selling a house before the divorce is final

The Pros and Cons of Selling a House Before the Divorce Is Final

Research shows that about 40-50% of married couples in the United States divorce.

There’s no doubt that going through a divorce can represent one of the most stressful experiences a person can endure. From the emotional heartbreak to the physical separation to the financial problems, it’s a trying time for most adults.

If you’re in the midst of this chaos, you may be wondering if it’s better to consider selling a house before the divorce is final.

Let’s get into what you need to know.

Factors to Consider When Preparing to Sell

If you’re considering to sell the home, there are a few key points to consider during the preparation phase.

Communal Property

The first point is identifying whether your home is considered communal property. That means both parties have a right to decide how to proceed. In other words, both owners have to agree and sign to sell the home.

Sometimes, this is an easy answer. Neither one of you may be able to afford the house individually. Or, both of you may want to relocate and move.


If you do choose to sell, you’ll need to consider other financial logistics.

For example, does the house need any work or remodels before its ready to sell? If so, what are they, and who will be responsible for paying?

One Spouse Keeping The Home

Does one spouse wish to remain in the home? If so, will he or she pay the rest of the mortgage and associated house costs? Will the non-residing spouse still contribute?

If one spouse chooses to keep the home, it’s typical that he or she takes over the mortgage. This will require speaking to the lender, refinancing the home, and permanently remove the other spouse from the financial decisions.

Selling Concerns

Finally, if you both decide to put it up on the market, who’s responsible for finding the real estate agent or showing the house? Who will be present to manage all the logistics that come with the sale transactions?

Selling A House Before The Divorce is Final

There are many benefits to selling the home before finalizing your separation. You should always consult with an attorney and accountant to understand how each benefit applies to your situation.

Increased Tax Benefits

If you opt to sell the house before finalizing the divorce, many states will allow you to write off up to $500,000 deductions from the current year’s taxes. This occurs if you are married and filing jointly.

This figure drops if you sell your house after the divorce- to just $250,000.

With that said, this condition only applies if and when the couple has owned the property for at least two years. You also must have lived in the property for at least two years.

Simplification of Asset Division

When you sell the house before the divorce, you have a set amount of money split between both parties. It’s simple to divide because you have the cash in hand.

However, if you kept onto the house, you’d have to collaborate and negotiate for equivalent exchange.

Some exceptions do apply. For example, if one of the spouses invested significantly more into the home, he or she will typically receive more profits. Also, if one of you lived in the home prior to the other moving in, there may be separate interest or reimbursements to consider.

Emotional Peace of Mind

A house carries various emotions and memories with it. You two probably spent significant time living, growing, and learning about each other under that roof.

Living in the same space can undoubtedly feel devastating- especially if the divorce was contentious. For this reason, many couples want to set their past aside and move on. It may be too painful to live within the home and have constant reminders of your old relationship.

If you do choose to sell the house, this may improve the healing process for both you and any children involved.

Waiting or Avoiding Selling The House

Of course, there are several disadvantages to selling the home before finalizing your divorce. Let’s review.

Increased Stress

As mentioned, divorce is one of the most stressful events an adult can experience. In fact, research shows that relationship stress is the 4th leading cause of stress in the US. However, research also shows that money is the 2nd leading cause of stress.

Whether it’s a volatile real estate market or you have a million other financial decisions to make, you may want to hold off on putting up the house for sale.

Stable Place to Live

It can be challenging to find a new place to live in the midst of a divorce. Furthermore, you may not want to set up a temporary home while finalizing all the legal matters.

If you have children, this becomes even more important. Keeping them in their own beds in their familiar space can help make the transition easier while you decide your next step.

Property Values

There’s a general rule of thumb stating that property values always increase. For this reason, many couples choose to hold onto their homes as a financial investment.

You will need to speak with an accountant and attorney to understand how the profits will work if you do sell at some point.

Final Thoughts

Your home is probably the largest asset you own. Therefore, deciding to consider selling a house before the divorce is final isn’t an easy decision. Take the time you need to research your decision and outweigh your pros and cons.

With that said, if you need to sell your house fast, we have you covered. Learn more about our easy and convenient process today.


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