Life holds many happy and positive experiences: graduating from high school, buying your first car, starting your first job, etc.
One experience that isn’t happy or positive is getting a divorce.
On average, about 40 to 50% of American marriages end in divorce.
Divorce is, in a word, loss:
Loss of a marriage. Loss of love.
In some cases, loss of financial stability.
And then there’s loss of assets.
During divorces, the former couple more often than not must work together to split and/or liquidate their assets.
Getting a divorce in Dallas is no different than getting a divorce elsewhere in the United States.
However, there are certain aspects of the laws concerning divorce in Dallas (and, in fact, all of Texas) that you need to be aware of while dealing with this emotionally-charged time in your life.
What to be aware of when getting a divorce in Dallas
The housing market
First things first: the housing market isn’t what it used to be.
Since the Great Recession, the value of housing (and, well, everything) took a plunge into the deep end of the marketing pool.
Although not as bad as it was seven years ago, the housing market is moving along sluggishly.
Take a drive through your local neighborhood. Check out all of the “For Sale” signs stuck on front lawns.
Check the newspaper and see how many foreclosed homes are for sale.
Regardless, unless your home has, say, a pool on the property and/or holds some great historical significance, chances are it isn’t worth what you paid for it.
In fact, owning a house has become more of a liability than an asset.
This holds especially true when you’re getting a divorce and need to sell your house.
Getting a divorce in Dallas or anywhere else in the Lone Star state holds different legal ramifications than getting a divorce elsewhere in the United States.
In Texas, all property acquired during a marriage is considered “community property.”
Therefore, everything that you buy while married (including your home) is equally divided between the two of you during a divorce
That means that most likely you’ll end up selling your home so you can fairly split the proceeds between you and your ex.
Making emotional decisions instead of rational ones
When you’re getting a divorce, you want to get it over with and move on.
Reliving memories of your marriage only stalls the “moving on” process.
And nothing makes you relive those memories like living in the home where you were married and continuing to deal with your ex.
As such, you’ll likely want to just get rid of the house and the rest of your joint assets as quickly as you can.
While it will be tempting to make decisions based on how you feel, it’s best to not to let your emotions get the better of you.
Emotionally-charged decisions usually don’t take reason into account.
Thus, when you make a decision based on your emotions, they aren’t always the best decisions.
Even if it takes you a few days, it’s best to examine all aspects of a decision and how it will affect you before saying “yay” or “nay.”
Your house-selling options when getting a divorce in Dallas
Luckily, there’s more than one option when it comes to selling your home while getting a divorce in Dallas and other parts of Texas.
Sell the house by yourselves
If you and your former spouse can negotiate and work together, you can sell your house by yourselves.
That entails agreeing on a sales price, agreeing on what the price should be adjusted to if the house doesn’t sell, the fixes needed, etc.
Hire a REALTOR®
Hiring a REALTOR® is a great solution if you and your ex have trouble communicating.
Realtors can act as a “middle man” between two parties so negotiations and compromises are reached more smoothly and quickly.
They also take care of situations like house showings and dealing with potential buyers.
However, note that REALTORS® always take a certain percentage of every sale they make.
Usually, this percent is 6%.
While 6% doesn’t sound like much, 6% of a six- or seven-digit sale can equal tens of thousands of dollars.
Sell the house to a real estate investor
Believe it or not, there are businesses that specialize just in buying houses.
After they buy the house from you, they’ll turn around and sell it themselves for a price that they set.
If you and your ex want to get cash quickly (or make the sale quickly), it’s worth it to look into selling to a real estate investor.
Like most things, houses lose value with time and age.
Get a short sale
Regardless of the sale route you take, your mortgage lender (likely your bank) will want you to still pay off your mortgage.
If you’re looking to sell quickly, you may consider doing a short sale of your home.
In a short sale, you sell your house for less than what you owe on it.
So if you still owe $80,000.00 on your home and you sell it for $70,000.00 ($10,000.00 less than you owe), you’d be getting a short sale.
Getting a short sale comes with a few risks and negative outcomes, though.
If your lender agrees to a short sale, it might still require that you pay back what you didn’t make during the sale.
Plus, because you’re still in the red post-sale, both your and your ex’s debt will hurt both your credit scores.
Refinancing the house
If one spouse wants to sell while the other wants to keep, Spouse #1 can sell his or her portion to Spouse #2.
However, the spouse who is keeping the property will need to be able to refinance the mortgage loan.
In order to do this, he or she will need 1) not to be behind on payments (which, at this point, will still be joint), 2) to have good credit, and 3) written agreement from the other spouse.
Before taking this route, though, the spouse who wants to keep the property should make sure he or she can afford the mortgage and upkeep of the house every month.
All of this also applies if one spouse wants to just give his or her portion to the other spouse.
Selling a house while getting a divorce can exacerbate an already emotional, unhappy experience.
By making the decision that is best for all parties involved, however, you can expedite the sale and help both of you move on to the next chapters in your lives.