Selling a House During Divorce: What to Know
When going through the emotional stress of a divorce, a home sale might be the last thing on your mind. But given the financial implications of a divorce, deciding how you and your soon to be former partner will divvy up assets — particularly your house — is something that needs to be considered.
In this month’s post, we’ll take a look at what you need to know about selling your home during a divorce (and how selling to a cash buyer is a great option).
How are assets divided during a divorce in Oregon?
If you and your partner are planning on filing for divorce, there will likely be a division of assets and property.
Oregon is an “equitable distribution” state, meaning that all assets and property belonging to the marriage, also known as community property, will be split equitably.
Community property includes:
- All earnings by either partner during the marriage
- All assets or property purchased with the funds earned during the marriage
- All debts incurred during the marriage, unless the debt was backed by personal property
- Homes purchased completely with community funds
Personal assets are not assets that will be automatically subject to equitable distribution and include:
- Gifts or inheritances given specifically a one spouse
- Personal injury or other settlements awarded to one spouse
- Proceeds of a vested pension (if the pension vested during marriage it counts as a community asset)
- Business owned by one spouse prior to marriage, though if the business increased in value or worked on by the other spouse it could be considered a community asset
- A home purchased completely prior to marriage
Mixing personal property with community funds
While the division of personal and community property seems clear cut, there are situations that can cause issues. For instance, many partners going through a divorce assume that every piece of property they owned when the marriage began would automatically revert back to them.
Personal property generally becomes community property with inclusion of any community funds being used to pay for it.
This could mean:
- Mortgage or debt payments made from community funds
- Repairs or remodels with community funds
For assets that are considered community property, the assets will be distributed “equitably” and “fairly.” While many people take this to mean that all assets will be divided exactly equally, this is not the case.
Equitable distribution simply means that they’ll be split up in a fair way.
While this is easy with cash, with physical items like homes, equitable distribution becomes tricky and unclear. This means one partner may end up with more property if the division is deemed equitable by the courts.
This means that cash assets are a lot easier to divvy up during a divorce than a non-cash asset such as a home.
Should I sell my home if I’m getting a divorce?
Given the complexity of splitting up non-cash assets during divorce proceedings in Oregon, selling your home can help save you lots of trouble.
If you keep your home, you’ll have to figure out how it will be divided among your other community assets. Since your home is likely your most valuable community asset, this may result in a situation where one person is getting the home and another is getting everything else. This is not ideal.
Unless there is an emotional attachment or logistical reason for keeping the home, it might be a good idea to sell your home before things get messy.
When during the divorce should I sell my home?
Even once you’ve decided selling your home will make things easier on your divorce, deciding when to sell can be a tough decision.
Considerations to make include:
- Childcare: Do you and your partner have children? If so, ensuring a stable home should be a priority.
- Separation: Are you and your partner currently separated? If so, can one partner reasonably afford mortgage payments on their own?
- Is the split amicable?: If the split is not amicable, deciding who lives in the home will cause issues in itself.
When selling your home as part of divorce proceedings, you need to decide whether you want to sell your home before, during, or after the divorce.
Advantages to selling your home before your divorce include:
- Infusion of cash into your pool of community assets that can easily be divided equally or offset other assets in a clear way
- Saving money, as you won’t have to spend as much on a lawyer to mediate splitting up community property
- The ability to write off $500k from taxes instead of only $250k, which is the maximum write off for a single adult
Selling your home the old fashioned way
When you sell your home through a real estate agent or broker, you’ll be dealing with a long process with many steps. When going through this process, you’ll have to:
- Fix and repair any issues with your home
- Find a broker or agent you trust
- Manage your time and ensure you’re not in the home when potential buyers visit the home
- Keep constant attention on the listing and adjust price accordingly
- Handle the stress of selling your home during an already stressful period of your life
Selling your home to a real estate investor
If you want to keep the process simple, consider selling your home to a Portland real estate investor.
Particularly when selling your home during a divorce, a speedy process should be highly valued. With a real estate investor, you will get just that.
When working with a real estate investor like Columbia Redevelopment, you could even have a cash offer for your home within 2-3 days.
Benefits of selling your home to a real estate investor include:
- Immediate cash and a more equitable division: Not only will you get a fast offer, it will be 100% in cash. This will make navigating equitable division of property much easier. It also means you won’t have to go back and forth with multiple potential buyers, working with your partner to find the exact right offer.
- Flexibility: Many real estate investors allow for you to stay in the home a little longer while you find a new place post-divorce through a lease-back agreement.
- No remodeling or home cleaning necessary: Real estate investors are happy to buy your home as is — this means you and your partner don’t have to spend time figuring out how to fix and finance home improvements.
- No commissions: With a real estate investor, you won’t have to pay a real estate agent or broker any fees. Nor will you have to pay a lawyer to decide how to divvy up the value of your home in an equitable division mediation. This leaves more money for both of you once the divorce has been finalized.
Clean up your divorce with a Portland Real Estate Developer
At Columbia Redevelopment, we can help make divorce proceedings easier on you and your family. We have years of experience in the Portland area buying homes for cash. We buy homes just like yours without any fees or inspections and work hard to improve the homes we buy and neighborhoods we invest in.
If you have any questions or are interested in getting a cash offer for your home, feel free to give us a call at (503) 406-9874. We’d love to chat about what we can do for you!