Divorces are like marriages: none of them are the same. Where some couples amicably split and go on to be cordial or even friendly, others threaten litigation at so much as a sideways glance. When divorcing couples are on good terms, the agent’s job is much easier, but if the divorce is not a mutual decision, agent’s can have a much tougher job. Here are some things to keep in mind when working with divorcing couples to sell their home.
Depending on the particular situation, you may notice some animosity toward you from one (or even both) of the parties. Emotions run high in these situations, but it’s important to remain professional. While you’ll want to avoid picking side, you also need to be conscientious of appearing to pick sides as well. Some situations are particularly difficult to remain impartial between the clients, so keep in mind that there might be situations were the best move you can make for your clients (and yourself) is just to refer them out.
Keep Everyone on the Same Page
While it might have been one party who originally chose to hire a specific agent, the agent is employed by both sellers. As the agent, you are hired to represent the best interests of both parties. If the sellers are on good terms, this can be quite easy and will most likely proceed like any other transaction. If they are feuding, it can be best to meet with each of them separately to go over information and documents. This has gotten easier in recent years thanks to technology—just make sure to copy everyone in on the emails and you’ll all stay on the same page without the awkwardness that can come in face to face meetings.
If the clients aren’t on good terms (or even if they appear to be), you’ll want to make sure to fact check any directives given to you by one party. Separations and divorces can bring out the worst in people and it’s important that you don’t get caught in the middle of it– even by accident.
Check-in with Attorneys
In truly disastrous divorces, you may need to work with the individual attorney’s for the spouses to get through all parts of the deal. If the sale is court-ordered, you’re likely to have less pushback from a disgruntled partner, but if it hasn’t been mandated, these attorney’s can often help convince your client that this really is the best choice for all involved, even if emotions aren’t making it seem that way.
Keep Out an Eye for Opportunity
While this might fall under the “too soon” category, speaking in strictly practical terms, if your clients are selling a home, it’s likely that one or maybe both will be looking for a new home. As an agent, this gives you the opportunity to continue to help your clients through their hard time by helping them find a new home to move on with their lives.
Remember that at the end of the day, you have a job to do and your clients have the same end goal, even if it doesn’t always feel like it. While they might not want to be selling their home, there is a reason you were hired and they do need your professionalism and expertise to help to sell their home for the best price in a reasonable timeframe.