Divorce and Real Estate

house-puzzleRe: Divorce and Real Estate
When people go through a divorce the real estate involved is many times one of the biggest pieces of the puzzle.
Obviously, divorce is a terrible situation to be in. We can all agree on that.
Because it is such a huge problem it also creates a lot of opportunity for people who want to help provide a solution.
I was surprised when someone recently showed me that divorce attorneys have one of the highest professional satisfaction rates in their field.  The process may not be enjoyable, but people want results – and they get results with a competent attorney.
If you know someone who has been through a divorce, you understand that every home life situation is different.
Let’s focus on the real estate for a minute.
In the process of a divorce both sides have to agree on how to split the marital assets.  Many times the real estate involved is one of the largest assets.  Of course many times there is debt associated with the real estate in the form of a mortgage or note.
All parties have to agree on the value and if one party will be able to continue living in the property or take possession of the property after a divorce is granted by the courts. The person who gets possession of the property usually gives up something else of equal value.
Here in the DC area, both spouses may be working and without a second income there is not enough money left in a budget to satisfy a monthly mortgage payment.  In that case the property may need to be sold.
BUT EVERY SITUATION IS DIFFERENT.  A couple in my neighborhood went through a divorce a few years ago.  One spouse kept the home they were able to provide very little disruption to the home life for the children.  They kids stayed in the same schools until they graduated a few years later.
On the other hand, you have people who go through a divorce and in order to meet the financial demands of the other party, properties must be sold.  It doesn’t matter if the market is good or bad at that point – it gets sold.
I just had a discussion on this topic yesterday and was told about my friends uncle who after 40 years of marriage was forced to sell his main residence and two vacation properties in the middle of the recession. All in, the total property value was just under $2 Million. And still, no one came away happy.
One of the oldest jokes about divorce is:
“Why is divorce so expensive?”
Answer: “Because it’s worth it.”
Tell that to Harold Hamm who last year wrote a personal check for $975 Million to settle his messy and public divorce.

Most people will never know what it’s like to go through a divorce of that magnitude or on a very public stage like Mr. Hamm did.  However, most people do want some privacy when they go through the process.

And that is where we can offer some help.  For people who do not want their neighbors going through their home at an open house, we can make a private offer to purchase a home. No signs in the yard, and no public open houses.  Just a quick cash offer and a quiet closing.  The documents for the sale are public record, as they should be, but the entire process can take place away from the very public MLS system.  No photos, no brokers opens and no quiet whispers by strangers about the condition of the house.
Most people going through a divorce just want to get to the next phase of their life.  The entire process is tiring, heart wrenching and seldom enjoyable for either party. More than once I have heard people say “Let’s just sign this and be done with it.”
When I hear of people who just want to “be done with it” I know there is some level of motivation.
Not every divorce results in the sale of real estate.  But it is a process that you can find very motivated people who just want to “be done with it” and price may not be a major negotiating point.   You may also find vacation property or second and third homes that need to be sold in order to divide assets fairly.
At our April 18th WREIA meeting we will be talking about how to find motivated sellers. It’s a great topic that I am going to break down into easy steps. If you implement just a few of these changes you may see a giant leap forward in your 2016 results.

April 18th is a great opportunity for you to ask a few questions like:
  • Where are people making the most money in DC?
  • How much time does it take to flip a property in our area?
  • How much money, at a minimum, should we want to make on a deal?
  • Where do you think prices are headed?
  • What mistakes do you see people making?
  • What should we do to get started?
Save a few dollars and reserve your seat early.  Then, come join us at WREIA on April 18th. It will be a great way to start the spring season, get you motivated, and get some momentum for the rest of 2016.
Reserve your seat for the fourth 2016 WREIA meeting here.
Make this year a great year for your business!
John Peterson
Washington REIA Network, President
Profitable Property, Founder
P.S.  The Rehab Immersion Course –  Spring 2016 Class we announced at WREIA is off to a blazing start.  We found our subject property, did a deep-dive property tour, two days at my office pouring through details and a second tour back at the property halfway through the renovation.  And it’s not over yet.
Announcing – Rehab Immersion Course – Summer 2016 Class is limited to 12 students.  If you are looking for an intimate and hands-on setting to learn the details of the renovation process here in the DC area – this is perfect for you.  Don’t miss this chance to get some real-world experience.  The summer class is starting to fill up. If you are interested in joining us, simply call the office and let us know to reserve you a remaining spot.