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Shared Property: Working Together to Sell a Home

You’ve made the decision to sell your home. Now what? There are so many steps to consider including those involving the actual sale of your home. Divorce is a time filled with many decisions, which can be overwhelming.  Finding an agent to assist with these details is a great idea, as doing so will take many tasks off of you and your ex-spouse’s plates.

Once an agent is contracted, you’ll need to agree on an asking price for your home, make arrangements for showing the house to potential buyers, review offers and actually close on the sale of the home. Be prepared for lengthy discussions around each of these steps. It is important to have open and clear communication so as to clarify each party’s expectations. Some advice to consider:

  • Have a clear idea as to what your lowest agreeable selling price will be
  • Be clear as to when the house can and cannot be shown – document specific dates if necessary
  • Which one of you will be responsible for tasks throughout the process? Who will:
    • maintain the home’s appearance
    • get the house physically ready to show potential buyers
    • manage the home improvement or repair list
    • organize house related paperwork such as; warranties for appliances, user manuals, etc.
    • be the agent’s primary contact

Investing energy upfront to agree on these roles and responsibilities will make the process more organized, manageable and pleasant.

There are situations where the home has been used as collateral for mortgages, loans or debts. If this is the case, or if a lien has been applied to the home’s title, it is important to know this prior to putting the home on the market. In deciding financial responsibility and gains from the sale of a home, it is important to understand who owns these debts and the circumstances of how they were incurred.

Rhode Island is an equitable distribution state. This means that the court decides based on a number of factors how each spouse has contributed to the marriage. It is important to understand that this does not always end in a 50/50 split. Consult your lawyer to discuss your personal situation in order to get a clear understanding of how much you may be awarded financially from the sale of your home.