Common Mistakes to Avoid When Handling Real Estate and Housing Matters During Divorce

By Douglas Katz – 08/07/23

Divorce can be a tumultuous time for all parties involved, especially when real estate and housing are part of the equation. While seeking legal representation may seem daunting or costly, attempting to navigate real estate matters during a divorce without professional guidance can lead to significant mistakes with long-term repercussions. To have the best chance of good outcomes, you need to understand the most common mistakes people make when dealing with real estate and housing issues during divorce without proper representation, along with practical tips to avoid these pitfalls.

Ignoring the Full Extent of Your Real Estate Assets:

One of the most significant mistakes divorcing couples make is overlooking the full extent of their real estate assets. Failing to consider all properties, including primary residences, vacation homes, rental properties, and land holdings, can result in an uneven property division.

Solution:

Conduct a thorough inventory of all real estate properties and assets, ensuring that each property is correctly appraised and valued.  Providers like The Divorce Housing Pro can assist with this by working with you to fully assess and consider every one of your real estate holdings.

Overlooking the Mortgage and Debt Obligations:

During a divorce, it’s crucial to address mortgage and debt obligations associated with each property. Simply transferring the property title without considering the mortgage responsibility can lead to financial strain for both parties.

Solution:

Clearly outline how mortgage payments and debts will be handled for each property. Consider refinancing or selling properties to remove financial ties to your ex-spouse.  Like the previous common mistake, employing a professional like The Divorce Housing Pro to help review and provide guidance on the current and potential future obligations.

Disregarding Local Real Estate Laws:

Real estate laws can vary significantly by state and region. Proceeding with a divorce without understanding local real estate regulations may lead to errors in property division and ownership rights.

Solution:

Consult with a real estate attorney familiar with local laws to ensure you are aware of all legal implications regarding your real estate assets.  If an attorney is too much for the budget, at the very least spend time with a lending and/or real estate professional.  They cannot give you legal advice or counsel, but their working knowledge can help greatly.

Not Considering Future Housing Needs:

Divorce often necessitates a change in living arrangements, and overlooking future housing needs can be a costly mistake. Failing to plan for adequate housing can lead to financial instability post-divorce.

Solution:

Assess your future housing requirements, taking into account factors like children’s living arrangements, financial capacity, and lifestyle preferences.  While some divorcing couples do try and approach this, they do it by themselves.  Professionals like The Divorce Housing Pro can and do work closely with you and any other divorce professionals that you have hired to assist by providing the necessary perspective on the cost and payment requirement for some of these future needs.

Letting Emotions Drive Real Estate Decisions:

Divorce is an emotional experience, and it’s easy to let emotions influence real estate decisions. Hasty decisions driven by anger or hurt may lead to unfavorable property settlements or decisions.

Solution:

Seek guidance from a neutral third party, such as a real estate agent or mediator, to make well-informed and rational real estate choices.  I recommend working with someone who specializes in the world of divorce real estate.  Professionals like The Divorce Housing Pro have experience tempering emotional components of the divorce and addressing the plan for the real estate in a more logical manner based in numbers and lending guidelines.

Delaying the Sale of Real Estate Assets:

Procrastinating the sale of real estate properties can be detrimental to both parties’ financial stability. Holding onto properties for emotional reasons or hoping for a better market can lead to decreased property values and prolonged conflicts.

Solution:

Set a reasonable timeline for selling real estate assets, and try to separate emotional attachments from financial considerations.  Failure in this area can be especially impactful when markets for real estate and mortgages change for the worse which can cost a homeowner 10s and potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars.  This is why the process should include the help of a professional like The Divorce Housing Pro to help set and manage the timeline.

Make Divorce Real Estate a Priority

Dealing with real estate and housing matters during a divorce can be complex and emotionally challenging. Avoiding common mistakes is essential for ensuring a fair and equitable settlement. Take the time to thoroughly assess all real estate assets, understand local laws, and plan for future housing needs. Seek professional advice from real estate attorneys, mediators, or financial advisors to navigate the divorce process successfully and secure your financial well-being in the long run. Remember, a level-headed and informed approach, like using The Divorce Housing Pro – Divorce Housing Analysis, is key to handling real estate and housing matters during a divorce.