Divorce and the Home. Are You Listening?


by Joan Rogliano, www.roglianorealestategroup.com, LTD Contributor

What do you mean you talked them out of listing the house?” That’s a question I’ve heard many times from colleagues. Called by a client to list the home I helped them to buy, our discussion revealed one of them really didn’t want to sell. So, I put the Listing Agreement aside to continue the conversation and explore how to best assist them in navigating this difficult transition.

As professionals we must listen, and help the family explore their options. It shouldn’t be about making a sale or having too many clients. I actually had one attorney tell me ” It doesn’t matter what she is saying. I’m too busy to deal with this, so the house has to go!”

If we’re not therapists we can’t play that role, but we can bring our individual expertise to the discussion. Explain real estate market conditions and if they should improve in the near future. Consult with a loan originator to establish the ability of one party to refinance. Counsel them about short and long term financial goals or tax consequences. If they are keeping the current mortgage, be sure both parties have access to the loan information to assure it is current.

For most of us, a home is more than just a roof over our heads. It is a foundation for family life, a safe harbor from the demands of the world, and an expression of who we are. So when those things are shaken during a divorce, what to do with the home is frequently an emotional and financial dilemma.

Barraged with major life decisions during a divorce, families need advisers who are listening. The divorce is about their family and not the professionals they turn to for guidance.