Divorce and Real Estate

Divorce Realtor – Portland Oregon’s trusted expert in Divorce Realty 2017-12-21T08:05:14+00:00
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.

Families suffering through a divorce, often feel exposed, distrustful, and unprotected in their lives and personal affairs. Caution, care and diligence to be exercised during this difficult time. We humbly offer to assist with realty services as a trusted fiduciary professional and divorce-specialty real estate brokerage.

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?
Bernhardt Swisstrust Divorce Realtor emotions_

Emotions

Emotions are high, and often (as a professionally trained & “Certified Negotiator”) I must help clients keep emotions at bay and stay focused on the task of selling for the most money in an efficient, safe, and successful manner. A divorce realtor must have top-notch people skills, understanding, compassion, and excessive patience.

Legal Liaison

In a real estate transaction, ordinary Realtors are often only required to facilitate the transaction. Their real estate office later forwards the paperwork to the real estate lawyer. In divorce real estate the matrimonial lawyers are often included every step of the way – from signing the listing, accepting an Agreement of Purchase & Sale, through to the completion date of the transaction. The Realtor must know when to consult the matrimonial lawyers for direction and often dedicate considerably more time towards forwarding all paperwork, and copies of communications through the entire process to the matrimonial lawyers.

Bernhardt Swisstrust Divorce Realtor Innovation
Bernhardt Swisstrust Divorce Realtor legal liaison

More Due Diligence

Due diligence is a much more extensive process for divorce realtors than it is for ordinary realtors. If mortgage payments are in arrears, or there are other liens attached to the properties, there might not be enough equity left in the property after the sale, for everyone to be paid what they are owed.

Handy/Innovation Required

Most sellers do everything possible to fix up the property and make it look top notch in hopes of generating the most money possible during the sale. In a divorce scenario, often both parties cannot agree on sharing the costs to fix or update the property, as may be required. There have been several transactions where I have rolled up my sleeves to invest my own ‘sweat equity’ into fixing minor repairs, and making minor updates (with the client’s permission of course) so that the sale of the property will generate a higher price.

Bernhardt Swisstrust Divorce Realtor Due Diligence
Bernhardt Swisstrust Divorce Realtor Compassion

Compassion & Understanding

Clients are real people. They should never be viewed as a paycheque or a way to make money. Unfortunately, some commissioned professionals can’t help thinking that way. As someone who has been through divorce myself, and helped hundreds of clients going through divorce to sell their matrimonial home, and buy somewhere for a fresh start, I know first hand that potential new clients (people going through divorce) are going through a tumultuous, scary, frustrating, emotional, and at times exhausting process and time in their life.

Power Team & Connections

In ordinary (non-divorce) circumstances, the homeowner(s) have the time, clarity, and focus to source a professional stager, real estate photographer, professional organizer, handyman, contractor, movers, real estate lawyers, storage facility, and other required services. A realtor who specializes in divorce circumstances, however, should offer clients getting a divorce a one-stop-solution.

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.

Bernhardt Swisstrust Divorce Realtor Team
Bernhardt Swisstrust Divorce Realtor emotions_

Emotions

Emotions are high, and often (as a professionally trained & “Certified Negotiator” I must help clients keep emotions at bay and stay focused on the task of selling for the most money in an efficient, safe, and successful manner. A divorce realtor must have top-notch people skills, understanding, compassion, and excessive patience.

Bernhardt Swisstrust Divorce Realtor Innovation

Legal Liaison

In a real estate transaction, ordinary Realtors are often only required to facilitate the transaction. Their real estate office later forwards the paperwork to the real estate lawyer. In divorce real estate the matrimonial lawyers are often included every step of the way – from signing the listing, accepting an Agreement of Purchase & Sale, through to the completion date of the transaction. The Realtor must know when to consult the matrimonial lawyers for direction and often dedicate considerably more time towards forwarding all paperwork, and copies of communications through the entire process to the matrimonial lawyers.

Bernhardt Swisstrust Divorce Realtor legal liaison

More Due Diligence

Due diligence is a much more extensive process for divorce realtors than it is for ordinary realtors. If mortgage payments are in arrears, or there are other liens attached to the properties, there might not be enough equity left in the property after the sale, for everyone to be paid what they are owed.

Bernhardt Swisstrust Divorce Realtor Due Diligence

Handy/Innovation Required

Most sellers do everything possible to fix up the property and make it look top notch in hopes of generating the most money possible during the sale. In a divorce scenario, often both parties cannot agree on sharing the costs to fix or update the property, as may be required. There have been several transactions where I have rolled up my sleeves to invest my own ‘sweat equity’ into fixing minor repairs, and making minor updates (with the client’s permission of course) so that the sale of the property will generate a higher price.

Bernhardt Swisstrust Divorce Realtor Compassion

Compassion & Understanding

Clients are real people. They should never be viewed as a paycheque or a way to make money. Unfortunately, some commissioned professionals can’t help thinking that way. As someone who has been through divorce myself, and helped hundreds of clients going through divorce to sell their matrimonial home, and buy somewhere for a fresh start, I know first hand that potential new clients (people going through divorce) are going through a tumultuous, scary, frustrating, emotional, and at times exhausting process and time in their life.

Bernhardt Swisstrust Divorce Realtor Team

Power Team & Connections

In ordinary (non-divorce) circumstances, the homeowner(s) have the time, clarity, and focus to source a professional stager, real estate photographer, professional organizer, handyman, contractor, movers, real estate lawyers, storage facility, and other required services. A realtor who specializes in divorce circumstances, however, should offer clients getting a divorce a one-stop-solution.

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
We all have friends who are Realtors and you may feel pressured to use them or to use the Realtor who
sold you your home but making your choice based on loyalty is not smart. You may not want your friend
to become familiar with the financial details of your divorce or you might not want to work with them at
this difficult,  challenging time. Your ex will want to be assured of the agent’s neutrality and if they sense
that your agent-friend is aligned with you or may be biased, then insisting on using them may make the
whole house-selling process difficult and volatile.

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.

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.

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.

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
We all have friends who are Realtors and you may feel pressured to use them or to use the Realtor who
sold you your home but making your choice based on loyalty is not smart. You may not want your friend
to become familiar with the financial details of your divorce or you might not want to work with them at
this difficult,  challenging time. Your ex will want to be assured of the agent’s neutrality and if they sense
that your agent-friend is aligned with you or may be biased, then insisting on using them may make the
whole house-selling process difficult and volatile.

It all comes down to this. You have to choose the agent who you feel has the expertise you need and who will work best with your style of decision-making. Whoever you choose, be sure to bring them into the discussions early so you can use their expertise to inform your decisions and to minimize unforeseen obstacles.

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:

  • Accountants
  • Mediators
  • 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, Oregon

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.

Helpful links:

  • Lack The Liquidity To Hire The Right Divorce Team? Divorce Finance Could Be The Solution July 11, 2017
    Lack the Liquidity to Hire the Right Divorce Team? Divorce Finance Could Be the Solution. A divorce can wear you out both emotionally and financially. Even the wealthiest may not have sufficient access to capital during a divorce. Some turn to friends or family but, this is often not an option.
  • A Less Common Income Inequality: When Wives Earn More Than Their Husbands June 13, 2017
    When Wives Earn More Than Their Husbands As people marry later, and increasingly choose partners from their own educational and economic backgrounds, the nature of marriage is fundamentally changing. Since the fundamentals of marriage are changing, it only follows that divorce is also changing.
  • Dos And Dont's Of Marital Separation April 4, 2017
    Dos And Don’ts Of Marital Separation Getting divorced is a tremendous amount to handle legally, financially, socially, and emotionally, and it isn’t something to take on unless you’re absolutely sure. But while you’re working on your marriage, should you physically separate?

We have collected some videos that you may find helpful during this time.

A Practical Guide to Oregon Divorce

Oregon Custody vs. Parenting Time

Filing for divorce first in Oregon

Oregon Child Support Factors

Wait Time Before Divorce in Oregon

Dating During Oregon Divorce

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