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Professional Insights: What to know about selling your home when divorcing

by | Mar 11, 2024 | Business, Featured

According to Forbes Magazine, in 2021 there were almost 700,000 divorces reported by 45 states.

Divorce is thought of as an ending, but it’s also the beginning of a new life for all involved, so it’s crucial to wrap up loose ends and let everyone move on without being encumbered.

While Massachusetts has one of the lowest divorce rates in the country, coming in 44th with a 7.82% rate compared to the national average of 9.2% per WiseVoter.com, that’s still a lot of people who must suddenly make big decisions, including what to do with their home.

Massachusetts is an equitable distribution state, meaning there’s no law in place to determine which partner keeps the house; rather, the house is considered an asset to be included in the fair division of property in a divorce. “Fair” doesn’t necessarily mean “equal,” as the divorce settlement may take things like income disparity into consideration.

In some cases, one partner sells their interest in the house to the other, but there’s no “one size fits all” solution that works for every divorce. It’s important for both partners to communicate openly about their wants, needs and expectations, through attorneys if necessary, and to talk to a real estate agent to make sure all parties know the value of the property, issues with the home and who will be responsible for them.

When going through the stress of a divorce, many people don’t think about things like having the well and septic system tested. If there are hidden problems with those or other things, the partner who keeps the house may find themself suddenly facing a heavy financial burden for repairs. Have them inspected prior to a divorce. Title 5 septic results are valid for two years but can be extended to three years if the system is pumped annually. Well quality results are good for five years. Refer to your Board of Health website on water testing requirements.

A full home inspection will help ensure that any problems with the house are known to both partners so that they or the court can determine what the financial responsibilities pertaining to home repairs will be for the spouse leaving. Even if the inspection doesn’t find any serious issues, the inspection report will note the age of the home’s systems and recommendations on how to maintain the systems and when they should be budgeted to be replaced.

Experienced real estate agents will be a huge help in navigating the process as they often are knowledgeable in divorce law as it pertains to real estate. Sitting down with your agent can give you the support and information you need to make the best decision as you embark on this new chapter of your life.

Kim FoemmelKim Foemmel
Foemmel Fine Homes
1 Lumber Street, Suite 207C
Hopkinton, MA
(508) 808-1149

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