Red Flags of a Divorce Sale and How to Prevent Them

The very first divorce sale I participated in was all I needed to know about red flags and indicators of a matrimonial listing. While I represented the buyer in that transaction, I made sure they knew my observations, and it ended up costing the sellers an arm and a leg. Here is a brief guide on avoiding that happening if you are selling your matrimonial home.

Red flags of a divorce sale

  • Deferred maintenance. Divorces are a form of a distress sale, and fiscal distress often has the calling card of physical neglect due to lack of funds. This can’t always be avoided, but it can be minimized with some reasonable effort. 
  • Empty closets and rooms. This is another give away that can’t always be avoided, but again, with some effort and staging it can be removed from center stage of the presentation of the home. 
  • Long response time. Often, one party makes their former partner wait for a response on matters they need to answer to the buyer side on, and if it becomes a pattern the buyers may put the pieces together that the sellers are not on the same page and estranged. 
  • Social media. This is seldom discussed but it needs to be mentioned prominently. Buyers google the sellers. They look them up on social media. They want to know who they are buying from. They are curious. If anything on your social media mentions something that could indicate a separation or estrangement in the marriage, remember that loose lips sink ships. 

There are of course other things, like for example one seller indicating on LinkedIn that they are out of state in a new position, but job transfers are also an explanation for selling. That is altogether different from one seller announcing they are in a new relationsip on Facebook.  

Public records can also be pulled and are unavoidable, but we are talking about what you can control, not what is out of your hands. We may not be able to keep things air tight, but we can also take steps to ensure that it isn’t obvious. 

In any event, the purpose here is to maximize the odds that confidentiality is maintained, and minimize the chances that a slip up will be come evident to the potential buyer. 

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