Like a divorce appraisal, a divorce listing is unique. It requires a different level of care, support, and understanding.
A realtor who specializes in divorce circumstances should do everything possible to make the clients’ life easier, less stressful, and help them move forward into the next phase of their life.
We know there are thousands of real estate agents in Oregon. Wouldn’t it make sense to work with one that specializes in divorce? We work with attorneys every day, really getting the ins and outs and really understanding the process.
There are different skills, unique strategies, and specific knowledge, which don’t apply in a typical real estate transaction, yet are applicable and critical to successfully serving clients in divorce situations.
Most often the client is not aware of the many complexities involved in completing a successful real estate transaction and ensuring that the entire process is a smooth, safe, and profitable experience.
So, how is the real estate process different in divorce situations vs. ordinary circumstances?
More Due Diligence
Compassion & Understanding
Power Team & Connections
For many people, the marital home represents the bulk of their assets and it is usually their single largest asset. Deciding what to do with the marital home typically has both long and short term consequences for both parties. Making sure that you consider all the potential impacts before deciding what to do, starts with finding a realtor to work with.
That shouldn’t be difficult – most people have at least one friend who is a real estate agent, but using your friend may be the first mistake you make. You need to find a realtor who is knowledgeable about the complications that can come with divorce.
Ready to start searching for a new home?
Your Agent Must Have Divorce Experience
When I say divorce experience, it doesn’t have to be their own but you do want someone who is familiar with the divorce process. That understanding means they’ll be aware of deadlines and also events, such as a court appearance or a filing deadline, that may be emotional triggers when calling you for a decision would not be good timing.
You want someone who is comfortable with talking about divorce and understands that the marital home, is a business transaction. They’ll guide you through the tough conversations that need to happen rationally and without bias.
Your Agent Must Be Neutral
As a married couple, you and your spouse are a single entity. Your interests are aligned. So when you’re working with a Realtor as a married couple, the Realtor is representing your interests as a couple. Divorce changes that. While you may still be legally married, your interests may no longer be aligned with your soon to be ex. This is particularly true if one of you is keeping the marital home but can also be true when the home is being sold.
Your chosen Realtor must be a neutral third party. Their job is less about building a relationship and more about the transaction.
Both Parties Have to Sign with The Agent
If you are selling your home, then both you and your ex will have to sign the listing contract with the agent and that means that one way or another, you’re both going to have to agree on the agent you choose. Sometimes that means one party deferring to the other or both parties voluntarily coming to an agreement. In more contentious situations, it can mean the parties’ respective attorneys negotiating it. If you and your ex are not able to agree on the choice of an agent, that’s a red flag to the agent. The question they’ll be asking is, “If they can’t agree on me, how are they ever going to resolve items that come up on inspection?”
Communications Must Be Transparent
One of the skill sets that comes with being comfortable around divorcing couples, is open communication. To maintain their neutrality, your Realtor must be sure to share the same information with both you and your ex. For example, if your ex asks a question by phone to the Realtor, then the Realtor might not only discuss it over the phone but may also send an email to both of you recording the conversation. Peggy Spiro says she never assumes that one party is going to tell the other and her standard practice is to communicate everything in writing to both parties. This can be more time-consuming for your agent than working with a married couple where the presumption is that whatever is said to one party is shared with other. This is one reason why some agents won’t work with divorcing couples.
Understand How the Agent Is Paid
If you’re selling your home, then typically the agent will receive commission from the sale of your home and is paid from the sale proceeds. That’s disclosed in the agreement upfront. If the house isn’t being sold, or you’re trying to decide if you should stay or go, then you may be working with the Realtor on a valuation, such as a Broker Price Opinion. Some agents will charge a fee for this while others may provide it at no cost, in the hopes of securing the listing if you decide to sell the house.
You Don’t Have to Use Your Friend
As a Divorce Real Estate Specialist, I have connections to the BEST professionals in town, offering various support geared specifically for people getting divorced. I can recommend:
- Matrimonial Lawyers
- Financial Planners
- Debt Consultants
- Therapists & Psychologists
- Life Coaches
- Professional Organizers
- Insurance Advisors
- and much more…
All offering the highest level of service, expertise, and integrity, along with compassion, and understanding what clients going through divorce are thinking, feeling, and need.
Best of all, when you have Bernhardt SwisstTrust to represent you in the selling of your property, the certified appraisal analysis provided for you will be completely FREE. You get the best of both worlds when you hire us, a licensed broker and state certified appraiser representing your interests during the sale of your home.
As a divorce real estate specialist, it seems only natural to me that if I genuinely care about what my clients are going through, and I remain compassionate, understanding, supportive, and I do everything possible to help them deal with what they need to deal with, then the process of selling the matrimonial home, and finding a new place to live, will become a much smoother, better, less stressful, and more successful process for everyone.
If you would like to know more about the process of selling your matrimonial home, buying another home, and how divorce changes the real estate process…
Divorce Resources in Portland, Oregont
We know many people in the midst of a divorce sometimes need a Realtor to find the value of a mutual possession. Of course, there are many other needs when going through a divorce that are associated with matters that are legal in nature. We have put together a selection of sources we feel may be useful.