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I Can’t Sell My Home, Does That Mean I’m Stuck In A Loveless Marriage?

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Question: I Can’t Sell My Home, Does That Mean I’m Stuck In A Loveless Marriage?
Answer:

With the Real Estate market in crisis quite a few couples have found themselves in your situation. You do have options other than staying in a miserable marriage. I have three suggestions; hopefully, one will work for you.

Short Sale:

A short sale occurs when you find a willing buyer but the offering price is less than the mortgage on the home. For example, if your home is appraised at $190,000, the outstanding mortgage balance is $170,000, and a buyer makes an offer of $155,000 you will suffer a $15,000 loss if you accept the offer.

In today’s economy and due to the Real Estate crisis there are many lenders who will accept such a deal and allow you to do a “short sale.” Before the crisis if you had, had such an offer and accepted it you would owe the lender the remaining $15,000. In today’s economy, lenders are more forgiving because the house would be worth less to them should it go into foreclosure.

Be sure though that you check with your lender before accepting a short sale offer.

Negotiated Ownership:

You can also use the house as a negotiating tool during the divorce process and divorce settlement negotiations. If your spouse has an interest in remaining in the home, he/she could refinance and buy you out of your interest in the home.

For example, if you want spousal support but the house is putting you both in a financial bind, you can offer a buy out in place of the spousal support you desire. In such a situation, you receive a lump sum of money, your spouse receives the home and you both get what you want. Of course, this solution only works if there is equity in the home.

Sell At A Later Date:

You or your spouse could stay in the marital home until such a times as the real estate market improves. This is easily negotiated in a divorce settlement agreement. You want to be careful to cover all your bases and make sure every contingency is covered.

You or your spouse, either one would remain in the marital home. You would agree to who pays the mortgage or how the mortgage payment will be split. There should be wording in the divorce settlement agreement that covers who is responsible for what maintenance on the home.

The agreement should also specify a date the home is to be placed on the market. How the listing price will be determined, what Real Estate agent will handle the sale and how any profit from the home is divided. Waiting until a later date to sell allows you to protect the investment the two of you have in the marital home because the Real Estate market will eventually turn around. When it does you will be in a better position to get a return on your investment.

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