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Selling After a Divorce: What You Need to Know



If you’re currently going through a divorce, we feel for you. Divorce is an incredibly difficult time of transition, and not just from an emotional perspective. When a marriage ends, the sheer volume of financial and legal logistics that come with the process can feel outright overwhelming. 

As a real estate team with decades of experience, we’ve helped countless Torontonians through virtually every kind of major life change – including divorce. It’s our goal to make the already emotional process as easy and stress-free as possible for our clients. 

We’ve put together a simplified look at what you can expect from the process of selling your home after a divorce. Including the different options for selling, important legal considerations, finding the right real estate agent, and more. 

When to Start the Selling Process

While you may be hoping to get through the selling process as quickly as possible, there are a lot of moving parts that need to fall into place before everything is wrapped up. 

Let’s start at the beginning. Before you can proceed with your home sale you’ll need to complete a separation agreement. This is a legally binding document that informs the court that you and your former partner intend to get divorced. Signed by both parties, separation agreements cover a lot of essential information such as custody agreements, child support, and/or spousal support. Legally speaking, you won’t be able to begin the selling process until this step is completed. 

Next, you and your former partner will need to decide what you want to do with the home. There are a few options for how you can proceed, but it will mainly come down to whether or not one of you would like to stay there. If you’ve already come to an agreement – that’s great. If not, you’ll want to look at each of the options closely. 

Looking for more general resources about selling your home? Explore these helpful blog posts. 

Working With a Real Estate Agent

Just like any home sale, the best approach to selling after a divorce is working with an expert. You and your former partner may already have a trusted real estate agent who you’re comfortable working with. If not, it’s important to consider the unique nature of divorce sales when searching for an agent to hire. 

Beyond the traditional facets of a home sale, such as preparations, pricing, and marketing, selling after a divorce involves a variety of new considerations. The good news is that there are agents who specialize in supporting clients through the divorce process. 

At Smith Proulx, we offer a client-first approach to selling. With years of experience helping clients navigate the complex process of selling after a divorce, our services are compassionate, empathetic, and backed by first-class expertise and listing strategies. Whether you need market insights, help navigating important documents, or a few last-minute moving boxes, we’re here for you from start to finish. 

Split Proceeds Sale

In some cases, divorcing couples will choose to simply sell their home on the market, divide up the return, and move forward individually. In some ways a split proceeds sale is easier than one partner buying out the other, however, there are still plenty of variables to consider. 

If you and your former partner choose to sell the home, the primary outcome of the sale will be up to the market. Ideally, it will sell quickly and for a great price, but that’s easier said than done. In Toronto, real estate trends can change week-by-week, so ensuring the sale goes well will require a thoughtful approach. 

This is another reason why choosing the right real estate agent is so important. Not only will a great agent help you navigate the special considerations that come with selling during a divorce, but their overall approach to selling will directly impact your returns. 

Want to learn more about how choosing the right agent can give you a massive home selling advantage? Click here to discover our genuine, results-oriented selling process. 

Partner Buyouts

While selling the matrimonial home allows both parties to start fresh, in some cases, one partner will choose to stay while the other moves out. This is most common amongst couples who have children, with the primary custody parent keeping the home. That being said, either partner is eligible to keep the home as long as both parties agree on it. 

This process is fairly different from a joint sale. Rather than entering the housing market, one partner buys out the other from the mortgage, effectively purchasing their share of the home. For the partner staying put, they take on the remaining mortgage with the addition of their former partner’s equity. 

Here’s where things can get a little more complex. In West Toronto, most homes purchased in the last 15 years have significantly increased in value. If you intended on buying out your former partner, you’ll need to account for gained equity and the current market value of the home. An accurate market valuation is usually provided by both parties’ real estate agents. However, you and your former partner will need to agree on the final number.  

Starting a new chapter in your life? Check out a few of our blog posts tailored to transitional buyers. 

Looking for a compassionate local team who can help you be successful in your home sale? We’re here for you. Send us an email.

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