. Starting with a home evaluation is a good place to start because it will help you determine how much you can expect to get for the home sale. Working with an experienced Realtor will help you navigate the best way to get the most money out of the sale of your property. It is very important that you proceed wisely since it is typically the largest asset for most and since you will be on one salary going forward there can be many factors eroding your bottom line.

Now that we’ve covered the general considerations you should be aware of when you are selling your property after or during a divorce or separation we can get into the steps of the home-selling process and how to handle them to minimize aggravation and maximize profit. 

Step 1: Understand the Law

Before you hire a Toronto & GTA real estate agent or get a home evaluation, consider learning the laws separation and divorce.

Regardless of the circumstances of your divorce or separation, whether amicable or not, understanding the divorce law is sure to leave everyone better off. As an Ontario Real Estate Team we will cover the Ontario Divorce Laws, but readers outside of the Province of Ontario should do their due diligence and research the local separation laws in their locale. 

At the very least, understanding the laws will make the process of selling your home go more smoothly and save potential legal fees. At worst, it will give you an advantage when it comes time to get a lawyer involved if you have a basic understanding of where you stand in the eyes of the law. 

Real Estate and Divorce Law in Ontario

In Ontario, both parties have an equal right to stay in the home during a divorce, at least until a separation agreement or other settlement is made. 

One of the questions which divorce couples ask regarding their shared real estate is whether one can change the locks on the other. Under current Ontario law and the Family Law Act, the answer is no, unless there are special circumstances:

  • If you have a court order which establishes exclusive possession of the matrimonial home pending a family trial, you can take exclusive ownership until the trial. 
  • The two parties have made a separation agreement which details which spouse has exclusive ownership. 

In most cases, both spouses have equal rights to occupy the property until they reach a resolution about the possession of the home, it’s rarely easy for couples to continue living together following a separation. 

However, the Globe & Mail reports that regardless of the difficulty posed by a cohabitation situation post divorce, some couples will, in fact, continue living together. They often end up occupying different parts of the house but continue to live together either not to relinquish something to the ex-partner or because they would otherwise be unable to afford to buy a house in Toronto. 

In many cases, a great Toronto & GTA real estate agent who has the experience and market insights to provide truly personalized service can help one spouse find the house that’s right for them. 

Step 2: Make Arrangements Before You Separate

The old adage that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure rings true in the case of avoiding aggravation when selling your home after divorce. 

There are a few measures one can take before separating or getting a divorce to reduce aggravation during the home sale. The most impactful is a prenuptial agreement which clearly outlines who will be entitled to what should the marriage dissolve. This type of agreement enables the homeowner(s) to go straight to choosing the best Toronto & GTA realtor for them.

When you are getting separated and don’t have a pre-existing agreement in place you can opt for a separation agreement. A separation agreement is a legally binding contract which details who gets what when it comes to different marital assets. 

Step 3: Answer Important Questions When It’s Time to Sell Your Home During A Divorce

There are countless questions to answer regarding the home sale alone when you are separating, so having answers to the biggest ones ahead of time can save misunderstandings and conflict later on. 

It is advisable to prepare for these decisions by consulting with your divorce attorney. Your divorce attorney will help you determine where you stand with regard to the law and how to handle the negotiations to keep your priorities in line. Be sure to consult your attorney before the final decision.

The home selling process is long and complex even with a good real estate agent. You can use our Toronto home seller’s checklist to keep yourself organized and maximize your chances of selling for a great price in the timeframe that works for you.

Decide Who Gets What

Determining how to split up the proceeds from the sale of your home after divorce or separation is a personal decision that has no right answer. The best way to avoid aggravation is to prepare by reaching a separation agreement which details how the real estate will be divided. Hire a lawyer if you want legal guidance or assistance determining what you are due. 

Couples who aren’t on the best terms can benefit from getting a mediator to help them with communications and drafting the document. A mediator can be a friend or family member but there are professional options available as well. Knowing when to get a mediator is a personal decision. 

If you need to know how much potential profit you’re looking at from selling your home post divorce you can get a free home evaluation to find out what your home in Toronto is worth.

Will Someone Continue Living In The Home?

Separated couples who live in large cities like Toronto may have a difficult time relocating after the separation. With many couples depending on the combined household income to pay the mortgage and maintenance cost, some decide to continue cohabitating instead of downsizing their living situation.

Deciding who claims which room is a prudent course of action for couples cohabitating after separation. In cases where one person stays in the home and the other leaves it’s important to outline specific details of ownership in the separation agreement. 

Does The House Need Work Before It Is Put On The Market?

Getting top dollar value for your home sale is important regardless of whether you are separated. Making improvements, renovations, updates, or simply preparing your home for sale often takes an investment.

Who will handle the bill? Who will decide which changes to make and decide how they will be carried out? Your real estate agent may be able to guide you when it comes to renovations and the best way to carry them out, but the decisions will be up to you and your ex-spouse. 

Which Party Will Be Responsible For The Sale of The Home?

You may find that for purposes of convenience it might be helpful to outline each person’s responsibilities, even if they are shared equally. The arrangement you reach really depends on your personal circumstances. 

Couples who are parting amicably may trust all responsibility to one of the partners while others aren’t comfortable unless they are a part of every decision and interaction. If you are concerned with your involvement you can consult your lawyer or outline your demands in the separation agreement. 

Step 4: Choosing A Real Estate Agent

Choosing a real estate agent to sell your home after divorce is an important consideration regardless of the agreement you reach. A good real estate agent is more likely to get you top dollar value for the home and leave more profit to divide regardless of the reason for the sale. 

Working with a real estate agent also offers the added advantage of having an impartial 3rd party working on your behalf. That way any personal tensions between you and your soon-to-be ex spouse will stay personal and not interfere with business. 

All Ontario real estate agents are required to do what is in their clients’ best interest as part of their Code of Ethics. This legal requirement is taken seriously and enforced by the Real Estate Council of Ontario (R.E.C.O.). This requirement is consistent throughout most jurisdictions so you can stay at ease knowing your real estate transaction is being handled by an impartial party.

An experienced real estate agent can also take the stress out of selling because an agent handles all aspects of the sales process. Everything from evaluating the value of the home to considering offers and providing guidance, a good Toronto & GTA real estate agent will take on a great deal of additional work and stress which can come with selling a home. You can trust your agent’s advice and concentrate on the demands of your separation.

When it comes time to make a joint decision about the home sale with your spouse, your real estate agent can also serve as an impartial mediator who takes the personal issues out of what is fundamentally a business decision. You and your ex-spouse might have different ideas about selling and an agent can ground your discussion in experience and market insights. 

If you are considering selling your home in Toronto & The GTA Frank Leo & Associates are available to answer your real estate questions. You can contact us or take advantage of our free home evaluation at any time. We’ve been serving the Toronto & GTA real estate market for over 3 decades and have helped 1,000’s of people buy and sell homes in the region.

Step 5: Agreeing To A Selling Price

Once you’ve settled on the details, reached an agreement about who will handle the real estate sale, and have a real estate agent advertising your home you can start the negotiations about accepting offers. 

If your real estate agent has evaluated your home’s value accurately you most likely already have an idea of how much you will get for your home. The difficulty may arrive when you must work together with the ex-spouse to settle on a selling price. 

Most separated couples face the dilemma of wanting to sell quickly to minimize interaction without taking a loss for the property. You may find yourself in a situation where one person wants to accept a price and the other wants to hold out. 

The additional financial stress of a divorce or separation can add additional pressure on those who may be depending on the money from the home sale to sustain the cost of the divorce.

So how do separated couples overcome these challenges and agree on a selling price that makes everyone happy? Working with your real estate agent is a good place to start.

An experienced realtor will be able to help you sell your property for a higher price and leave everyone satisfied with the result. Frank Leo & Associates, for example, have helped sell real estate in Toronto for over $1 million over the asking price

Evaluating & Negotiation The Offer On Your Home

Home buyers who are prepared to buy your home will make a written offer to purchase the home via your real estate agent. At this point your real estate agent will review the offer with you and walk you through the contract in order to decide whether to take it. 

If the price meets your asking price or there are competing offers which push the price above asking price, everyone will be happy. It’s typically when the offers don’t meet your minimum requirements that difficulties begin. 

Regardless what starts the disagreement about accepting & negotiating an offer, there are a few ways to overcome the challenge. The first and most simple option is to lean on your real estate agent as the voice of reason. Your real estate agent’s recommendation may be enough to get your spouse to accept the buyer’s offer.

Passing on the offer in hopes of getting a better one or investing in improvements to boost appeal are also both viable options, within reason. The divorce or separation might make these options less appealing but they can work out in some cases. 

The hardest situation to overcome is when an ex-spouse is unreasonably selective about accepting offers or negotiating the price. If difficulties persist and you or your agent suspect they might jeopardize the sale of your home it may be worth considering a professional mediator or legal assistance. 

Step 6: Splitting The Profit From The Home Sale

If you’ve already reached a separation agreement the matter of splitting the profit from a house you’ve sold during divorce will all be prearranged. Deciding how to divide the profit well before you sell your home is the best course of action to avoid aggravation. It may also help you maximize income from your home sale by allowing everyone involved in the home sale to concentrate on selling the home.

Important Final Word Of Wisdom

Of course, in reality, most couples who sell a home after or during a divorce or separation will not have a predetermined plan in place. Reaching an agreement among themselves is the option which leaves the most money in the pockets of both parties. It can be very difficult emotionally during this stressful time. It is important that all parties understand how the law works but it is typically divided equally. If the couple is having disagreements it is wise that they agree to get the property sold for the most money amicably and have the funds held in trust until they can agree as to how they should be divided. The reason for this suggestion is that it will avoid the potential for losing many thousands fighting while bills mount. If there is a disagreement as to who will pay the taxes, mortgage, repairs and any other costs associated with the property? This will lead to overdue payments, interest and penalty charges and even may affect your credit rating. These consequences can avoided by agreeing to do everthing to get the property sold asap and have more money held in trust for you once you decide on how it should be divided. When this isn’t possible it may be necessary to get lawyers involved. Just be aware that the amount you will be left with could be substantially less.

Each partner’s financial situation and the details of the divorce may play a role in how much equity they are awarded. One thing which is certain is that the cost of settling in court will eat into the profit from the sale of the home quite quickly. 

Contact us today or get started working with the Frank Leo & Associates team by signing up for a FREE, no-obligation property evaluation

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When Selling Your Home, Trust the Advice That Frank Leo, The #1 RE/MAX Agent in the World, Has Learned Over 3 Decades of Experience Selling Billions of Dollars Worth of Properties in Toronto & The GTA

If you’re considering selling your home in Toronto, the first impression it makes on a potential buyer can make or break the sale. Whether they see an MLS listing for your home or pass it on the street, it has to draw them in and make them wish they lived there.

According to a 2011 analysis by the Real Estate Staging Association, homes which were properly presented when being put on the market were likely to sell 79% faster than those which were not.  

Preparing your home can not only help you attract the right buyer and close the sale, but get top value for your property. Proper staging requires knowledge, experience, insight into the market, and a bit of creativity.

It’s about more than cleaning the house and putting away family photos. Preparing a house for sale in the GTA requires an understanding of the home’s value, the market you want to sell your home in, and the pool of buyers you will be selling to. It’s the kind of specialized knowledge that few people other than experienced real estate professionals have.

Preparing a Home for Listing, Not for an Open House

Although most people think that a home is staged for an open house, at Frank Leo & Associates we do things differently.

We don’t think you should have strangers walking through your home so we avoid doing open houses.

Instead, we provide buyers with information about your home on the Toronto & GTA Home Listings page of our website.

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This approach is part of the innovative marketing strategy that has made Frank Leo the #1 RE/MAX Agent in the World.

It’s with this core value of putting you first that we will prepare your home for sale in Toronto & The GTA. Now let’s get down to what to avoid when staging your home to entice buyers and help get your home sold for top dollar value.

For most people, step one will be getting help from a real estate professional.

Professional Home Staging in Toronto & The GTA

Although being involved with the preparation  process as a seller can be productive, the real estate team should be driving the operation and making decisions.

A real estate agent who understands the property’s value and selling points is ideally situated to leverage them and sell the property for top dollar. A good Toronto Real Estate Agent will know the market, the buyer, and how to reach them.

Know Your Audience When Selling Your Home in The GTA

Prepping  a home is marketing the home, and that’s what real estate agents do best. While some people choose to sell independently and have success taking this route, in a market as competitive as Toronto hiring a realtor is a quick way to get insights into your potential buyers that can increase your chance of selling for top dollar.

If you’re looking for a Toronto realtor to stage and sell your property, Frank Leo has 3 decades of experience selling 1000’s of homes and will do the same for you, Guaranteed. Find out Frank Leo’s net worth as a realtor for yourself. Contact Frank Leo today to get started.

Once you’ve decided whether or not you will enlist the help of a realtor to sell your home in Toronto, it’s time to move on to the staging itself.  

Avoid Over-Staging the House For Sale in Toronto

By getting your home show ready we can get it sold for a better value, over-doing it can potentially be a detriment to the home sale and lose you dollars on the final price. It is possible to over-stage a house.

Avoiding over-staging comes down to keeping décor tame but interesting and being tasteful with choices. Don’t decorate too much or focus too much on one element. Instead, blend together each aspect of the home’s décor into a cohesive whole.

Don’t Under-Stage If You Are Selling Your Home in Toronto

Potential buyers should step into your property and see it as a blank slate for their home. If it looks fake and uninviting, it’s going to be difficult for them to imagine themselves in it.

Placing fake plants, bowls of fruit, food, or other “staging” items into your home can prevent buyers from feeling comfortable in it.

Make Sure You Are Staging Your Home For Sale in Toronto To Scale

Most people like living in spacious accommodations, so it may seem like a good idea to use smaller items and furniture throughout a home in order to give the illusion of more living space.

Using this tactic can actually dwarf the home and turn buyers off. Potentially making home staging mistakes like dwarfing a room is one of the many reasons why you shouldn’t stage a home for sale by yourself.

Furniture and accessories should match their space in both scale and proportion. For example, a small family room won’t benefit from having small furniture to make it look more spacious. You should embrace the space and instead make it look cozy.

Interior Design is A Crucial Component of Staging Your Home for Sale in Toronto

Design plays a big role in staging your home for sale in Toronto. If your home is the artwork on display, the design is the frame which accents its presentation. When done right, design can work wonders in winning over buyers and getting your home sold for top dollar in Toronto.

With that said, here are some tips to make sure your interior design contributes to your home staging when you’re selling your home in Toronto.

  • Don’t “Overdesign.” The trick with interior design when you’re staging and selling your home in Toronto is to create a feeling of subtlety and nuance – not bold, in-your-face décor. The interior design should accentuate the features of your home, not overshadow them. After all, it’s the home you are selling and not the décor.
  • Use Neutral Colours on the Walls and Avoid Custom Wallpapers. As a homeowner, it’s normal to want to decorate your space to your tastes. Using bold colours or exciting patterns on the walls can be fun, but there’s no place for this type of expression in a home that’s on the market. Your tastes are not necessarily your buyers’. Use neutral colours to appeal to a wider range of potential buyers.
  • Don’t Leave the House Feeling Empty. Removing clutter is good, but taking it too far by removing too much in terms of interior décor will leave the house feeling empty and cold. That’s definitely not the feeling you want to evoke in people if you’re trying to make them feel at home. Strike a balance between maximizing sense of space while creating a sense of presence in each room.
  • Avoid Personalizing the Décor. As with the walls, the rest of the home’s interior design should be neutral and contemporary. If you’ve personalized your home’s interior or done certain rooms in specific styles, you should do your best to make them as neutral as possible. Give your buyers a blank slate and let their imaginations run wild.
  • Beware of Bad Paint Jobs. Whether it’s on the interior or exterior, whether it’s window trim or a baseboard, old and chipped paint gives the impression that the home is not looked after. Even subtle details can turn buyers off. If you need to repaint make sure to use warm and neutral colours.
  • Keep Colour Palette in Mind. Although it makes sense to choose neutral colours when staging your home for sale in Toronto, that doesn’t mean the colour palette should be uniform. If everything matches, it becomes bland and uninteresting. Use subtle contrast to accentuate features of the house which are selling points and invite the eyes to get excited when taking in a room.
  • Don’t Be Too Neutral. Although you should avoid being too bold, being too bland will make it difficult for the house to make an impression on the buyer. Consider adding a splash of unique appeal to rooms to make them stand out from one another, and from other houses for sale in Toronto.

Keep Surfaces Clear

Surfaces up to 5 feet in length should be kept clear of clutter. Larger surfaces can do with having some items left on them so they don’t look bare.

Although placing décorative vases, books, or other props on tables could seem to add flare to a room, it’s also potentially distracting from what should be the main focus – the property you’re selling. Let your buyer’s eyes flow across the room, interruption free.

Keep Personal Belongings Stored Away When Staging Your Home for Sale in Toronto

Minimize the number of personal items and memorabilia you have on display. Family photos and other heirlooms are some of the most distracting items you can have in your home when showing it to potential buyers.

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Each personal item is another reminder to the buyer that they are in someone else’s space. You want buyers to feel comfortable and at ease, so take any family photos, heirlooms, or even unique furniture to your next place or put them in storage while the house is on the market.

Aside from family photos, too much art on the walls can also make the home reflect a particular style or taste. A few plain pieces here or there are fine, but over-doing it runs the risk of making the space seem like an art gallery than a home for sale in Toronto.

Avoid Blocking a Home’s Best Selling Features

Knowing where to place furniture and other elements of décor is just as important as the items themselves. It’s important to make sure none of your furniture or elements of décore are blocking a home’s architectural selling features. These can include windows, fireplaces, floors, and more.

For example, one home feature which can really draw a buyer’s attention and appreciation is a bay window. They bring in light and often open onto a gorgeous view, so keeping them covered by curtains or obscured by furniture really detracts from the buyer’s impression of the space.

Make Sure Carpets Are Looking Their Best

If the property you are selling has carpeting, it should be new or at least recently cleaned. Carpets retain smells and stains and can be a real turn off to buyers because they can indicate that the home has not been well maintained.

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Wall-to-wall carpeting needs to be cleaned by a professional or replaced. You can also remove a small area of a carpet to check what type of flooring is underneath. If the original floor is nicer than the carpet then you’ve saved yourself a cleaning bill. You can tear up the carpet and just add a fresh area rug to give the room a sense of presence.

Hardwood floors which are completely bare can make the furniture seem out of place or give the room a sense of being unfinished. Throwing a rug under an armchair or coffee table can go a long way to make a room seem more inviting.

Curb Appeal Is Important

Aside from seeing an MLS Listing for a home for sale in Toronto, the first impression a home makes on a potential buyer is the curb appeal. Before even entering the property, buyers have already formed an opinion.

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Whether it’s the driveway, the front door, or the landscaping in the front yard, exterior elements are just as important as the interior of the home. First impressions make a big impact, so investing in livening up the curb appeal of a property can really pay off in the final sale price of the home.

Don’t Leave Selling Your Home in Toronto to Chance

Staging a home for sale in Toronto isn’t easy and requires an expert understanding of market conditions, potential buyers, and more. Although some people choose to stage independently, hiring a seasoned real estate agent will help you get top dollar value when selling your home in Toronto.

Frank Leo has 3 decades of experience selling homes in the Toronto real estate market and has sold 1000’s of homes in the city. He can do the same for you with our Guaranteed Home Selling System. Frank Leo’s Net Worth as a Realtor is proven by his consistent results in Toronto & The GTA.

Contact Frank Leo to learn more and sell your home in Toronto to the right buyer for the right price.

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