Paying For Property Repairs In Divorce
It is no secret that selling a house involves many moving parts, and in a divorce case, any one of the moving parts can be a source of conflict of varying degrees. Making repairs to the house in a divorce can be a monumental ordeal, so the strategy and approach should be carefully vetted and handled.
Not all repairs are necessary and when finances are stretched thin, the recommended repairs by a Realtor should be as short a list as possible. In most real estate transactions, there are two phases of repairs: 1) Preparation for the market, and 2) Post-inspection repairs during the escrow period.
The First Phase
The first phase usually requires money out of pocket and should be limited to mostly cosmetic items. The goal of cosmetic repairs is to put the house’s best foot forward and have a buyer fall in love with it as soon as they see it.
A buyer’s first impression of the house is paramount, and the path of the buyer’s visit begins at the curb. From there, they approach the doorway, enter into the house, walk through the living spaces, kitchen, backyard, and bedrooms. The garage is usually the last thing they see.
It is important to put the bulk of our efforts on the key areas: Curb, living / family / dining room, kitchen, master bedroom, and backyard. Typically, secondary bedrooms, closets, and garages are not deal-breakers for buyers, and should be given attention only after the homeowner has invested in the key areas first.
The Second Phase
The second phase of repairs happens when the house is already in escrow, and hopefully a buyer has already fallen in love with it. Once inspections are performed, there is usually a second round of negotiations based on any maintenance items that an inspection turns up. These can include cracked foundations, leaky pipes and electrical problems, faulty appliances or roof issues. Unless required by the buyer’s lender to complete prior to closing, an effective solution in a divorce case is for the sellers to provide a monetary credit to the buyers through escrow. This way, they do not have to come up with cash out of pocket, nor deal with the headache of managing repairs. This can prevent a lot of conflict in an already contentious situation.
A Certified Divorce Real Estate Expert has the skills, knowledge, and tools to prevent conflict before it ever happens, as well as proven solutions to resolve issues that arise such as dealing with repairs when selling the house in a divorce case.
© LAUREL STARKS, CEO, Divorce Real Estate Institute
Katina Farrell, CDRE is an experienced Realtor & Managing Broker who specializes in real estate transactions, with expertise as a trained Certified Divorce Real Estate Expert and a Certified Negotiation Expert. She handles the sale of real property in family law cases as a neutral expert. To schedule a complimentary chat and discover more ways Katina can help you resolve the real estate challenges plaguing your divorce or divorce cases, call: 720-295-8848 or email: [email protected]