Profile picture for sozy2211

Separated- likely getting divorced. House needs work. Should I sell?

I and my husband have recently separated and I am living in the family home because he does not want to deal with it. It needs about $5,000 worth of work done - mainly paint, carpet, landscape etc. and the roof will need replaced in a year or so. After the repairs if the house does get sold, I will barely break even at todays prices. I can barely manage to pay for the mortgage and maintenance with my income.
Should I :
1. do the repairs and try to sell it now or
2. sell it now without the repairs or
3. stay in it for 2-3 years until the home prices go up, and then sell it?
  • June 12 2010 - Gainesville
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Answers (9)

Profile picture for BetsyPepine
I would make the repairs and sell ASAP.  I don't think prices have bottomed out so in 2-3 years, you may be getting less than today.  I would price it agressively, as those that stay just above the market, sit a long time and end up getting less than if you price aggressively to start.

DO NOT decide on a price with your spouse in which one of you "cashes out." I've seen too many couples do this and, with this market, the one that "cashes out" generally is financially better off than the one left with the house.  Sell it and the divide the net proceeds accordingly.

Betsy Pepine
Pepine Realty
Gainesville, FL
  • August 19 2010
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The market is not going to be going up in the next 2-3 years more like 5+ years

If you can afford to put the 5k to fix the house you have a better chance to sell it in top condition. If you cant afford it then sell it as is and get the most you can for it.
  • June 25 2010
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Hi Sozy.  In your situation it would seem that selling now would be your best option since you are having difficulty maintaining and paying the mortgage.   Waiting 2-3 years in most markets is not likely to result in a higher net for you.   I would suggest having a couple of local REALTORS visit with you for their advice concerning what you should do and how it will affect your listing price.   Depends on the property - sometimes after seeing a property I tell sellers to make repairs before selling, and other times I don't.  
Best of luck for a fast sale.  
  • June 22 2010
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Just wanted to say good luck. You've already received plenty of good advice.

I think the greater problem is the roof since many will not qualify for a mortgage if the roof has little life expectancy. So that may likely be your most primary issue to contend with if you plan to sell it, whether now or in the future.
  • June 21 2010
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Profile picture for sozy2211
Thank you all for your input. I truly appreciate it.

I have two young children and my husband has indeed offered to pay for half of the repairs and help me with the mortgage until the house gets sold- as long as I take care of getting the house repaired and ready for sale.
However, I am self-employed, which means my income is not steady. It could potentially be more in future but any unforseen circumstance could make the house of cards fall.

Thank you again.
  • June 21 2010
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I agree with Pam that it is very brave of you to step forward.  You are helping many others who find themselves in the same situation.

First, all are in agreement - seek legal advice.  It's so important to know your rights.  I have worked with women who are in this same situation and you want to avoid problems down the road.

There is no mention of dependent so I'm assuming no children at home or others to care for. 

If you are barely making it now and there is no other additional income coming in now or in the forseeable future, then selling is probably your best option.  From what you are describing, the maintenance cost are only going to increase with time.  Besides, if there is no possiblility of reconcilation, then a fresh start can be a very healthy thing for mind, body and soul.

It sounds as though you both own the home and so both are still accountable.  In fairness, your husband should at least be able to put up some financing for the repairs.  (I'm assuming he still lived there when the maintenance needed to be done). 

Please do your homework.  Get several bids for repairs (ask for referrals) and make sure that you get a "Proceeds From Sell" - this is a calculation of what you will get from the sell or it will let you know if you will be in the red.  Do this before you put the house on the market so you will know exactly where you stand financially.  Also, check into getting a home warranty placed on the home with seller's coverage.  This may be helpful if additional repairs are needed.  Contact your local realtors for more information.

Thanks again for being brave.  I know this seems like a lot, but it will be worth it in the end.
  • June 14 2010
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First of all thank you for being brave enough to ask for help. Lots of people wait until it's to late....Procrastination is a friend to all of us!

I agree it is important for you to seek legal advice so that you and your investments are safe and that you understand your rights.

Now on to your home. If your finances will not allow you to stay in your home comfortably for the next 6 months to a year, I would say to sell now. None of us have a crystal ball, so we can't tell you that the real estate market will come back in 2-3 years, it could take longer.That certainly depends on where you live and how real estate is doing in your part of the country/world. So to give you that hope is not realistic. You may need to deal with your investment now and give yourself a "fresh" start....you deserve it!

A "fresh" start will give you the opportunity to move on to the next phase of your life and begin making "new" memories! :)  Best of luck to you!!

  • June 13 2010
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I think before you make any hasty decisions you should consult with an attorney. I don't know which state you live in, every states laws concerning divorce & distribution of assets are different. Depending on how long you have been married you may be entitled to some type of spousal support from your husband & may be able to stay in the house.Wait & see what happens.   
  • June 13 2010
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Profile picture for ABBAUSA

What a diffcult question at a diffcult time.

1. You need a place to live.
(decide if your current home is the best vs a rental apartment or rental house.)

2. Keep up the structural repairs as long as you live in the house and keep things neat and orderly. (carpet, landscape....can wait, but paint when you like and do a pro like job.

3. The roof has to be maintained, get several bids and replace when your budget allows it.

4. Staying or keeping until value returns is worth striving for. You might consider renting it and then sale in 2-4 years.

Having your own place has its merits, but you have to be able to afford to live and maintain it.

Good Luck!

James Callas - Realtor®

  • June 12 2010
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