Does it matter who we choose to sell our home?
For the largest transaction of most peoples’ lives, coupled with the extremely difficult complication of a divorce, unequivocally, YES. It matters in the sale of real estate in a divorce as much as it matters what surgeon you choose for a serious operation or who teaches your child in school. The money at stake, the many moving parts of a real estate transaction, the landscape of the modern transaction compared to the era prior to the housing crash, and many other factors truly matter. The trajectory of the rest of your life can be greatly affected by a successful transaction  or by a less than successful sale.

We wanted to try one of our agents first. Why is that a problem?
It may not be, if “his” or “her” choice are experienced in this specialized type of transaction, can maintain neutrality, and are good agents. In an industry where fewer than 20% of the active licensees are responsible for over 80% of the production, we suggest starting with different criteria. Starting with the best specialist for the job is superior to a good outcome than what could be candidly construed as social patronage.

What’s the big deal if the first agent doesn’t work out? Don’t we start over as a fresh new listing with the next brokerage?
That hasn’t been the case since the advent of the Internet and how consumers conduct their search and research. Years ago, it was a tactic to cancel a listing and relist it as a fresh new listing. There was no address disclosed and a new picture was all you needed to start over. You can’t do that anymore because sites like Zillow publish price and sale history of all properties. Therefore, every day on market, every price and reduction are attached to your address. If you are over 90 or 120 days on market, the listing can be considered “stale” and buyers may be prompted to dig deeper to find out why the home didn’t sell the first or second time. This changes the stakes and makes mistakes extremely costly.

We’re concerned that if we don’t list with one of the local companies down the street that agents will ignore or be less likely to show our listing.
That too is another relic from a bygone past era. Put yourself in the shoes of a home buyer searching the Internet for a home. You search price, location, size, bedrooms, amenities, and all the things that matter to your needs. Buyers seldom know, and care even less, who lists the property. They only care if it fits their needs. Moreover, if an agent were to try and dissuade them from seeing a property, that agent would not only be putting a possible commission at risk, they would only prompt the consumer to find another agent who would show them the property. Buyers won’t take “no” for an answer when it comes to housing. In the OneKey MLS, agents cross local market borders daily, and even firms from outside of our market account for a top 10 number of closings out of all companies year in, year out.

What’s so special about selling a divorce situation home?
Buyers are always seeking a bargain. It is human nature. Younger millennial buyers especially do far more research online than past generations. They Google the address. They look up municipal records. They check walk-ability, schools, community information, and many other factors online than any prior era in our industry. It isn’t enough to maintain client confidentiality, although that is supremely important. The many factors of divorce that affect a sale have to be anticipated, accounted for, and addressed by a knowledgeable professional who understands the process inside and out for the maximum advantage to the seller’s best interests. This is not a lesson you want to learn the hard way.

I’ve never heard of your company.
Howard Hanna Rand Realty is the tri-state area region of Howard Hanna Real Estate Services, the largest brand in the state of New York. Real estate is an uncommon, infrequent transaction. It is likely that your dentist, architect, medial specialist, favorite plumber or electrician, or choice of restaurant aren’t household names either. You don’t know who the players are until you research them. In short it doesn’t mean anything in this industry to be a public celebrity, but we also do encourage you to google the firm and our agents. You will be impressed with what you see. Our broker has been on ABC World News, been in the NY Times, News12, and many other news outlets in addition to being on Zillow’s Agent Advisory Board and serving as President of the Hudson Gateway MLS. He also co-hosts a radio program currently heard on WOR-AM710 every Sunday morning.

Our house isn’t prepared for sale. As a matter of fact, we may not have enough equity to sell.
This is a common concern, but we’ve got you covered. It might be that you do have deferred maintenance, unfinished projects, a high mortgage balance, an uncooperative spouse or tenants, or not know where you’ll land next. Please understand that this i what we do. If you owe more than you are worth, or behind on payments, we can assist you in a short sale if need be. Ideally, we support our clients in an “as is” sale of their property, but if there are open permits or work done without a permit, we can help troubleshoot the situation for the best possible outcome. Try us; we are certain that allowing us to help tackle the obstacles is better than ignoring the issue or giving the house back to the bank. And as far as your next home, we’re real estate people. That is what we do.

We aren’t on speaking terms.
Yes. Sadly, that happens. Without judging either party or taking sides, we have a job to do on behalf of both estranged spouses because the rest of your life is what awaits you. We don’t need to meet together. We don’t need to speak on the phone together. We can work through attorneys. We make house calls, especially when one of you has moved out. This is not unfamiliar to us, and we can help navigate the transaction to a successful close in spite of such a logistical challenge.

Perhaps I need to clarify: things here are really bad
We get it. And we could share stories of bad that might make you reconsider what “bad” is. But we get that for you, this could be utter hell. You may not have asked for this. There could be spousal abuse. Substance addiction. Restraining orders. Violence. Mental illness. This part of the industry isn’t glamorous. They don’t show it on the reality shows. And for those of us who have been through a divorce ourselves, it can be likened to a nightmare from which we cannot wake up. We truly understand. And we can promise to do one thing to help you get on with the rest of your life: our job.

J. Philip Faranda, Associate Broker at Howard Hanna Rand realty brokers real estate transactions in divorce situations throughout New York and Connecticut. If you need to sell your home due to a divorce in Westchester, Fairfield, Long Island or the Hudson Valley, we are the real estate specialist you have been looking for. 
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