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Selling Your Home Due to Personal Issues or Divorce

Life changes, and when it does, sometimes living arrangements must change too. Divorce is sometimes one of those changes.

  • When you get divorced, you have several options for what to do with the house.
  • Some of the options include selling the home, executing a buyout, or arranging a deferred sale.

What Are Some Options for the House in a Divorce?

Divorce is rarely easy, even when it’s amicable. One of the most common points of contention is what to do about selling your home. Here are some things to consider when you’re deciding what to do with the family home.


The first question to consider is whether either party wants to keep the family home. If the answer is no, then putting it up for sale is the logical next step. When the home sells, the proceeds go to pay off the mortgage and any other debt for which it stands as collateral. Whatever is left gets distributed according to whether the divorce is happening in a community property or equitable distribution state. You should consult with a tax professional regarding any capital gains taxes for which you may be responsible.

It’s tempting to rush through the process to get your money and start over. However, this is a significant transaction, so you want to make each decision as carefully as possible.

  • Choose a real estate agent rather than trying to sell the home yourself. You don’t need the added stress of dealing with potential buyers and showing the house in the middle of an emotional time.
  • Trust the agent’s advice on how to price the home. If you feel the agent is far off base, get a second opinion or even a third if it helps you and the other party agree on an asking price. When offers come in, the agent can also help the parties decide whether to accept.
  • At closing, the escrow company will pay off whatever is owed on the home and distribute what’s left to the parties according to whatever agreement is in place.


For several reasons, one party often wants to keep the house. Some of the common reasons for this include: not wanting to uproot children, or a sentimental connection. The usual procedure is for the parties to hire an appraiser to determine the value of the house. Then one party buys out the other. This process is, of course, all dependent on the divorce laws in your state.

The buying party may need to refinance the home to get the funds to complete the transaction, and it can be challenging to do that on one income. If you want to buy out the other party, you’ll want to consult a professional and knowledgeable mortgage broker who can help you understand your options.

Deferred Sales

One possibility for the house is a deferred sale, an arrangement whereby the parties agree for one person to live in the home for a designated period. When that time expires, the house is listed or sold. Usually, the parties agree to this to allow minor children to grow up in the family home. When the children move out on their own, the sale moves forward like any other, and each party receives whatever they are entitled to under the divorce agreement.

Help is Available From CalHome Real Estate Services

If you need help listing a home for sale during a divorce in the San Francisco Bay area, the professionals at CalHome Real Estate Services are here to help. Contact us today for all your buying and selling needs. You can reach out by calling (800) 893-6665.

Featured Image: Amnaj Khetsamtip/Shutterstock

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Whether it’s buying your dream home or selling your current one, Suzanne Rocha and the CAL Home team are here to help.