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Raleigh Real Estate Series Part 3: Tough Divorce Questions Answered

Questions and AnswersReal Estate. It’s not a topic that people immediately think of when they file for divorce.

But that’s a mistake. Because addressing the real estate involved between the couple is a critical step in the divorce process. And preparing for this process is critical to deciding how difficult this aspect of divorce can be.

Today, I’m going to answer some of your most pressing questions surrounding divorce and real estate in the Raleigh area.

Important Divorce and Real Estate Questions Answered for Raleigh Residents

How do most couples decide on a buyout price?

Many couples pick a number on their own based on what they paid for the house or have invested into it. This is usually a big mistake for reasons explained above.

Others pay for a fee paid appraisal to determine value but, this may also lead to several mistakes if they only look at the bottom line number on the appraisal. That number in not a guaranteed sales price or even true market value.

An appraisal is just an opinion of value by one person who has looked back in time to select a number. Therefore, having two appraisals would give you a truer average to begin from.

Where couples make a mistake with deciding only from the appraisal amount is the may have not considered the cost of selling in the future, deferred maintenance and immediate repairs and in some cases capital gains too.

In my opinion, the best solution is to have one or two appraisal completed from a licensed appraiser and also meet with an experienced Realtor to get a second opinion. The type of Realtor is one who has a lot of experience in working with sellers. Chose one with a large listing inventory and a track record for sell listings. The nice buyer agent that helped you buy your home initially may not have enough marketing dollars and experience in representing sellers. Buying and selling are two different skill sets.

What’s the difference between a Realtor’s value and an Appraisers value?

Appraisers only look at historical data of closed properties in the past 6 to 12 months to determine value. Realtors look at present market conditions, trends and your competition today.

In other words, what your home may be worth on a piece of paper called an appraisal and what you could actually sell for today, along with cost to make your home market ready, sold and closed needs to all be considered. Again, couples going through divorce need a lot of wise counsel from multiple professionals and we are happy to refer them to professionals that can help provide the information they need.

What happens if they haven’t owned their house very long or it has NO EQUITY due to high mortgage balances or declining home values?

Couples with no equity in their marital home only have two choices

  1. Sell their home in a short sale where the bank takes the financial loss instead of them, and the consequence is a temporary decline in their credit score. Divorce is one of the qualifiers for a short sale. It is a way to not have to write a check at closing, or incur new debt by borrowing money from another source to bring to the sale. With a short sale both parties will be released from ownership of the property and a free of debt obligation and each other in regard to the house. As a CDPE, Certified Short Sale Expert, we have helped hundreds of people successfully navigate a short sale but, the first step is a consultation to understand all the pros and cons of this type of sale.
  2. An agreement could be reached to rent the home until it appreciates high enough in value to sell in the future. The idea of having someone else pay your joint mortgage while the house is going up in value may seem like a great option but, it’s absolutely not. There will be vacancies, repairs and ongoing maintenance in addition to years of working together in joint ownership with a business partner you probably would not have chosen if the real estate market had given you another choice. The stress you feel now going through divorce will continue and be magnified as you enter this business partnership with your X-spouse. The number one reason people divorce is money. Entering a business partnership with someone you may have just divorced over money spells emotional and financial disaster for your future. Approach with great caution and consult a property management company. We are happy to refer you.

Raleigh NC Realtors Who Can Help You!

Please contact us at Linda Craft & Team if you would like to discuss your specific situation in terms of divorce and the real estate you own.

We would be happy to help you navigate those waters and represent your best interests all along the way.

And be sure to check back here next time as we’ll be discussing the 7 common mistakes people make with their homes in divorce. You don’t want to miss it!

Until next time,



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