Real NEastate: What happens if I have to sell my house while divorcing?


 Q: I am getting divorced. I want to move on and need to sell my house. My husband has moved out and I listed it for sale already with a real estate broker. I found out my husband is not on the mortgage, but he is on the deed. Do I need his permission to sell the house? I don’t even want to talk to him. I will make no money on the sale. In fact, I may need to bring money.

A: In the state of Pennsylvania, even if you’re not making any money on the sale, your husband will have to sign off on the sale of the house. When you’re married, you can’t sell your home without your spouse knowing. Even if he were not on the deed, his signature would still be required.

In a divorce situation, the title company responsible for conveying the deed to the new buyer will usually ask for a divorce decree in order to complete the sale. If you don’t have one, your husband will need to sign all of the sale documentation for closing. In fact, he probably should have signed the listing agreement.

You should inform your real estate broker and you can even ask him/her to get your husband to sign those papers. Your real estate broker will need to provide a “Comparative Market Analysis” to your divorce attorney and your husband to prove that you are not selling the home for less than market value and are not making any money on the sale.

Your first step really should have been to consult your divorce attorney. Your lawyer holds the answers to all your divorce questions and can facilitate any conversations between you and your ex so you don’t have to talk to him.

Good luck!

Stacey McCarthy is a real estate agent with the McCarthy Group of Keller Williams. Her Real NEastate column appears every Wednesday on See others hereRead other NEast Philly columns here.

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