When divorcing spouses need to sell a house: Ask Joe

When divorcing spouses need to sell a house: Ask Joe

My wife and I are divorcing. Are we each allowed our own agents in the sale of our home. How does this change the process of selling a property?

Selling a matrimonial home as part of a divorce can be complicated β€” and emotional. It is not unusual for there to be an added layer of apprehension and perhaps even some uncertainty about how to navigate the selling process.

If spouses are unable to agree on one salesperson, then they can enter into what is called a co-listing agreement. This is an arrangement where each spouse has their own real estate salesperson responsible for negotiating in the best interest of the spouse they represent.

This approach can be very effective in helping both parties facilitate the amicable sale of their property, to ensure the interests of each are well-represented, and may even help them to avoid unnecessary disputes.

In addition to facilitating the sale of the property, co-listing salespeople or brokers can also assist in ensuring that other legal requirements, such as holding proceeds from the sale in trust, are met and that other complex financial aspects, such as tax issues, are navigated.

When selecting a salesperson or broker, there are a few things to note. The first is that not all brokerages will consent to a co-listing arrangement, so you will want to find one that does. I recommend that you ask some questions about how the brokerages will handle the co-listing, including posting the listing, marketing and showing the property, reviewing offers and negotiating the closing date of a sale. Seek out a salesperson or broker who is experienced with co-listings that involve the disposition of a matrimonial home.

Also be sure to check in with your divorce lawyer before final decisions are made.

Every situation is unique. If you plan to sell your home as part of a marital separation, save yourself some headache β€” and heartache β€” by finding yourself a qualified real estate salesperson and a real estate lawyer that can help you through the process.

It’s also worth noting that co-listing arrangements can also be arranged under other circumstances, for example: when two or more independent buyers are investing in a property.

As always, working with a salesperson or broker and a real estate lawyer is highly advisable when navigating the purchase or sale of a property.

If you have a question about the home buying or selling process, please email information@reco.on.ca.

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Joe Richer is registrar of the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) and contributor for the Star. Follow him on Twitter: @RECOhelps

TORONTO STAR

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